by Aaron Strawn/ April 14, 2016
“Love it, let’s do it!” There’s a pause in the room as no one wants to bring up what needs to be said next. In the back there’s a throat clear and then…the question. “How are we going to promote thi..” Nooooooo! The air in the creative room has been vacuumed out, a fire breaks out, a bear flies in, the ceiling collapses and the meeting is over because everyone is dead! Boy, that escalated quickly.
That burning question: How do we communicate to our church families what’s going on? “Seriously, Aaron?” you sarcastically ask and continue, “The world is amazing now! No longer do you need to lick envelopes and send a letter. We have text, email, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, websites, blogs, newsletters… What else do you need!”
Those things are there, and it is amazing the instant access we have to communicate to people. But the answer to the question is no longer the method but the execution. Here’s a couple of tips to try to get your message to break through and stick.
Think it through.
A bad idea would be to just erratically and randomly send a not-well-thought-out email blast. Oh… speaking of email blasts, please, please, please do not make this tragic mistake. PROOFREAD IT! When I get an email blast from someone and then four minutes later another one with the subject “Oops,” followed by the corrections, I cringe. And look, it’s ok to make a mistake, but if this happens frequently, your audience will tune you out. This has happened to me so frequently by someone that the second I get an email from them, I either delete it or space it out. I, for one, am not an MLA expert (as you can most definitely tell) or the greatest speller. I always have someone proof my emails or communications. It’s always good to have a second eye look at it. Sometimes we work on something so long that we can no longer critically assess it.
Brand Your Event.
Have a look and name for your event/series you want to communicate. We put lots of time and effort into naming and designing a look. Here’s two examples: We wanted to start a team night—a night to get together, pray, worship, cast vision, and eat. What do we call this thing? Someone said, “Just call it Team Night.” I thought, yeah, but that doesn't stick out. We landed on the name Umbrella. You see, an Umbrella is something that gives you a break from your surroundings (rain), plus, if there’s more than one of you, you huddle together under it. It backed up the vision for the meeting, and so that became its name. Another example was a family service we wanted to do on a Sunday morning. We planned it for Super Bowl Sunday so we went with the football look. Then we named it Fumblerooski. My vision was to create a name that was fun for the kids to say and had a connection to football to get the dads excited about coming. It worked. All the promo material looked the same, and after weeks of promoting, everyone knew what it was and when it was.
Have Fun on Social Media.
We started using memes to communicate. For example, Willy Wonka will sarcastically promote an event, Crying Jordan will be sad if they missed a meeting, Fry will give you all his money for just a peek into the kids ministry wing. (BTW, if you have no idea what I’m talking about, then Google is your friend.) Another idea is to start a Youtube channel and put your announcements on there for your team and parents. Keep it around 60 seconds, change the environment (don’t shoot it at your desk), and make sure the audio is clear.
So there’s some tips on getting the word out by marrying technology and planning. But don't forget, word of mouth is still the number one way to communicate. (And for my meme-illiterate friends, this one’s for you.)