Content marketing offers churches a great way of promoting services and events this Holy Week, while educating and inspiring your community.
The traditional approach to promoting an event is to put out messages inviting people to come, including all the event details, with the name of your service or event in the headline. This is of course really important to do, and we would encourage all churches to do this.
However, it can be overwhelming for people if you are constantly asking them to do something – maybe you have experienced this yourself on social media – and if you’re finding the ‘traditional’ event promotion approach alone isn’t getting the response you would like, content marketing is worth considering.
Content marketing is the idea that if you want to encourage someone to take an action – like coming to an event – you don’t always have to ask them to do it directly, or at least, not at the beginning of your post, email or video.
Sometimes, creating related but more general, engaging content can capture people’s attention, and from that point you can more gently end up inviting them to take an action.
This is a more personable way to build community and increases the chances of the person you reach knowing more about your church and church activities. You can use this approach for written, audio and visual content.
To capture people’s attention, the content should do at least one of the following:
- Offer something of value to the person you want to reach – such as information they would find helpful, or something they would enjoy watching
The good news is this doesn’t need to be complicated.
We have put together some content ideas that you can create just using your phone and a few editing tools.
Before you start, it is key to consider your community and the people you want to reach. For example, if this Easter you want to welcome younger people to your youth Easter service, think about how your content can cater to their interests and if you could share it across the platforms that have a larger audience of that demographic, for example Instagram or TikTok.
Types of content you can create:
With all these ideas, the main content is focused on creating something to educate or inspire. Alongside, underneath or at the end of this main content, you can add a line to link people to your event details. Or, even without this, just by sharing something engaging, people may also be drawn anyway to look at your website or social profile and see what you’re offering.
The internet has become our go-to place to find information. Your church can take an active role in what people are learning. Over the Easter period, people might be searching things like:
- What is Good Friday?
- What is the Last Supper?
- Which verse talks about the Last Supper?
- What is Easter?
- Can I celebrate Easter if I am not a Christian?
You could offer bite-size content which provides people with answers to some of these questions. This educational content could be distributed as a blog on your website or on your social media channels in the form of short-form videos or static graphics.
Another way to answer these questions is by filming a video, for example a video that explains what the significance of the Last Supper is. This might be centred around three key messages that you want the audience to learn and could have an introduction and caption that reads “Here are three things I bet you didn’t know about the Last Supper!” To link this back to inviting people to your event, you could include a line at the end or alongside saying, ‘To find out more about the meaning of Easter, join us for our Easter services at…’
People often appreciate content that encourages and empowers. In fact, #MotivationMonday is one the highest-ranking hashtags on social media. How can you bring motivation and inspiration to your audience through your content? Click the link below for an example about spreading ‘Easter joy.’ Note how they are using this piece of content to invite people to their Easter services with their caption: “We took to the streets to bring some Easter joy 🐰 and invite people to our services. Enjoy part 1! Who will you invite?”
Poems are a great storytelling tool that allow for deep thinking and meditation. Poems do not have to be long to be effective - they can be as short as three lines. If you have someone in your community who writes poems, why not ask them if they would be happy to contribute.
They can be presented as static posts or animated posts.
You can add music in the background.
To go a step further, record a voiceover reading your poem to background music.
Repurpose old content:
Repurposing old content is a quick win in terms of getting content out there. Do you have images, videos, or sermons/recordings from previous Easter services? If the answer is yes, you can repurpose that content to promote your upcoming Easter services. Download the video, then using the video editing tool like CapCut or Canva, you can edit and cut out clips that you want to use. You can then add text, either using the audio from the video or adding your own audio. Reshare on different social media platforms with the caption inviting people to your Easter Sunday service or even your worship night if you have one.
Show us YOUR church:
In five minutes, you can create content using your church facilities. You can record short or long form video content showcasing the different things within your church, as though taking someone on a journey through your church or a tour, with the goal of helping to make the person watching to feel welcome and curious about coming to your church this Easter.
A great example video of how to showcase your church whilst inviting people your services: IMPRINT CHURCH | London (@imprintldn) • Instagram photos and videos
Find 2-3 people with great testimonies that you can share and who are happy to be filmed. When doing this type of content, you will need to prepare the person you are interviewing beforehand so that they feel more confident when sharing their story. You can end the video with a clear action such as “Want to hear more stories like this? Join us this Easter Day.”
Share prayers in the run up to Easter. Make the prayer the main focus but use it as an opportunity to invite someone to an in-person prayer meeting that you might be hosting. For example, “join us for in-person prayer at our prayer night this Good Friday”.
Here is an example of how we present prayers on the main Church of England social accounts: https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=591961209633554&set=a.584368510392824
If creating this type of content yourself is challenging and takes a lot of time, you can always retweet or reshare the Church of England prayers, reflections and content on your stories with a local personalised message.
Top tips to support your content creating journey:
Top Tip #1: To create strong content, it is important to ensure that you are clear on the key messages you want to put across. If you were watching the content, what would you go away thinking about?
Top Tip #2: Think of ways to re-use the same piece of content across different platforms to meet different audience types.
Top Tip #3: Make sure that all social media cover photos are up to date with information about upcoming events and how to sign up if that is required.
Top Tip #4: Make sure that your social media bios / link in bios include key Easter information and links to info about your Easter services and events.
Useful blogs to help you when creating your content:
- How to create great posters to promote your events | The Church of England
- 31 amazing tools and resources to support your online - or offline - church services | The Church of England
Ruvimbo Makumbe, Digital Labs Manager