One of my favorite parts of my day is checking my RSS feed. When GoogleReader died, I wept. I seriously enjoy reading my RSS feed, and I really enjoy sharing good content with my friends and family. Thus, when I began to create a new website for my church, I also decided that we need a new approach to blogging.
Personally, I’ve decided to limit my writing to ChurchMag and my church blog, but I only work part-time at my church. Cranking out two or three blog posts a month is about all I can muster right now, which really isn’t enough content to help anyone.
But what would I do for content? What will you do for content?
“Why are you bringing me into this?”, you might ask. I bring you into this because you have a responsibility as a pastor, lay-leader, church tech to help “feed the sheep” and providing good, digital content is a wonderful way to do just that. Here are some of the ideas that I’m going to shape into my strategy.
Reruns & Spin-Offs
I hesitate to say this because I assume that most churches are already doing this, but in case you aren’t, let me be clear: put your sermons online. The technology required to do this is becoming cheaper and more pervasive. The technological learning curve is becoming less and less steep. All of that to say, no more excuses. Just do it. It’s the bare minimum, in my opinion.
Nobody wants to be fed a steady diet of reruns, but if you don’t think that people won’t enjoy them then you’ve never heard of Netflix. Putting your sermons online is like offering your people the chance to go back, to re-listen, to catch up on what they might have missed. It’s one of the simplest ways to provide your people with content because, in my opinion, the hardest part of providing the content is generating the content you provide. With your sermons, the content is already there. You just have to provide it!
Beyond sermon reruns, you could also try to offer sermon “spin-offs.” By that, I mean that you could write blog posts based upon the Sunday sermon but focus on a different aspect of that same topic. This gives your people a second way to look at the sermon, which could help clear up any confusion that might have been present on Sunday. Also, it’s “new” content that doesn’t require you to go back to the drawing board entirely: you can start where Sunday left off. This is what I’m hoping to do every two or so weeks, as my time allows.
Quotes & Scripture
This is where you can get a lot of content for a limited amount of effort. Of course, “regurgitated” content isn’t nearly as powerful as “fresh” content, but that shouldn’t preclude its use. Some people will never read a blog post or listen to a sermon—they don’t have the time or the attention span. However, a short quote or pass age of Scripture just might capture their attention. Beyond that, small bits of content are often more sharable that larger, more complex offerings.
For my church’s blog, I’ve set up two days for these types of posts: on Monday’s, a question from a modern catechism will be posted along with a link to the answer while Thursday’s will alternate between small passages of Scripture and quotes from well-known Christian authors and speakers. The hard part of this type of content is the tedium of setting it all up, but once that’s done, it’s done. Currently, the catechism is scheduled for every Monday from now till the end of the year and the Thursday quotes/Scriptures are scheduled up until June. This means that even if I get swamped with other work, like preparing a class or sermon, the website will still have some “new” content.
Full Posts & Videos
Finally, you might want to look at writing what I’ll call “full” posts which are simply blog posts that aren’t based upon the sermon and are of substantial, not ridiculous, length. For example, last week, I wrote a blog post about John 1 that had nothing to do with our current sermon series. I just felt like it was a good post/good passage for a beginning of the year post. Obviously, posts like these takes the post amount of time and don’t always get a ton of attention, which might make you want to spend your time elsewhere. Of course, you could always look into getting volunteers to help write, though that might be something you do slowly, after you determine that someone actually has the ability to write a cogent blog post. Personally, I love writing, so I’ll keep at it.
At the same time, I am learning, planning, thinking about how videos can be used to supplement and even replace blog post. Some people don’t want to read; they’d rather watch a video. That’s not me, personally. I find that videos often take too much time to get to the point, but that’s just me. Posting a short video could be a great alternative to writing a blog post, and you might even get a good deal of mileage from it because videos get shared more easily than blog posts.
Constantly releasing content isn’t what I’m advocating. Continuous content can be overwhelming and counterproductive. It’s consistent content that’s important. If your people know that on Monday you’ll be sharing a small sermon recap and on Thursday you’ll be sharing a passage of Scripture, then they can come to expect it and can make it part of their daily devotions, which is the goal. The point is that we need to be responsible in providing good, shareable content in a consistent and timely manner.
What’s your strategy to provide your church blog with consistent content?