Let’s start with a quick recap. Developing a church communication strategy starts with a clear why, well-considered overarching messaging and great regard for the audience. The next consideration will be on the platforms. That is, the mediums you choose to communicate with your audience. Again, your choice of communication platform must be done with care. In this post, we’ll look at a few factors to consider when choosing channels to communicate through.
Where They Are
Part of figuring out who your audience is, not only shapes how to say things to them but also where. You want everything you do to be purposeful and impactful. A lack of consideration of where your audience is could see your church shouting into an empty room.
A question to ask: where do we find all those we want to reach?
This can help you unlock easy wins. Sometimes people are already gathered and all you have to do is show up and communicate. One of the most important factors for effective communication is getting the audience’s attention.
There are many channels to communicate through. For now, it might be helpful to highlight two broad categories.
Real life, you know. Not like on the Internet. Some of the most obvious offline platforms are at church. Think bulletins, communication from stage, banners, posters, face to face and so on.
The other offline communication platforms include community events and newspapers, billboards and other outdoor media. I’m sure there are more offline platforms you could think of and use as a church.
This includes websites and social media. You could include your church app here.
Because there are many ways or platforms to reach people, choosing the best can be difficult. Despite this, you will have to choose, one or a few of them. Effectiveness on the different platforms depends on your resources.
Communication platforms are different and so are the strategies needed for them. The same strategy on Instagram and YouTube will not give you equal success on either. Limited resources call for extra care in how you use them. Church teams, especially volunteer dependent, can only do so much.
Even where scarcity of resources isn’t an issue, good stewardship is prudent. So, how to choose the right platform(s):
Where People Are
As I’ve intimated already, start with the where the people are. Consider where you already have easy wins. For example, you don’t need city permission to put up posters in your church.
Ownership and Control
The more ownership and control you have the better. This would apply to websites and apps you develop. Social media platforms change their usage policies and guidelines often.
Being at the mercy of shareholders’ whims is the last thing you want. Social media platforms change their algorithms from time to time; it is advisable to build a more predictable platform in the long term.I’d recommend you prioritize platforms you have the most ownership and control over.
Start simple. Don’t try sprint before you’ve walked. Start with small wins. Even the best were once children; they crawled before they became gold medal-winning athletes. Pace yourself, you’re not likely to get everything perfect right from the start.
What is value for your money, time and other resources? You want to get the most out of your church’s resources. Spend most of your time on what gives you the greatest value.
If a platform doesn’t work for your church as much as it does for the next, ditch it. You’re not obligated to be on every platform. It is not only unnecessary but also unwise.
Having said all this, it is worthwhile to keep trying different platforms and strategies on existing ones. You never ‘arrive’, so keep tinkering. Experiment with different kinds of content. You’ll never know what works well until you try.
What are some of the challenges you experience(d) in choosing a communication platform?
[Image via Gratisography]