While definitely not going anywhere, the parish bulletin is no longer the only way to share news of your parish while also offering a teaching tool for members. Your website, social media channels, email blasts, and SMS messages are now fair game in the parish communication strategy.
To reach people, we need to meet them where they’re at. Some are all about messaging on the go, scrolling on their phones as they wait for doctor appointments or during a lunch break, while others prefer to pick up the Sunday bulletin and read it religiously (pun intended) each week. But while the ways to communicate with parishioners are plentiful, your staff time, unfortunately, is not. Luckily, there are ways you can utilize the content you have to reach its maximum potential in order to get it to the people who need to hear it.
Reuse/Recycle Valuable Content …
When it comes to choosing ways to communicate with members, remember that there is no reason to reinvent the wheel when it comes to content. An easy way to begin this process is to start with the Sunday bulletin, and then segment/edit what you have and decide on digital ways to share it.
If your parish has a weekly digital newsletter, it’s easy to copy and paste with minimal editing involved. If you need more content and imagery to go along with it, look no further than WeCreate, LPi’s art and content platform. Available free for parishes with a bulletin contract or for a yearly subscription cost for those who don’t, WeCreate gives you 24/7 access to stock images, clip art, Sunday content, Gospel reflections, children’s Gospel activities, and more that will allow you to form and engage your faith community.
A bulletin and a digital newsletter are similar in design and content. But what about other means of communication expected these days, such as social media? Well, there’s a bit more to it, actually.
… But Remember Your Audience
It might seem like sharing parish news across multiple channels would be easy, but if you truly want to reach people, you need to keep in mind that not all social media channels are equal. From Twitter’s character count of 280 max, to Instagram’s focus on quality images and multiple hashtags, users are on certain channels because they prefer the way the content is shared.
While you COULD add a whole Gospel reflection to an Instagram post, more likely people will scroll on by because Instagram is more of a visual platform. Or you could post nothing but a single image on Facebook, but without a caption, explanation or a link, followers might be confused on what to do with it. Make sure that with whatever channel you share your content on, you are mindful of the format and how best to get seen.
If you’re looking for an easy explanation about the differences between social media channels, the Pixel has a great infographic to check out. The main takeaway? Don’t overthink how your church can accommodate each social media channel by reinventing your content. Rather, consider ways that you can capture the attention of followers by using pieces and parts of your main content and segmenting it.
Making it Personal
One goal for sharing your news is to help parishioners become familiar with who you are as a church. You’re not just a place to come to each week in obligation, but a community made in Christ — you need to nurture your relationship with parishioners.
In addition to, or in replacement of a digital newsletter, considering sending out a weekly email from the pastor, associate pastor, director of formation or other church leader. Not only do you help parishioners put a face to a name, but it helps make your parish news more personal when it comes from a persona instead of an entity. It doesn’t have to be 2,500 words of straight reflections or multiple invitations to upcoming events. Sometimes, all you need is a quick weekly check-in to remind them what your church is all about.
Quality images with a short sentence and a link to read your newsletter is a great way to share on Instagram. For Facebook, consider links to individual newsletter articles over a period of a few days, with a call to action to sign up for upcoming communication.
Dive deeper into the topic of social media and your church by checking out “4 Social Media Trends to Watch In 2021” and “Is A Social Media Management Platform Right for Your Parish?”