Have you ever heard members of your church's congregation say they didn't know about an event, even though you had been publicly announcing it for weeks? Have you heard staff or members who asked why there wasn't a great response, and conclude you need even more promotion? If so, you're not alone.
Events, programs and ministry initiatives are fundamental for every church and they must be communicated. Therefore, announcements are essential to let people know what's coming up and how to get involved. To make announcements more effective, we must avoid these seven common mistakes.
1. Announcements are Too Lengthy
Everyone thinks their announcement is important, so it's easy to understand why churches end up with way too many announcements. However, when we communicate everything, we communicate nothing.
As communicators, we must advocate for prioritizing and limiting the number of announcements. We must value brevity and simplicity over complexity.
2. No Visuals are Included
When people hear information, they're likely to remember only 10 percent of that information three days later. Yes, only 10 percent! However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65 percent of the information three days later.
There is a value to brevity and simplicity over complexity.
If your announcements are important enough to make, they are important enough to be remembered. Creating and sharing visuals to accompany your announcements is certainly a must! (Source.)
3. Communicating the Features Instead of the Benefits
Most people want to find a church that offers a lot of ministries, events and programs. However, members of a congregation have lives that are very busy. With every announcement, they need to know the answer to, "What's in it for me?" Unfortunately, they aren't going to take the time to figure it out on their own. We must make it extremely clear.
Instead, we often stuff our announcements with all the details about who, what, when, where and how and often forget to answer "why?" We never get around to explaining the benefit for them to attend, yet this is the best way to connect with and inspire them to respond. We must focus our announcements more on inspiration, and less on information.
4. Using Insider Language
Our announcements are often littered with acronyms and churchanese. Yet, we wonder why all the followers we invited don't sign up in the narthex and then show up to the FWC for a time of fellowship hosted by the WOW to hear our PDs share the exciting news about our new C4 ministry.
As common as we think some acronyms are in within our church, we must present announcements with lowest common denominator' language. In other words, we can't assume anything and should use language that even unchurched, first-time guests will understand.
5. Wasting the Audience's Time
Week after week, we've made announcements that apply to a small percentage of our audience. In return, they have learned to tune out because much of what is being communicated doesn't apply to them.
We must ensure our announcements relate to 75 percent or more of our audience, in order to maintain relevance and their attention.
6. Not Rehearsing
The first time someone reads an announcement should not be when they are sharing with the congregation, yet too many times, people stumble through their words and pronounce words/names incorrectly.
In order to keep the announcements as compelling and lively as possible, the announcer needs to read through the slides and/or info beforehand. Or explore other announcement options like video announcements that are prerecorded.
7. There is No Clear Call-to-Action
Many announcements lack a clear call-to-action, which is arguably the most important part of an announcement. A call-to-action is the part of the announcement that lets those in the congregation know how best to respond.
Some announcements leave members uncertain of the next step, while others provide too many next steps. To increase the response, include one very clear next step. It's also helpful to create a sense of urgency by letting people know when they should respond by.
What do you think about these common announcement mistakes?
How do you avoid them?
Kathryn Binkley is a strategic marketer called by God to help churches communicate more effectively. For more than 10 years, Kathryn has planned, managed and tracked the results of strategic marketing and communications plans. She began her career working for marketing agencies serving a wide variety of small businesses, non-profits and large corporations. In 2014, she felt led by God to use her time and talents for a greater purpose so she answered His call and created Alyght, a church communications agency, a church marketing agency, based in North Carolina. She has worked with churches with thousands of members, as well as those with fewer than 15, and most recently co-authored a book titled "Rethink Ministry: The 7 practical Steps to help ministries launch or revamp their current digital strategy."