Creating a Media Presence in Your Community
How and what you communicate to your community will determine what your community will think of you and, eventually, who and how many will come to your church. If you never reach out beyond your church doors, your community will never really know who you are or what you are all about and you will not experience the growth you could otherwise enjoy.
The Office of Public Relations understands the importance of creating and maintaining a strong presence in your community. We also understand that many of our pastors are overworked and have limited resources. Trying to come up with your own personal ‘media plan' is difficult and time consuming and more work than most people have time for, let alone trying to implement it. Our office would like to partner with you-to serve you where we can and yet let you take ownership and customize a plan to fit the culture and needs of your community.
With quality media tools you are able to open wide the doors of your church and enter into the homes of your community. A media campaign allows your church to send a powerful message to a targeted audience through multiple media channels. You can send a quick message to that mom as she is listening for the weather before sending her kids off to school. You can send a message to that businessman on his way to a meeting via a billboard. You can send a message to that young adult checking the mail. You can send a message in the morning paper to that person sitting in the break room at work. You can send a message to that elderly couple on their nightly walk through the neighborhood. In short, a media campaign opens the doors of your church and invites them in.
Creating a media presence can and should be more than just saying "Hey, we are over here. Come see us sometime." One of the most effective ways to increase your presence in your community is to run a media campaign with a real message. Get the most for your money by choosing a message or theme that speaks to people personally.
Something else you may want to consider while trying to get the most for your money is a dual purpose for your media plan. You might want to consider an evangelistic media campaign. You would be reaching out to the lost while enhancing your church's visibility. A powerful message and a well-designed media campaign can do just that.
If a message is catchy enough, people will learn it and you will be identified by that message. You will be known as the "caring church" or "the God Gives Hope church" or "the church whose God is real." If you work it right, you will be the buzz around town. People will discuss your church over lunch-"Did you see that commercial on TV this morning? That sounded just like me. I would like to go to that church." "Did you see that billboard on Commercial Street!? I really needed that today. That is the AG church, isn't it?" Your congregation will be proud and excited about their church. When this happens you will see visitors coming and you will have an opportunity to share the Gospel with them.
You may want to consider a broad theme that supports multiple sub-themes so you always have a fresh message but be identified by the core theme. It is kind of like preaching a series in the media. You can match your sermons and small groups by that sub-theme. (This is how the Nothing's Too Hard for God media campaign www.NothingsTooHardforGodCampaign.ag.org works.)
The Nothing's Too Hard for God campaign is a prepackaged plan that takes a broad theme that everyone can relate to. We all find ourselves in desperate situations-regardless of the circumstance, nothing is too hard for God. This theme serves as an umbrella for its 8 sub-themes based on felt needs that people struggle with today: Forgiveness, Loneliness, Relationships, Illness, Fear, Financial Need, Loss and Addiction. This media plan allows for a fresh message that is grounded in its central theme.
There is a lot involved in creating and maintaining a strong presence in your community. If you don't have the time to design and create a media campaign, a prepackaged plan might be the answer for you. All you have to do is customize and implement it. It will be cheaper in the long run and less headache.
The following are just some of the media tools we will discuss in future articles. There are so many ways you can communicate with your community.
|TV Spots||Billing Posters|
|Print Ads (local newspaper)||Postcards|
|Billboards||Neighborhood Yard Signs|
|Church Roadside Banners||Business Card Invites|
When you are driving around town, be aware of the various media and look for ideas. Look at how things catch your eye. When you see a billboard, think of why it caught your attention. Was it the location, color, message? What postcards do you look at and what ones do you toss? Why? How can you blend multiple media items to really make an impression? Oh, and what about those tacky or corny looking ads? Learn from someone else's mistakes.
Watch for more tips on creating a media presence and see how your church doors can open to your community.
View Additional Articles on Media Campaigns: