church outreach and content marketing

Church Outreach and Content Marketing

Get the word out about who you are.
Part 1 of our 2-part series

How much time, effort, and money does your church put into advertising (posting signs, distributing flyers, shouting out announcements on social media…)? Did you know that there’s a better, more effective way to reach and nurture your audience? Content marketing is a great strategy for not only spreading the word about your church, but also building credibility with church and community members and sharing the gospel.

 

What is Content Marketing?

Content marketing is creating and distributing something of value to your audience in order to build goodwill and credibility. The goal is not to get people to do something for you (such as come to an event or fund a cause). Instead, you provide information that inspires and educates. Content marketing is a gift that your church gives freely, trusting that your recipients will come back for more and maybe even share the resources you’re offering with others.

 

Why Content Marketing is Ideal for Churches

Strategically creating and positioning content is a marketing tactic used in the business world. (Full disclosure: this article is content marketing. We’re not trying to sell you anything in particular right now, but we do hope you’ll think well of CMS, revisit our other articles, mention us to other churches, and so forth.) This strategy works especially well for businesses and organizations that want to be seen as experts or thought leaders in their fields. Because the church’s purpose is to serve people by sharing the gospel and content marketing is all about giving value, content marketing should not only raise awareness for your church, but also directly further the church’s mission because much of what you share will point people toward the gospel.

Consider this: Typical out-bound marketing demands time and money for writing advertisements, printing flyers, and blasting announcements through email and social media. Meanwhile, content marketing takes valuable information — much of which you already have on hand — and repurposes and redistributes it to those who want it.

Certainly, there is a place for good out-bound marketing, but there’s great value in creating and sharing material that people want. Through content creation and distribution, you can create a following of people who view your church and staff as credible experts and are more interested in responding to those out-bound tactics you may still employ.

 

What is Content?

Good news! If you choose to pursue content marketing, you won’t be starting from scratch. Sure, you’ll have to do some brainstorming and come up with some fresh ideas, but you already have a good amount of content developed that just needs a little repackaging and resharing.

Content You (May) Already Have

Now, think about your target audience (church and community members). What on the list above would be interesting to them? Your church community is engaged in service that touches people, changes their lives, and makes the world a better place. Tell those stories from the heart, and you'll have winning content every time.

Be informative. Church members may be interested in watching a sermon from home if they missed church, re-watching one they really enjoyed, or listening to one as they commute or run errands. Interested parents might want to know what their children learned at VBS. Members who give to ministries and missions and those who actively volunteer or are considering volunteering might want information on the progress of their church’s ministries and missions.

Content You Should Create

To engage those who don’t already have a vested interest in your church, you may have to work a bit harder and create new content. This material might not always spell out the gospel message or send them running to your church doors. But it may start a conversation and create goodwill toward the church. The demographics of the folks you’re trying to reach will play a large part in what content you develop, so take some time to think through who your desired audience is, and once you’ve done that, brainstorm topics to cover. Here are a few examples to get you thinking:

 

Shaping and Sharing the Content

There are many medias and methods to share your awesome content:

It’s great to use as many of these as possible so that you can reach more people. You’ll find that different medias work better than others for certain types of content, audiences, and methods of sharing. For instance, videos and blog posts are great for sharing on Facebook or Twitter. White papers and slide presentations are great for complex information that you’d like to post on your website for interested parties. Start with picking just a few medias. Once you’ve mastered these and feel that your team has the necessary bandwidth, expand to other channels to broaden your reach.

Next, learn how to strategize and plan ahead for the best content marketing impact in Part 2: Delving Deeper with Content Marketing.

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