Church communicators often ask how far ahead should the begin promoting church events. Start too early, and you'll be talking about them for what seems like forever. But starting too late doesn't give people appropriate time to respond. Here are three keys to determining the opportune time to promote activities.
Think in Time Windows
There are certain human behaviors we all generally and instinctively follow. While we may have long-range plans for significant events like summer vacation or having a baby, most of us operate within a much tighter time window when it comes to weekly or monthly planning.
Take a look at how your own schedule comes together. How far out are you planning? I usually recommend that churches promote events and activities within a 6 to 8-week time window. An exception may be for more significant events.
Develop a Coms Rhythm
Another human trait we all experience is that we are creatures of habit. Without rhythms or patterns, things can quickly become forgettable or confusing.
Once you determine your promotions time window, stick to it. Let that become the norm. When your promotion time window matches theirs, your audience will be more apt to respond. Promoting beyond your audience's time window is likely to get less response.
Think Registration Deadline
Our Women's Ministry was planning a fall bus trip to New York. They were requesting a promotion even though it was only March or April. Because the bus company was planning their fall trips, the registration deadline was well before the trip to get their bus reservation in.
When it comes to event promotion, base the time window on the registration deadline when there is one. On a side note, providing registration information is essential. I can guarantee that those who want to register will wonder if there's still time. Answer that question by always including the registration deadline. If there isn't a deadline, state this in your promotion.
Here's how it works
Grace Community Church of Willow Street went through ChurchCom's Coaching Program and has been a part of our Virtual Church Assistants Program for about two years. Here's how this time window works for them.
Around the 13th of each month, the assistant and church administrator reviews activities and events for the following two months (eight weeks). They create a list and gather details from their churchwide calendar in Planning Center Online. The list and details are sent to each team leader to review. Once approved, the assistant builds the content calendar.
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Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More