You would not serve your family the same meal week after week. Consequently, do not always serve the same content to your website and social media audiences. You need a mix of content, each with a different goal. You also serve different meals at certain times of the day. Be purposeful with the time of day you publish your content. By serving a balanced diet of content, you have better results and do not burn out your audience.
First you need to examine what goal you are trying to meet with your content. These objectives of course should tie directly to your church website strategy. The most common church content objectives I could think of are:
This is in accordance with Jesus' Great Commission; making disciples of all nations. You can spread the Good News through pictures, videos, and words. Devotionals, Bible verses, testimonies, and sermons all make great content pieces for evangelism.
Whether it be a new staff member, a new ministry, or that you are on target for your yearly financial goals; announcements are important. They keep your congregation informed of what is happening. They also let an outsider know that this church is indeed active and there are many opportunities to get involved. Do not let the end of Sunday service be the only time you make announcements.
Hopefully you are hosting regular events at your church. Guest speakers, pot luck dinners, and vacation Bible school are all events you want to advertise. Be sure to include as much information on the post and associated image, without overwhelming the user. A short teaser, location, dates, times, and costs should be enough. For more information, check out my previous article on promoting church events online.
What personality does your church have? Be it serious or relaxed, show others what your church culture is. If you choose to connect with your city, rooting for a favorite home sports team may be in order. Does your pastor have some funny quirks you can poke fun at? How about sharing some Christian humor comic strips. On a more serious note, do you have ministries you want to promote? Post inspirational quotes and images that would nudge someone to adopt a child, help a single mother, or go on a mission trip. It may not be evangelism, but it is showing where your church's heart is.
Publish your announcements by scheduling them in advance. This way you can have a greater impact. Content management systems such as WordPress and Joomla allow you to schedule when a post or page will go live. Also, tools such as HootSuite and Buffer allow you to schedule when your social media posts will go out.
Time of Day
Certain content will be more beneficial at certain times of the day. For example, evangelism may be helpful in mornings as people prepare for their day. It may also be a comfort in the evening as they unwind. News and announcements may not be as obvious, but probably earlier in the day would be better in hopes that others would share it throughout the day. Remember that a news announcement have an actual life span. They are only relevant for a short period of time. Also, depending on the time of your event, reminding people a few hours beforehand may help them remember to attend. Lastly, personality has no limit. Share it whenever you have a gap and let your culture shine through.
Day of Week
I will not go into specifics, but I will highlight a few scenarios. Show sermon previews and re-caps before and after your weekend services. The frequency in which you promote an event should increase as its launch date draws near. Regardless, know and understand your audience. Perhaps you have a particular industry in your city that has an odd day off from work. Target just before and after that time to hopefully catch your visitors online.
Various seasons dictate what kind of information you see on your church website. You will see events such as holiday concerts near Christmas. There are often invitation and evangelical posts near Easter. September typically has calls to get involved with ministries after your busy summer. Whatever the season is, remember to prepare content ahead of time. So when the rush hits, you are ready to publish.
When you create a social media calendar, prayerfully consider what you are posting as well as when. Review the various content objectives and match them up to what times best suit it. If changes occur in your strategy, adjust your calendar. Use it as a guideline and not a rule. Track your click-through rates to see how effective you are. Then adjust as needed until you find that perfect balance.
Image courtesy of Monika Henkel