How we communicate with our members, the community, and the world at large is almost as important as the message itself. In some ways, it’s more important, because if we communicate poorly, our message may never get through.
Crafting effective communications takes effort, and it may seem like more work, but ineffective communication while less work, is just wasted effort. Effective communication is effort with outcomes.
As with anything communications related, the GCOF Communications Team is here to help. Feel free to contact us.
- Put effort into it – Effort shows, and lack of effort shows as well. It communicates that you don’t care about the topic. If you don’t care, why should your audience. You want to have the best announcement you can.
- High Quality – Similar to #1, if your announcement isn’t high quality (type, images, layout) you won’t connect, or worse, will send the wrong message. Everything we produce contributes to the image of our Church and ultimately, to how people view us and God. Use the communications team to your advantage here! We’ve established some good guidelines, including the why, in the Communications Guide, but here’s a synopsis: Use high quality images. If they include people, the people should be engaging and interesting, but not posed. No Clip Art. Avoid goofy cartoon-like images. Use well crafted fonts, but 2 at the most. Never use default fonts such as Arial or Times New Roman, or “gimmick” fonts such as Papyrus and Comic Sans. Use strong, vibrant colors. Have a lot of empty space. Use fewer words.
- Consider the relevance – Does this really need to be communicated? Does it relate to the core mission of your ministry or the values and mission of the church? If not, there might be better ways of accomplishing your goal without diluting your message. Remember, our first job is to bring people closer to Jesus. Does your announcement do that?
- Know your audience – You need to think about the images, wording, crafting, and even media channel of your communications so that it speaks to the target audience. You want it to be relevant and accessible. If you are trying to directly reach school age children, you wouldn’t want to use an email campaign that relied on images of business people. Associated to this point is how the announcement might be viewed by those NOT in your target audience. What will your announcement say to spouses, parents, or newcomers?
- Have a story, not just an announcement – the most effective communications convey a story all their own. They create interest. Use pictures of people that show engagement. The words should explain why someone would be interested.
- Encourage engagement – Especially when using social media, but even when using more traditionally “one way” media, you should foster a conversation. Ask questions, generate responses, make people think and talk.
- Be brief – Less really is more when it comes to most announcements. Avoid overwhelming people with all the information they need all at once. Rather, give them enough to generate interest and answer the Call to Action. Speaking of which:
- Make the Call to Action the center – The most important thing in any communication is the “conversion”, what’s the next step the person should take? Do you want them to go online and get more information? Click “Like” on something? Reminding someone of an event in 3 weeks isn’t a conversion, getting them to mark their calendar is. Telling someone we have a cafe isn’t a conversion, when they step into the cafe and smell the coffee, it is. So the CTA needs to be the MOST important thing in your announcement. Tell them what to do next.
- Give them the WHY – People need to know WHY they are answering the call to action. Consider personal testimony and quotes. This one of the main things people rely on for making decisions. To quote from unseminary.com’s great article on the topic, “The fact that the money management seminar is coming up next weekend isn’t a compelling announcement. The knowledge that the average attendee to that seminar gets out of $8,500 in debt is a benefit … talk about benefits to everything you are announcing.”
- Consider the Big Ideas – How does your event or announcement fit in with the Big Idea that the church is promoting? Does it tie in with a sermon series? Is it a lead in or follow up to a conference? Things that support the main church messages are more important, and more relevant to a larger audience. Someone that might normally skip an smaller event is more likely to attend something that is connected to a larger event.