The latest buzzword in advertising is content marketing. Believe it or not, your church can benefit greatly from this new trend. At its core, content marketing is providing valuable content to your customers. Your church does this nearly every week with your pastor's sermon. Similar examples are most likely around your church. This article will help you identify them and turn them into a great content marketing campaign.
This blog is an example of content marketing. I produce articles to help churches. Yet it also boosts my credibility and personal branding. My mind has been in the space of church websites for over 3 years, and I have more than a business card to show for it. If I ever decide to move into consulting for churches, I have a wealth of experience I can point to. They know I have a heart for helping the church communications and technology community. So the big question here is, what is your church known for? Do you produce content that everyone will enjoy? Or is it just a steady stream of announcements?
Help the Community
I mentioned a few great ideas in my article on creating websites that help the community. These included single parents, addicts, and new residents. There are plenty of ways you can use your congregation to create great resources for these groups. Perhaps a weekend workshop with coaching on writing for the web can precede this to reduce your editorial efforts.
Few people, regardless of their stance on faith or religion, will turn down prayer. It is a fairly safe offer, and you can use forms to collect none or some personal information. This would allow users to anonymously submit a prayer. They might want to add contact information so you could contact them. Either way, advertising "free" prayer services may be a way to draw in new members, or simply help someone in need.
Images with text is a great piece of content to share on social media. You do not have to only quote scripture or even someone associated with the church. There are plenty of secular men and women that gave great advice. Many can apply to the Christian lifestyle. Spend a day searching for good quotes. Then find some great stock photography (like that found on LightStock.com). Compose some images and queue them up in an application such as HootSuite or Buffer.
Does your church use or produce a daily devotional? Even if copyrights limit what you can publish, you can still share Bible verses. You can use a social media platform as "limiting" as Twitter. Tweet the verse references for today's reading and you have helped your audience. If you follow a reading plan such as one found on YouVersion, add a link to that day's schedule. Help keep your audience in step with the Spirit with posts on your page as well as social media.
Often there is more on your pastor's mind than what they can said on a Sunday morning sermon. Supplement their teaching with extra material. Take those extra ideas and break them out into blog posts. These can supplement your daily devotionals. Plus if published opposite your typical services, they can be a mid-week reminder for your congregation. This can also include timely commentaries on current world events. Yet, depending on your church's policies, you may not want to host these side commentaries on your website. You may need to simply share links to their personal blog.
The primary aim of content marketing is to provide content that is valuable to your audience. Yes you can broadcast announcements and advertise your services. Just mix it up with something that has greater surface value to those checking out your website and social media profiles. When you provide value, your visitors will see you more as a resource and less as an advertisement. By serving God's people, you will demonstrate the love the Gospel commanded us to show.
Photo courtesy of Michael Lindsay