I personally believe the Apostle Paul would’ve been all about the Internet. Think about it: Two thousand years have passed since his travels and writings, but his letters to a few churches during the Roman Empire are now accessed daily from smartphones, tablets and computers all over the world every second of every day. He could not have dreamed the reach his words would have when he was crossing seas to carry the Gospel to those who had not heard. My guess is that we can’t imagine the reach ours will have either.
Churches around the world now share their sermons online, write encouraging blogs and post podcasts of Bible studies. The PR and advertising world would call this content marketing: We’re sharing content (the Gospel of Jesus) in hope that people will follow Him.
Content marketing is simpler than it sounds. It’s about creating consistent, interesting, compelling content online that your church would want to read, watch and share with their friends, family and neighbors. If your church doesn’t currently have an online content strategy, you’re missing out on a chance to reach people in the place they spend 23 hours of each week.
Here are some ideas for getting started:
1) Ask yourself some probing questions.
– What stories do you enjoy reading or watching?
– What is your church’s vision and how are you helping people own it?
– What stories do the ministries within your church have to tell?
– Who in your church is a great storyteller?
– Who is passionate about what you’re doing?
The answers to these questions should inform your decision about what kind of content you want to produce. A great strategy should be about so much more than promoting events or classes. You can spread the message of the Gospel to thousands of people online every day: What unique way will your church do that?
2) Choose a few platforms you’d like to use–You don’t need all of them!
For example, you could start a blog, a YouTube channel or a podcast. Poll some people from each age group in your church to find out what types of online content and which social networks they prefer. Think of social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram as your syndication tools: When you publish a new blog post, video or photo, share it from your social networks and ask your church members to share it with their friends.
3) Plan for consistency.
Choose a manageable content schedule and stick to it. Humans are creatures of habit, and we tend to visit websites and social networks in patterns. If you post once a week for a few weeks and then stop for three, you may lose readers who stopped coming back when the content wasn’t new. For some science on the best times and days to publish content, check out this guide from Buffer.
A content strategy infinitely expands the reach and likelihood that the stories you’re telling will be shared beyond the walls of your church. What questions do you have about getting started?