When I was at Grove City College for my undergrad, I did a project in my SEO class for a local church. I wasn’t the only one – at least one or two other students had been assigned to other local churches to help with content marketing, SEO, and social media.
Churches, as non-profits, often have limited resources (time and money) to spend on their digital presence. Unfortunately, although it’s an incredibly important part of ministry in the twenty-first century, it is one of the most often neglected.
Why Should You Invest In Internet Marketing?
First and foremost – this is how you get visitors! If a newcomer to the area can’t find you online, how are they supposed to visit you? Of course, word of mouth, visibility of a church building, and other methods of marketing are important. But as mobile surpasses desktop Internet usage, it’s important that your customers can find your website and relevant information about you.
Second – this is an easy way to build relationships among your members and disseminate information and improve event attendance. Sure, Joe might hear the announcement about the church picnic next week, but by Monday he’s already forgotten. What happens if you post a Facebook reminder about it? People remember, RSVP (if you’ve included a link to RSVP), and they come!
Content Marketing for Churches
Hands down, content marketing for churches has to be the easiest industry I’ve ever worked with. Why? Because Pastors = content machines! Every week they’re writing and preaching a whole new sermon! And with all the ministry options that churches offer, there isn’t much that can’t be leveraged into content!
The simplest place to start is a blog – it’s an easy place to host news, updates, written, visual, sound recordings and more. Content marketing is all about telling your story and only you can determine the best way to do it.
Does your church take video or audio recordings of every week’s service – or at least the sermon? Take that recording and embed it into a short re-cap of last week’s message. Compile a list of scripture passages and book recommendations that tie into the current sermon series and share them on your blog. Have a member that participated in a recent event (retreat, youth event, golf outing, volunteer effort, etc) write a summary of the day including relevant details or do a video of it.
Use content from regularly recurring events to increase attendance at future events. For example, if you have an annual camping trip – take videos and photos and integrate them into a blog post, a slideshow, a video and post it on your website and social media channels to get people interested.
“Content Marketing” might be a fancy name for blogging and the regular communications you’re already doing. It’s all about making these resources available as a way of “telling your story.”
Social Media for Building Community
If your church is older than a few months, you probably have a Facebook page. But are you using it to its biggest potential? Social Media is just one way to disseminate your content marketing and information. Events, reminders, sermons, blog posts, etc can all be pushed to your audience here.
Don’t forget about groups either! A church that I once attended had a group designated for the young adults ministry. The advantage of groups is that everyone gets notifications for every new post in the group. Here young adults could form relationships with each other, coordinate group outings and get reminders about upcoming church events.
Social media is another way to get your name out there by networking with local businesses, other churches, non-profits and organizations in the area. Someone who likes the local food bank might never have known about your church before the food bank posted a picture of your youth group volunteering with the organization.
Chances are you’re already doing content marketing without knowing it. Likely you’re recording sermons, hosting events and updating your website. If you need help updating your website design, getting started on a cohesive internet marketing plan, or just looking for some consulting – feel free to reach out.