Steve Fogg – Communications Director
Steve is the Communications Director at Crossway Church in Australia. He provides readers quality content on Church Communications each week via his blog. Steve is passionate about helping churches communicate clearly and simply.
Note: Make sure to catch a surprise addition to video at 14:01.
Video Notes -
- Executing before strategy is developed.
- Start with the “why” before moving the “what” and “how”.
- A communications strategy creates margin for creativity and flexibility.
- Everything communicates something.
- Brand Guidelines are great but the best way to protect your brand is through conversations with your church and staff.
- The people of your staff and church is your brand.
- Stop and “think” what parts of the strategy needs to be communicated to other stakeholders.
- Articulate and share the communications strategy with other staff members to receive input.
- Identify the Why, How, What and When within communications strategy.
Justin Wise – Communications Strategist
Justin Wise is the Communications Director for Monk Development. After seven years on staff at the largest Lutheran church in America, Justin now helps churches and ministries develop a simple and effective social media and web strategy. A proud husband and dad, Justin and his family live in Des Moines, Iowa. When not running, reading, or cooking, find him blogging at JustinWise.net or on Twitter.
Video Notes -
Question: What are the greatest challenges facing church communication leaders?
- Being a Communications Leader.
- The ability to identify and communicate the mission of church both internally and externally.
Question: How can churches develop a holistic social media strategy to engage their audiences?
- Do not start with social media.
- Social media is the “cherry-on-top”. Social media is a piece of the entire communications strategy, not the strategy.
- Start with Identifying Organizational Big Idea. Then develop holistic communications strategy. Then create online communications strategy. Finally, add social media to the mix.
Question: How can churches improve the way they use email communications?
- Keep it simple. Nobody reads long emails. In fact, they only read 20% of what is front of their eyes.
- Use good design, simple content and always include a call-to-action link.
Question: What excites you the most about the future of church communications?
- The idea that culture would look to churches to learn how to communicate with audiences.
What section of the video interview was most beneficial to you?
Managing Church Communication projects is madness and insanity. You are constantly bombarded with new projects from ministry leaders, and at the same time you are working on large church-wide communication campaigns. The deadlines mount and mount. If you let them, the madness, the insanity . . . the deadlines will control you. But it doesn’t have to be that way. You have the power to crush deadlines and balance your ministry life.
Here are 5 ways you can crush project deadlines every time:
#1 – Create Project Management Systems
- Develop a Project Management Guide
- Communicates what, when, how and where events will be communicated.
- It includes how projects will be managed between the communications and ministry leaders.
- Distribute and discuss project managements systems with each ministry leader.
- Make sure the document is included in every new hire package and review with new hires accordingly.
#2 – Design Project Request Form
- Create a Web Form or Google Doc accessible to ministry leaders.
- Be as detailed as possible including event name, contact person, description, event date, etc.
#3 – Utilize a Task Management Software
- Create a Web Form or Google Doc accessible to ministry leaders.
#4 – Schedule Project Kick-Off Meetings
- Meet with ministry leader(s) responsible for event.
- In your meetings, always under-promise and over-deliver your execution.
- Within the kickoff meetings, spend time gathering every piece of project information and schedule deadlines and expectations.
#5 – Leverage Team Members, Volunteers and Contractors
- Utilize your staff and volunteer team to execute projects.
- Read this post about recruiting, training and managing volunteer teams.
These 5 action steps will help you crush deadlines and create margin for creativity, something your team needs and should highly value. Reducing the stress that is inherent with deadlines and giving your team creative margin will allow you to become a great asset to your ministry leaders and your church as well as keeping you from burning out.
Crushing Deadlines is not easy. That’s why we at Sayge created Project Management Templates for our subscribers to use; to help them manage the daily madness of Church Communications. We give you resources to help you simplify Church Communications. These resources give you back tons of time to focus on communicating what matters.
How do you manage projects and meet deadlines?
Brian Kaufman – Tipping Media
Brian is the Founder of Tipping Media. Tipping Media is a web strategy and design group working with churches around the nation. He is on the cutting-edge of web strategy and design. The video below will help you as Church Communications leaders with content creation, communications strategy, social media and mobile communications.
