For years, churches have searched for the magic bullet and cure all for communicating their announcements.
We've seen various methods—- like bulletins or stage announcements—- have their moment in the spotlight as THE WAY to get the word out.
Over the last decade or so, as video equipment has become more affordable and video content has taken over the web and social media, churches are turning to video as the new fix for their announcements.
Here's the bad news.
Filming someone reading your bulletin content won't fix your announcements problem. There's nothing magic about video, and people can tune out videos just as quickly as they can tune out someone speaking from the stage.
The good news?
Video announcements, when used effectively, can be one of THE BEST tools in your toolbox to communicate with your church.
Video allows you to:
- control how long the video is.
-show visuals that enhance what the presenter is saying.
-limitless opportunities to get creative with how you communicate your messages.
Let me share with you some of the mistakes I've made through the years, and some tips for how to avoid them.
7 VIDEO ANNOUNCEMENT MISTAKES TO AVOID FOR CHURCH
Video Announcements Will Solve Your Announcement Problem
The biggest issue churches face with announcements is not what method you use, the problem is creating information overload for your audience.
It doesn't matter if you're communicating announcements from stage, in a bulletin, or through a video. Video announcements won't fix your audience being overwhelmed with too many announcements.
The only remedy to information overload during announcement time is to build standards for what you will and won't communicate in services each week.
If you don't have standards for what is announced in your services, you're likely going to be communicating more than your audience can handle, and your key or most important message can get lost.
So what could these standards look like for our events, ministries and initiatives we want to communicate at our services?
Here's the filter I use for all of our announcements:
Does it impact 80 percent of our audience?
Is it a direct next step from teaching that would add value to our audience?
Is it a key on-ramp to a ministry?
If the answer is no to those questions, then we're finding an alternate method or environment to communicate that message.
Focus on the 2-3 most important next steps you have each week, and you'll be well on your way to solving the age old announcement problem.
Picking the Wrong Presenter
Nothing can make or break an announcement video like a presenter. It doesn't matter how exciting your announcements are, how amazing your script is, or how good your equipment and editing is if you don't have an engaging presenter, the announcement video is not going to be as effective as it could be.
When you're picking the presenters for the announcement video, don't just jump to the people that are already speaking on stage. Just because someone is good at speaking to a room does not mean they'll be good at communicating on camera.
So what should you look for in finding the right presenters for your video announcements? The best people for talking on camera are very energetic, overly expressive and visually engaging. Want to see a couple good examples of people who do this well? Go watch some people like Ryan Seacrest or Jimmy Fallon communicate on camera.
Telling, Not Showing
Don't let the visuals be an afterthought in your announcement video. 65% of people out there are visual learners and are much more likely to remember the visuals you show them than the words you read them.
The mistake most people make here is that they write a script first and then try to find visuals to overlay on top of the content that the presenter is saying.
I'd encourage you to flip the script. Show and tell. Think visuals first, script second. Work through how you're visually going to communicate the information that you have. What visuals tell the story? What graphics would you need to convey the clear next steps for each announcement? With those visuals in mind, build a script that will compliment the visuals.
Leading with What/When instead of Why/Who
Which one of these examples is more engaging to you?
#1: Join us on March 19th at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall for a special event called Marriage Connect. We'll have a guest speaker joining us to share some marriage tips for you and your spouse.
#2: Marriage is tough, but it's worth it. Our church is committed to providing practical opportunities for you to make this the best year ever for your marriage. Mark your calendars for Marriage Connect on March 19th at 7pm in the Fellowship Hall.
The WHAT doesn't matter if you don't have a compelling WHY for people to respond to. It's the WHY that grabs our attention, not the information.
For your video announcements (and all announcements), lead with WHY so that people want to know the WHAT. Share a story that communicates the WHY behind the event. Answer the question of why this announcement matters to your audience, and then give them a clear call to action for how they can respond.
The Video Is Too Long
The average attention span of a goldfish is 9 seconds.
The average attention span of people is 8 seconds.
Just because you have someone's presence doesn't mean you have their attention. Attention should never be assumed and should always be earned.
A good target length for an announcement video is no longer than 2-3 minutes. Within those 2-3 minutes, think of that video in 30-45 second segments that build on each other. Practically speaking, it's more like multiple commercials that make up a commercial break than it is one long commercial. Change the pace, break up the music and visuals so that it matches the tone of what's being communicated, and keep the pace moving.
***Here's a little bonus tip** Export those individual segments from the announcement video and use them on social media. It's a great way to enhance what you're doing across your social media platforms.
Overlooking Lighting and Audio
People can overlook average video quality, but it's hard to be effective video with subpar audio and lighting. What I've found is that many people are spending too much of their equipment budget on a camera and overlooking lighting and audio. Good lighting can make an iPhone camera look great. Bad lighting can make a $10,000 camera look like a cheapie. For audio, focus on getting a good shotgun or lavaliere microphone for your presenters so. For lighting, grab a few softbox lights or adjustable LED lights. If you don't have the budget for lighting equipment, get outside or in areas where you have good natural lighting.
Not Mixing It Up Week-To-Week
Anything done the same way over and over tends to leave people tuning out. It's fine to have a few consistent elements to each of your video announcements. In fact, I'd recommend that you create a consistent video intro/outro that you use each week for brand consistency.
If you're doing video announcements each week, make sure you're switching up the music you're using, the locations you're filming at, and the presenters that are communicating.