Life change happens through the many events, activities, and ministries your church generates. And in event promotion, they often take either a "decentralized" or "centralized" approach. Let's look at each, and then I'll share thoughts on which is better.
The decentralized approach is typical. This is where each ministry develops its own promotion strategy for its events. After all, who would know better about the activity, its objectives, target audience, and details?
With this approach, the first step is to gather all the event details. Next, the department may lean on a committee or planning team to develop creative ways to promote their event that would grab maximum attention and connect with prospective attendees.
A plan may include producing a display for the lobby, developing a comedic video, or presenting a live sketch on stage. The program may call out the usual screen announcements, bulletin entries and inserts, emails, and features on the website and social media. Finally, the team drafts and finalizes a promotion schedule. When finished, the team submits the plan for the communications coordinator to implement.
The "centralized" approach is similar, except responsibilities shift. With this approach, the communications coordinator gathers the details submitted by the ministry and crafts the communication plan.
The communications coordinator crafts the content calendar, submitting a draft to the ministry leader for affirmation. The communications coordinator implements the plan once it is complete.
Decentralized Approach: Pros & Cons
At first glance, the decentralized approach seems to have the most flexibility and less creative restriction. In this scenario, the sky's the limit on how teach ministry promotes its activities. Additionally, ministry leaders may have more ownership of their promotions.
However, what most churches miss with this approach is they're unintentionally creating competition. Your church members are on the receiving end of the frequency and volume of all this messaging.
Each team crafts its own coms plan without knowing how it impacts or is impacted by the coms plans of other ministries. The coms coordinator is left with the daunting task of making it all come together. This congestion often translates to information overload for your congregation, as everything to promote is included in your communications. I'm identifying a key pain point that isn't obvious to most churches but is a common challenge.
Nobody enjoys congestion. What prevents traffic gridlock? Well-engineered traffic patterns. Your communications strategy is the same. Creating healthy, well-planned traffic patterns will help you and your team get a handle on your coms workflow.
Centralized Approach: Pros & Cons
With the centralized approach, your communications framework should be predetermined. Your communication channels must be established and affirmed ahead of time. Generally, this channel list might include a printed bulletin, screen, video, or live service announcements, email newsletters, or social media and website spots.
Your promotions calendar window is also predetermined. Consider limiting your promotions to events taking place within a 6-week window. Also, the communications coordinator should be appointed and entrusted to coordinate and craft the content calendar each month while your ministry leaders submit their activity details to this person on time.
The centralized approach shifts schedule management and conflict mitigation to the coms coordinator. One person (or team in larger churches) coordinating promotional content eases unintended competition.
There are more advantages to the centralized approach than we can cover in this post. If you'd like to discover ways this might help your church, let's schedule a time to chat.
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Don Wambolt has over 25 years' experience in leading church communications. More