Being “in the conversation” is something that’s already widely understood by churches, ministries, and organizations as they seek to become more internet-savvy.
One of the biggest mistakes for an organization is not knowing what is already being discussed out there before they jump in (or simply being ignorant, period). Like many things, the internet, (especially local pockets) can have a distinct culture and being ignorant can be detrimental to one’s engagement.
That’s why using tools like Google’s Alerts can be especially helpful for staying in the loop, not only for the current and established ministry but also ones that are being planted.
Google Alerts is an easy way to get updated (instantly, daily, weekly) about what’s going on and what’s being talked about surrounding key words that you establish. These sources can be from news, blogs, web, video, groups, or all of the above (comprehensive) and delivered to you by email or by rss.
And did I mention it’s free? There are tons of services that you could pay for the same results and service, but with budgets being “slim” let’s keep it real…!
Launching a new ministry/organizational campaign? Put some keyword searches surrounding your ministry/marketing initiative and see how the ROI is coming along.
As you can see, I’ve established some alerts for the following keywords so that when ever they are talked about, I can be one of the first to know:
Remember to use ” ” (quotations) for specific strings or multiple key words tied together. One specific alert that I’m particularly excited about getting is the “church in atlanta”, so that wheneever someone writes, blogs, or talks about a “church in atlanta” I can be made known about it and join their conversation (if appropriate and with wisdom).
Just think, now I can be privy when discourses such as the following are created:
- best “church in atlanta”
- worst “church in atlanta”
- where can I find a “church in atlanta”
- I hate that “church in atlanta”
- I’m never going back to that “church in atlanta”
Remember, the more specific your keywords, the better (so adding “church in alpharetta” and “church in buckhead” and “church in brownsbridge” is wise too).
Imagine the possibilities and how valuable this resource could be for your ministry (or future ministry for a church plant) from an internet perspective…!
Check these example results that I got just today!
Also, check out this alert! An “atheist” strangely found an Andy Stanley CD in his backyard and decided to blog about it… Google Alerts picked it up from his blog, let me know about it, and I decided to drop this guy a comment about the CD (and related book – The Best Question Ever) which I happened to just finishing reading 2 weeks ago…!
Really really cool.
So try it out! It’s easy to get started, easy to modify, edit, and you’ll start getting news instantly.
A final note:
Once you start this, you’re going to get “addicted” to it. Information is good, but, it can be overwhelming (remember, be specific). In addition to the “overwhelming” part, you’re going to get a lot more email and being strategic on how to engage and who in your organization is going to be tasked with the engagement process is also a consideration: It can take a bit of time from someone’s schedule.
Have fun with it and let me know your findings!