Church Communications During a Global Pandemic
At the onset of the global coronavirus pandemic, churches—along with all types of organizations—were scrambling to provide any content they could dream up to cater to people. It makes sense: everyone’s stuck at home, and we can’t produce content and materials the way we’ve always done it, so how can we provide valuable entertainment and education to a captive audience?
We’re now several weeks in, and many organizations are still in this same mindset of throwing everything out there and seeing what sticks. The original idea was great, and I am sure many people appreciated the efforts. But now we’re going on three months of the pandemic—including closures, stay-home orders, shuttered church buildings, and of course, no haircuts—so it’s time to evaluate how things are going.
Your church needs to change the way it’s communicating. Instead of aimlessly creating and distributing content, it’s time to create a strategy. Make sure that you have a purpose for what you’re doing—and no, I don’t mean “the gospel.” Think about it: why would someone come to your website for a list of kids’ entertainment ideas when they can go to the experts on kids’ entertainment and find valuable content? Instead of having something for everything, stick to what your church does well, and do it the best. Here are three ways your church needs to think about communication as this COVID-19 crisis continues.
Centralize Your Communication
Right now, everything is digital. Your printed bulletin—at least for now—is a thing of the past. When you come back together again, you might want to continue focusing on digital materials. That means it’s essential to have a central place for information now. Have one place where everyone can access anything they need. That might look like a landing page on your website with links to everything your church is communicating right now. That could look like utilizing your church app better. That may mean having your regular email blast be a more critical piece of your communication strategy. What is the best way to get everyone access to the information they need? Make it easy. Make it accessible. Centralize the way you’re communicating.
Simplify Your Messaging
Not everything deserves advertising space. And not every announcement requires two paragraphs of text in every communication method. When you centralize your communication, that means everything else points directly back to this central place. The best practice is this: in your centralized hub, all the details should be available. Your other communication methods should have just the basics, with a link for more information, registration, or whatever is needed that links to that central place. Make it simple, bite-sized, and easy-to-skim so people can find what they need right now.
Make Your Communication Clear
Clarity is critical. Clarity beats creativity in messaging, and that is especially true right now when we’re all bombarded with information. Make your messaging incredibly clear. Don’t try to be extra cute and creative—that makes your communication cluttered, it takes more brainpower to comprehend, and that’s when you lose people. Instead, focus on clarity—stick to the essential information people need to know and make sure they know those details. Necessary information typically means ensuring you have the “5 W’s” (who, what, when, where, and why/how) and nothing more.
Now is the time to centralize, simplify, and clarify your communication. These three elements play a critical role in any church communications strategy. That means if you were missing a communications strategy before, it’s even more essential to develop now—and while it may seem like a daunting task, it’s a great time to create your church’s communication strategy.