Content marketing is a buzzword for communicators in every industry you can name. (Seriously, this isn’t just for Johnson & Johnson and Coca-Cola. I’ve heard of fiberglass pool installers who are jumping on the bandwagon…and succeeding.) If you’ve heard the term and are wondering what it means – and how it could help your church get unstuck – start with these four points.
(Note: If you’re not crazy about the word “marketing” finding its place in a sentence about the church, please keep reading. While the term may be off-putting, the practice is about helping you communicate better with your church and with the world.)
1) Content marketing is simpler than it sounds.
Sure, every marketer, PR pro and branding agency is talking about it: That doesn’t mean this is new or over your head. The concept is incredibly simple—and not so different from a lot of traditional communication methods. (E.g. your church eBlast on steroids.)
Let’s define it like this: Content marketing is about creating consistent, interesting, compelling content online that your church and your community would want to read, watch and share with their friends, family, neighbors and so on.
A few questions to get you started figuring out what your content could be:
– What stories do you enjoy reading? What are they like?
– 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?
– What big questions are people asking?
2) Content marketing is an (almost) free way to tell your stories.
You can use a blog, a YouTube channel, a Tumblr page, and so on. The publishing tools are many and often free. You’re not spending on printing and you’re infinitely expanding the reach and likelihood that each thing you publish will be shared beyond the walls of your church.
What could a robust content strategy replace? The weekly bulletin? Print Bible study resources for new believers? Take stock of what you’re distributing and think about how it could be more effective online.
3) Without a content plan, a social media presence is worthless.
Don’t let anyone tell you your church should be tweeting until they can tell you what it should be tweeting and to what end. You don’t need a social media strategy without a solid content strategy. In fact, social media is pretty tough to pull off without great content. You won’t have anything to say.
So, begin with something great to say, show or share. Your church is a living, breathing part of the Body of Christ. You have a story to tell and people who want to hear it!
4) Content marketing is a measurable tool for communication.
Do you ever wonder if anyone reads the devotionals you put together? Do you wonder if they actually give those Christmas service tickets to people to invite them to come?
Content you put online gives data back to you so you can constantly evaluate what’s working and what’s not, which helps create efficiency and better communication in the long run.
Do you know of churches using a great content strategy to reach new people, engage their members or minister to the hurting?