- Create content your MEMBERS will be proud to share
- Videos are best, photos, blogs
- No “internal language”, acronyms or institutional writing
- Keep it conversational, engaging, friendly and ‘inviting’
WHAT IS ‘FRIENDLY CONTENT’?
Cats that can use the toilet. Kids that are just ‘too’ cute. You’ve see the YouTube videos… Well, watch what people share and like and add comments to on Facebook. You will need to work hard to produce content that is geared towards those who have never been to your church – who don’t know you – who may not even care.
You are writing, producing, coordinating content that the ‘world’ might take a look at and say – “Hey, I didn’t know ‘Christian’s thought way…” or “Hey, maybe it’s time for me to get into Church and check out this Jesus guy for myself rather than listening to the Media”. This is about making sure you are not writing to your congregation – using internal acronyms and ‘inside jokes’ that no one else will get. This is about writing an open letter to whoever might read it. Address the types of things that Jesus would address in our society. Start with easy topics and build up.
Videos are fantastic here. If you could produce a series of videos on a subject, and make sure to always include some personal stories – this gives people an opportunity to meet you and here what you have to say on a topic. If they like what you have to say, then they may interact with you, start a conversation or they may just come down this Sunday and worship with you. They will have met you, now all you have to do is meet them.
MAKE IT EASY FOR PEOPLE TO SHARE YOUR CONTENT
First off, make sure you are adding in all your content using a blog mechanism. We STRONGLY recommend you use Adobe Business Catalyst as your church content management system as it supports building a BLOG directly in your church website. This means that you can easily add content to the site at any time. Once your content is added into your blog, each blog article will have it’s own web page, page title, image, etc. And then you can easily post a link to this page on Facebook or Google+, add it to an email, etc. So this becomes the main anchor point of your content and you can then share it anywhere else you need to.
We would recommend using addthis.com (free service) to make it super easy for every page and blog entry on your website to be shared by your readers. This becomes more and more important as you get better at producing very compelling content. If you are using the correct church content management system this should be a one time setup in your website page templates.
CONTENT IS STILL KING
Text and Video content is what makes the entire web work. So you need to have plenty of content on your website – articles, blog from your pastor, videos, current events. All of these individual pieces of content over time will each bring a small amount of traffic to your website. When you are measuring that stream of traffic (see Commandment #10 – Thou shall measure everything) and analyze it you will be able to learn more about what people are searching for to help you develop even more content.
The real challenge is to create great content that gets people to take action, and to get that content to go viral with people commenting on it and sharing it with their friends. It also means making sure your content is optimized to help that visitor, member or other party take action on that content. Perhaps you want them to sign up for a mission trip, or make a donation, sign up for a newsletter or re-share on Facebook – how easy are you making it for them to do this?
Another important aspect is keeping balance. Make sure you are posting status updates on Facebook that are a combination of inspiration, requests for help for the needy, event invitations, comments on Sunday sermons, etc.