Video Notes -
Question: What are best practices to develop content?
- Social media is not hard. You are already doing social media in a physical way.
- Communicate who you are as a church on social media.
- Use questions about most recent sermons, simple videos from pastors, etc.
- Content creation is natural.
Question: What advice would you give a Church Communications leader when convincing pastors to use social media?
- Social media gives pastors a new and different way to connect with people beyond Sunday mornings.
- Social media gives pastors the platform to be authentic and relational.
- Social media is a way for you to be personal to your church on a more regular basis.
Question: How do you create a holistic communications strategy?
- Start with vision. Vision first. Strategy first.
- Communication strategies must align with vision.
- Get the right people in the room when developing communications strategy (Senior Pastor, Leaders, Etc.).
- Developing a communications strategy without identifying your vision is a waste of time.
- Identify your audience and their “pain” points.
- Communicate your vision through strategic channels to your audience.
- Communications strategy must include Next Steps. What is the one thing you are asking people to do with a communication strategy?
Question: What ways can churches use mobile communications to engage their audience?
- Every page on your website does not need to be responsive to mobile devices.
How does your church develop content? What steps did you take in creating a communications strategy?
Guest Post: Jonathan PearsonJonathan Pearson is a millennial determined to leave the world in better shape than he found it. He is the Orangeburg Campus Pastor at Cornerstone Community Church and Assistant Director of The Sticks. He is married to Melissa and the two live in Orangeburg, S.C. You can find Jonathan online at JonathanPearson.net.
We live and work in a time period that past centuries would have died for. We have outlets that they could have only dreamed of and information that they could have never found.
One of the greatest tools we have at our disposal is the Internet and social media. Those of us in the church and in charge of our church’s communications have a resource in social media that opens us up for impact opportunities and communication possibilities that can literally change the world (yes, I believe that).
That being said, many churches fail to use social media to even 1/3 of it’s capabilities. Throwing up a website, claiming a Twitter handle, and opening a Facebook page is far from effective when it comes to social media.
Here are 3 things that you can begin today that will revolutionize your church’s social media impact -
1. Post Consistently
You’d be shocked at the number of churches that rarely update their website and post content on any social media platform. Maybe this is because they lack the time or people to do it. Maybe churches fail to post because they can’t generate regular content. Either way, many churches are losing their audience because they fail to provide them with appropriate amounts of content.
Post regularly. It can vary greatly how often is ideal, but be consistent in your posting. Keep your name and voice at the forefront of people’s timelines and minds.
2. Maintain Conversation
If 1/3 of churches get it wrong in failing to post consistently, 3/4 get it wrong in maintaining conversation. It usually looks something like this…
Church Facebook Update:
In honor of our family series, how are you and your family enjoying the great weather together this weekend?
Without another word from the church’s Facebook page manager. That does nothing for keeping conversation going. Here’s a secret: Many people respond to the church’s social media outlets because it helps them feel connected during the week. Connect them. Keep the conversation going and respond to every comment!
3. Develop A Consistent Voice
Your church needs a voice. Just like you speak with a consistent language and tone, your church needs the same. The voice of your church must be consistent and unified. A set of posting principles and a consistent church culture will help with finding your voice. Keep it as consistent as possible. This allows the people you interact with to feel like they ‘know’ you and to keep posting and interacting. Language is a big part of culture. Keep it consistent on social media.
Are you doing these 3 things? Where are you missing the mark?
Justin Keller – Virtual Creative Director
Justin Keller is a Virtual Creative Director and Founder of Circle 50. He is the former Creative Director of Woodlands Church (formerly Fellowship of The Woodlands). Justin led the creative direction and marketing for several national book and resource campaigns. The campaigns included the successful launch of Kerry Shook’s New York Times Best Seller, One Month to Live.
Justin was instrumental in the launch of Sayge, and I wanted to interview him about how you take an idea from birth to launch. The video is very helpful in providing tips for Church Communications leaders to identify and implement any idea.
Video Notes -
Question: What excites you most about working with churches around the Nation?
