I'm a control freak.
I admit it.
Most leaders fear feeling out of control and seek to gain (at least) the appearance of knowing what's going on, setting specific goals, and doing what it takes to reach or surpass them.
It's that control that is desired and valued in a senior leadership role. But it's difficult!
There are 3 essential things a leader should control when it comes to communications.
And the power is within every Pastor who leads a congregation; you just need to be aware of them:
1. Direct the congregation to your website.
For effective communications, your church needs a digital hub to inform your congregation and connect with your community. Where you have an amazing, well-organized website that everything points to. Including you! Your social media, print materials, text messages, emails, and virtually every other communication tool needs to link to your website.
Stop telling all the details in announcements and start telling them that additional information is found on your website. The more you build up the website, the more your congregation will trust and regularly visit it. This establishes the foundation for cheaper and more effective church communication.
Tip: have followup materials for your sermon on your website that "completes" your sermon. Or offer a downloadable tip sheet, or screen saver image, to remind your congregation to extend the sermon throughout their week. Then have your social media point to it so others can enjoy it and listen to your sermon online too!
2. Guide stories to build your brand.
You're in full control of your language, emotion, and voice when your posting online.
So, know your lane (thread) that you're known for, and tell stories to reinforce it. Your posts need to build on who you are and create a bigger consistent story. Control every part of them, but ensure they're authentic.
Tip: know regularly used words that build SEO value for your brand. Concentrate on pains, concerns, and goals that your personas feel or project. Decide what keywords should be associated with them.
3. Provide words to your congregation.
If you ask a congregation of 100 why they like their church, you'll get 100 different answers. You can't become known for 100 different things because your community will remember none of them.
However, get almost everyone to say the same reason, and that consistent message will resonate farther and longer. Now, imagine if you could get the congregation to give the reason that corresponds with what most of your community needs!
The power is yours. Here's how: Start with the community and identify what your congregation offers well that's a benefit to a lot of the community.
Then emphasize that benefit regularly to your congregation. Tell them why they loved the service, why the fellowship feels so different than most churches, and why they keep coming back. The more you tell them an authentic benefit, the more they'll use it when asked, "why do you like your church?"
Tip: make sure it's clever, short, and easy to remember. Religious sounding? You'll only attract church goers.
Make it non-spiritual and you'll attract your unchurched community!