When it comes to completing your marketing and communications to-do list, it may seem like the easiest strategy is to just put fingers to the keyboard to start cranking out content. While project delivery is important, I’m convinced having strategic focus will actually make the process easier while helping you create a more meaningful message. Working through the items below for each project you do will give you the focus to write concisely and effectively. And when you’re targeted with what you’re doing, hopefully you’ll become more efficient in creating content that will actually reach the right people and compel them to take action.
Define Your Audience.
Who is the key person you’re trying to reach with your communication? Is it parents of teenagers? Men who are looking to serve the community? Women who can take leadership roles in the church? The narrower you are in defining who you’re communicating to, the easier it will be to craft a message that will actually stick.
Even if you think your audience is church-wide, there are still target groups that you can appeal to more directly. Or something that is for the whole congregation might need to be communicated in different ways to various groups to help them understand why it’s important and how they can be involved. The more focused you are on target audiences, the better you’ll be able to craft the right message to reach them. Resist the temptation to speak broadly and understand even a targeted message will still reach other people outside of the sweet spot who have interest in what you’re doing.
Identify the problem you can solve.
Very few people respond to a message that implies, “Your life will stay exactly the same if you just add one more time commitment to your calendar.” Ideally, initiatives at your church are built to help people get unstuck. What struggle are they facing? What felt need is causing a problem in their life? Those emotional triggers are the ones you should craft your message to meet. Not only will it have a better chance at connecting with someone, but you’ll also improve your congregation and community by providing useful help.
Establish a single theme and continually edit to make the message simpler.
Turn your answer to solving someone’s felt need into a single idea that will headline and guide the rest of your message. Centering on one idea will make it easier to keep your supporting words and design focused. Be a continual editor looking at how you can shorten sentences, eliminate fluff and tighten design to provide a clear and simplified message.
What do you want them to do next?
Every piece of communication comes with next steps. It might be signing-up to volunteer, asking a friend to attend a breakfast event or getting involved in a small group. Whatever the call to action, make it clear how people can get involved. It might be meeting someone in the lobby after church, going to the website for more information or taking out their phones in the middle of service to download an app. No matter the format, make it simple and clear for people to take action.
Determine the best communications method.
Crafting a strong message is a key piece of the communications puzzle, but your plan won’t have the biggest impact unless it reaches the right people. Take your target audience and look at what communications platforms you have to reach them. If you have a program for women in your church, it might make sense just to send an email to your women’s ministry list or post something in a Facebook group. Other times, with bigger initiatives, an announcement on Sunday morning and bulletin announcement might be added to the mix. (We’ve written about communications plans and hierarchy in the past if you need a place to start thinking about this.)