- Raised attendance and serving in church. Worked full-time on a church staff as a Worship Leader and Creative Director. Working in the local church inspired him to help more churches.
- The opportunity to help churches use creativity to bring new ideas from birth to launch.
Question: How do you take a big idea from birth to launch?
- Involve the right people with the right skills.
- Ask questions from the beginning to determine the desired results.
- Start with the “end-in-mind” and work backwards to goal.
Question: In the ideation process, what are the key factors in process?
- Identifying the source of the idea.
- Idea must support and advance vision of leader.
- Do not overlook the “pitch”. The “pitch” must be clear and supported by action-steps.
- Establish paramaters (budget, resources, deadlines, goals).
Tip: Be your own critic. Ask yourself ten critical questions about the idea before making “pitch”.
Question: How do you gain access to the Senior Leader to understand their vision?
- Listen. Consistently listen to their sermons, staff training, prayers, etc.
- The time and access with Senior Leader when you are proactive in presenting to solutions to problems.
- Be the “solution finder”.
Question: What are the key reasons ideas die?
- No systems in place.
- Lack of clarity and action-plan.
- Pray for favor with Senior Leaders and alignment with their vision.
Tip: Spend time praying and asking God for vision, wisdom and creativity.
Question: What books, magazines, podcasts and blogs do you use?
- Harvard Business Review
- Designing Brand Identity
- Make connections with other designers and creatives for inspiration.
How do you take an idea from birth to launch? What ways do you interact with the Senior Leader to help identify and implement ideas?
What is Pinterest? Pinterest is a virtual pin board that allows people to share the things they find interesting and connect to other people who share those same interests.
Here are some interesting statistics about this relatively new social media site that should make the church sit up and take notice, especially churches that are filled with young families.
From a pure marketing standpoint, look at these statistics:
- At 10.4 Million users and currently experiencing a 400% month over month growth pattern, Pinterest is the fastest growing social media site in history.
- Pinterest is the third largest social media site behind Facebook and Twitter.
- Pinterest is retaining and engaging users as much as 2-3x as efficiently as Twitter was at a similar time in its history.
- Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Google+, Linked In, and You Tube, combined.
As it relates to the church, specifically young families, check out these statistics:
- 97% of Pinterest users are females.
- The average age group of Pinterest users is 25-34, compared to Facebook, which reports an average age of 44.
- 50% of all pinners are mothers.
- 81% of U.S. online consumers trust information and advice from Pinterest.
- 80% of all pins are repins.
- Pinterest users respond to posts with prices or Top 10 Lists more than any other type of post.
What does this mean for Church Communications?
If you want to connect with the younger women in your audience; if you want to get them active in your church and outside the four walls of it; if you want them to trust information from the church that they receive through social media, Pinterest is the social media to use.
Five quick ways to start using Pinterest:
- Create a Pinterest account at www.pinterest.com
- Create 3-5 pin boards related to your mission and vision (IE: One church’s strategy statements are to Love Jesus, Journey Together and Bring Hope to the World. Those three things could be their first 3 pin boards)
- Secure volunteers to manage the boards
- Start a blog on your church website directly related to young women and specifically young moms. Add a “pin it” button to the blog
- Create Top 10 Lists for the things you want people to know (IE: Top 10 Things Fathers Should Teach Their Sons, Top 10 Bible Verses Every Child Should Know, Top 10 Ways to Show Your Husband Respect, etc.)
Social Media is not a fad. The Church is presented with a very valuable and effective way to connect with a large segment (women) of their audience.
One of the best ways to connect with your church throughout the week is with social media. Statistically, over half of your congregation will spend some portion of their week actively engaged on Facebook, Twitter, and blogs.
But connecting with your audience through social media requires consistent and compelling content. And not just any content. Your content must be emotional, intelligent, shareable and intentional. But developing content that is both creative and inspiring takes dedicated time and resources, as well as a considerable amount of effort on your part.
The best way to create emotional and inspiring content is by developing a Publishing Schedule. Developing a publishing schedule helps you plan, produce and publish compelling content that clearly articulates the vision of your church.
