Websites and social media are just parts of a larger digital communications revolution. The proliferation of devices is changing the way people read, and approaches to church communications are changing as well. How can you better communicate digitally?
In general, keep things short. The exception is sermons. Sermons are written for the ear. Digital communications are made for the eye. If you’re uploading a sermon or anything else of substantial length, shorten the paragraphs and make the main phrase or word in the first sentence of each paragraph boldface. That will help both people who skim and people who read deeply.
Use high-resolution photos. Online media are more visually based, and photos can tell the big story of your congregation much faster than a detailed written history can. Encourage people to take smartphone photos at events, which can be uploaded to a Facebook album or other online photo-sharing platforms.
Make sure that videos capture the viewer’s attention in the first few moments. Promotional or welcome videos should be no longer than 45 seconds. (Videos of sermons and certain other events will of course be longer.) Make videos easy to share by uploading them to YouTube and embedding them in your website.
Freshen it up. Your church is always doing something, and your website and social media can reflect that. That doesn’t mean you need to regularly make huge changes to your website, but updates are important to reflect the vitality of your church.
Use online resources. Do you know of a church that does digital communications well? Sign up for their newsletter and pay attention to how they lay things out, the length of notes, and what kinds of things they’re linking to.
Look to the congregation for people eager to use their gifts in technology or communication for the church.