I have the privilege of presenting great content marketing and strategy ideas from my interview with Ben Stroup. Ben is a phenomenal thought leader in the content marketing and strategy space. Read and review information below and put these thoughts into practice as you create inspiring and relevant content for your Church Communications Strategy.
1. Why should churches be interested in content marketing?
Two words—Predictive Search. The way people discover churches today and especially in the future will be what services like Google Now and other knowledge graphs think are relevant based on our habits. Thus, contextualized context has the best chance of breaking through the clutter and getting noticed by others. Studies show that consumers are 57 percent of the way through a buying cycle before they will engage a vendor. The same is true for churches. The first time someone visits your campus is not the first time they’ve visited your church. They done so via peer networks, online research, and personal brand perception.
2. How can churches develop inspiring and consistent content?
Churches are already great at creating content. Every week videos, sermons, small group materials, and social media content are shared online, in print, and from the platform. The challenge for churches comes in applying a systematic approach that can be monitored, managed, and measured. The distribution of content will be particularly complex as churches determine different segments with any size congregation have different native habits around content consumption. It is the responsibility of the message sender to minimize the number of messages created so that the number of distribution channels can be increased.
3. What practical tips can churches use to generate compelling content?
Great content begins with seeing the world through the eyes of the people you want to reach. Understand their native content consumption habits. Get familiar with the questions they are asking about the world. Stay connected to the obstacles and tension points they talk about and push through in their lives. And understand how you can help become the best version of themselves possible. If you lose touch with the person you want to reach, your content—no matter how creative or compelling—will not create opportunities to engage with others and see life change happen.
4. Do you have a list of applications or resources churches can use when creating compelling content?
This will—and should be—different for every church. Further, the tools should be customized for every segment of your congregation. Start with the person, refine your message, understand what you want them to do next, and challenge them through a variety of channels that will ensure you connected with a broad base of your membership. The tools of communication and content marketing will no doubt change over time. The principles, however, will stay the same. Keep people—and human relationships—at the core of everything you do. Resist the temptation to fall back on your personal preferences. Instead, lean into the lives of the people you want to reach.