Without one, your content quickly becomes redundant, outdated, and unnecessary, and you end up with content no one cares about.
In my research, I found a formula created by Russell Sparkman of Fusionspark Media, used to develop a publishing schedule. The formula is 1-7-30-4-2-1.
I am adapting the formula to 1-7-30 for the sake of simplicity.
Here is a breakdown of the formula:
1 = Daily, 7 = Weekly, 30 = Monthly
This formula determines what content you will publish daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly. Keep in mind that whatever content you publish must reinforce and advance a Big Idea or theme.
1 = Daily
- Twitter Tweets (3-5 Times)
- Facebook Updates (2-4 Times)
- Respond to Twitter, Facebook and Blog Comments
7 = Weekly
- Blog Posts (2-3 Times)
- Short Video (1 Time)
- Update and Edit Website Pages (1 Time)
30 = Monthly
- Video Interview
This formula might appear overwhelming at first glance. Maybe you’re thinking, “There’s no way I can accomplish all of this!” But start where you are, keeping in mind your resources and your target audience.
Content Ideas -
- Devotional eBook Series – Write, design and send eBooks on spiritual subject matter or a book of the Bible
- Short Videos – Interview staff members on why they love their role or brief updates from the Senior Pastor
- Blog Posts – Select a theme and write a series of blog posts. Write posts on event highlights, life-change stories, sermon notes, book recommendations, devotionals, etc.
- eNewsletter – Switch up layout and flow of eNewsletter and give the reader value with free downloads, resources, etc.
Remember, your key messages are too important not to communicate them consistently, concisely, and with incredible clarity. Social media is a valuable tool for communicating the mission and vision of your church.
After years of research and development, Sayge Resources launches today. Sayge is a monthly church communications training resource and is available for any church leader passionate about or responsible for church communications and marketing. Check out this incredible resource and enjoy the first month for free.
Our training product will help you:
- Achieve vision identification that will unite your congregation and move people from complacency to action
- Create your own communications strategy that aligns budget dollars with desired results
- Design brand standards that takes the guesswork out of communicating and protecting your brand
- Implement project systems that increase production of product deliverables
- Give your website a look that accurately reflects who you are to your guests and also increases visits to your church
- Connect with your audience in a way that will engage them to live out the vision.
- Have a social media presence that will keep you connected to your members and online community throughout the week, building an incredible sense of community among your people
- Enhance your guest experience that will help you move your guests from visitors to members
- Understand how to lead creative people, and how to facilitate a creative meeting as well as learn to lead those in authority over you who lack creativity
- Utilize volunteer mobilization training techniques to enhance all areas of your communications ministry
- Develop an external marketing strategy plan that generates relevant awareness within your community
- Become an effective storyteller, using all forms of storytelling to communicate how the vision is being lived out in your church
I am so sure you’re going to love Sayge, that I am giving you the first month FREE! PLUS you’ll receive additional bonus resources if you subscribe in January.
Much of my learning I gained from reading books and learning from others. Each of these books will undoubtedly help you communicate with simplicity, intentionality and effectiveness.
Top 10 Books to Read for Church Communication Leaders -
Designing Brand Identity - An Essential Guide for the Whole Branding Team
by Alina Wheeler
From research and analysis through brand strategy, design development through application design, and identity standards through launch and governance, Designing Brand Identity, Fourth Edition offers brand managers, marketers, and designers a proven, universal five-phase process for creating and implementing effective brand identity. Enriched by new case studies showcasing successful world-class brands, this Fourth Edition brings readers up to date with a detailed look at the latest trends in branding, including social networks, mobile devices, global markets, apps, video, and virtual brands.
Church Unique - How Missional Leaders Cast Vision, Capture Culture, and Create Movement
by Will Mancini
Written by church consultant, Will Mancini, expert on a new kind of visioning process to help churches develop a stunningly unique model of ministry that leads to redemptive movement. He guides churches away from an internal focus to emphasize participation in their community and surrounding culture. In this important book, Mancini offers an approach for rethinking what it means to lead with clarity as a visionary. Mancini explains that each church has a culture that reflects its particular values, thoughts, attitudes, and actions and shows how church leaders can unlock their church’s individual DNA and unleash their congregation’s one-of-a-kind potential.
