Steps to Becoming a
My day usually starts simple enough. A cup of coffee. Checking my email. Prayer. But, then the pressure begins because I know that I must produce quality content that will make a difference in how churches communicate with their congregations and their communities. I get up from my desk, pace and get a second cup of coffee. Sometimes the words flow as I type like an uncorked fire hose but, other times it is slow and nothing more than a drip.
This pressure and subsequent drip reminds me that I need to stop doing what I am doing and practice what I preach. It is time to slow down and get back to the basics of content creation. I remind myself of the purpose, the process and the audience of content creation and then I start to hammer out the words that can inform, enlighten and assist ministers with talking to others about their church and God. Then I get a third cup. Below are the steps to consider when creating content:
- Step 1. Find the purpose. In other words why do you want to speak to people? Hopefully, it is to tell a clearly defined group of recipients a relevant, valuable and consistent message that has the intention of creating a choice that leads to behavioral changes.
- Step 2. Based on the purpose define your recipients. Understanding the "who" is crucial. My hope is that you look beyond your church members and reach out to the community. Who are they? What are the positive attributes of the town or city you are living in? What are the negative attributes? Open your eyes and look around. Who is at the local coffee shop? What kind of cars are in the lot? Is there a crime problem? What percent of the community attend church? Look at stats about median income, poverty and unemployment. Remember just because you have been living in a town doesn't mean you know it. I once spoke to a minister from a downtown church in a moderately sized city. He had been at the church for more than a decade. Then the building was vandalized and robbed. He was shocked and totally unaware that the neighborhood surrounding the church had been in decline for years. The congregation had shrunk because he didn't understand the community. The result was that the outreach didn't match the audience because the leadership did not understand the change or didn't want to see it. Unfortunately, instead of ministering to the fallen in the community they were in, they moved the church to the suburbs. Know your community and who you are communicating with.
- Step 3. Once you know "who", you can address the needs with your content. This means that you need to be relevant. In Revelation there are seven churches and each needs a different message. The same is true when it comes to the community you are in. Not all churches and not all community members need the same message as everyone else. Understand the need, then address that need and be relevant.
- Step 4. Make sure your message has value. Don't just point out needs, problems and shortcomings, give the solution! I am fascinated by those cooking shows where a renowned chef walks in the door, tries some of the fair, and then rips into the owner, manager and just about every one else in his path. Despite the rough and insensitive critique, by the end of the show its hugs, tears and thank yous all around. The reason for all of the gushing is that the super chef didn't walk in, yell a whole bunch and then leave. He tells them how to fix the problem. The result is dozens of restaurants lining up for the abuse - paired with the solution. Your content should contain a solution.
- Step 5. You must be consistent. In actuality this means consistent in two ways. First, you must be dedicated to producing content in a timely fashion on a frequent basis. Starting and stopping content campaigns tells people that the content and commitment is a low priority. Secondly, the tone and content must be consistent. You or your contributors must produce content in a natural voice that is not fake but authentic and the solution must come from the Bible.
- Step 6. Because you are offering a solution there should be a choice. Keep in mind that not every recipient will make the choice you want but you are used to that on Sunday mornings. That doesn't mean that it had no impact. It may take time. Some estimate that content marketing takes 12 to 17 months to sink in and work. The choice can be to get more information by clicking a link. Other times it may include a specific call to action, like signing up for a ministry or mission. Always give people a choice that leads to behavioral changes.
- Step 7. Give recipients the opportunity to voice their opinion. This means giving people clear options to respond, forward, like or retweet. Remember we live in the social media era and that means to gain more traction and attention to the content make it easy for people to share.
Remember, churches create tons of content. Each Sunday a sermon is prepared, communion meditations are written, lessons are delivered and the same can be said for Wednesday nights. That is a lot of work that only gets one use. If you apply the above to the content you already have you should have a never ending supply of quality content that can lead to increased communication with your community. My "Step 6". If you have any questions about content please call at 618-201-1534 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you want to find out more about Speiro click here.
Now for that last cup of coffee.