The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding
by Al and Laura Ries
Smart and accessible, The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding is the definitive text on branding, pairing anecdotes about some of the best brands in the world, like Rolex, Volvo, and Heineken, with the signature savvy of marketing gurus Al and Laura Ries. Combining The 22 Immutable Laws of Branding and The 11 Immutable Laws of Internet Branding, this book proclaims that the only way to stand out in today’s marketplace is to build your product or service into a brand—and provides the step-by-step instructions you need to do so.
Cracking Your Church’s Culture Code - 7 Keys to Unleashing Vision and Inspiration
by Sam Chand
Why is it that the best strategic plans and good leadership often are not able to move churches in the desired direction? Sam Chand contends that toxic culture is to blame. Quite often, leaders don’t sense the toxicity, but it poisons their relationships and derails their vision. This work describes five easily identifiable categories of church culture (inspiring-accepting-stagnant-discouraging-toxic), with diagnostic descriptions in the book and a separate online assessment tool. The reader will be able to identify strengths and needs of their church’s culture, and then apply practical strategies (communication, control and authority, selection and placement of personnel, etc.) to make their church’s culture more positive.
Zag - The Number Strategy of High-Performance Brands
by Marty Neumeier
“When everybody zigs, zag,” says Marty Neumeier in this fresh view of brand strategy. ZAG follows the ultra-clear “whiteboard overview” style of the author’s first book, THE BRAND GAP, but drills deeper into the question of how brands can harness the power of differentiation. The author argues that in an extremely cluttered marketplace, traditional differentiation is no longer enough—today companies need “radical differentiation” to create lasting value for their shareholders and customers.
The Advantage - Why Organizational Health Trumps Everything Else in Business
by Patrick Lencioni
In his immensely readable and accessible style, Lencioni makes the case that there is no better way to achieve profound improvement in an organization than by attacking the root causes of dysfunction, politics, and confusion. While too many leaders are still limiting their search for advantage to conventional and largely exhausted areas like marketing, strategy, and technology, Lencioni demonstrates that there is an untapped gold mine sitting right beneath them. Instead of trying to become smarter, he asserts that leaders and organizations need to shift their focus to becoming healthier, allowing them to tap into the more-than-sufficient intelligence and expertise they already have.
Making Ideas Happen - Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality
by Scott Belsky
According to productivity expert Scott Belsky, no one is born with the ability to drive creative projects to completion. Execution is a skill that must be developed by building your organizational habits and harnessing the support of your colleagues. As the founder and CEO of Behance, a company on a mission to empower and organize the creative world, Belsky has studied the habits of especially productive individuals and teams across industries. Now he has compiled the principles and techniques they share, and presents a systematic approach to creative organization and productivity.
Content Rules - How to Create Killer Blog Posts, Videos, Podcasts and EBooks
by Ann Handley
Blogs, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and other platforms are giving everyone a “voice,” including organizations and their customers. So how do you create the stories, videos, and blog posts that cultivate fans, arouse passion for your products or services, and ignite your business? Content Rules equips you for online success as a one-stop source on the art and science of developing content that people care about. This coverage is interwoven with case studies of companies successfully spreading their ideas online—and using them to establish credibility and build a loyal customer base.
The Brand Gap - How to Bridge the Gap Between Strategy and Design
by Marty Neumeier
The Brand Gap is the first book to present a unified theory of brand-building. Whereas most books on branding are weighted toward either a strategic or creative approach, this book shows how both ways of thinking can unite to produce a “charismatic brand”—a brand that customers feel is essential to their lives.
Making Vision Stick
by Andy Stanley
A vision. You as a leader may have it, but has your organization caught it? If a leader’s vision is all about what could be and what should be, why are you buried under what is? Noted author and pastor Andy Stanley points out that if followers don’t get the vision, it’s because the leaders haven’t delivered it. He reveals the three reasons vision doesn’t stick.
What books would you add to the list?
(Ed. Note: Book descriptions are quoted from Amazon.com)