Many believe a communicator is someone who can craft a story, engage an audience, and/or supply content with solutions to an audience with concerns. Well, they may do all of those things and more.
But I believe a real-effective church communicator knows what NOT to say!
Almost everyone knows how to be wordy and undisciplined with content. The standard of a professional communicator must be how they recognize that most people don’t have a lot of time so they want their content short, concise, and personalized. Edited (to show you care).
Examples? They seem to be everywhere in the church. Here are 4:
Redundancy. Whatever you’re working on, double check that there’s no repetition. The moment people identify duplication of content, they start ignoring or skipping. You establish their bad habit! Many wonder why you’re wasting their time repeating things. On your church website, Google will also lower search rankings if you have a lot of redundancy (on pages and between pages). Makes sense: they’re trying to deliver the best search results and with several similar areas Google is forced to choose between them. Stop wasting people’s time with redundancy. Say no more (after once)!
Announcements. Never bore your audience. It’s rare that a congregation will complain that your announcement time is too short (as long as they know your website has a great listing of events). How can you ensure people are paying attention? Tiering. Your Tier 1 events should be your “all-church” events. If you make an announcement that invites almost everyone to something, they’ll all listen. After that, you should say no more. Or maybe a few ministry specific events if you feel you have to. Oh, and only share who an event is for and the benefit of going. Then say no more — except that all details are on your website, in your bulletin, or on social media.
Web menus. When you go to a popular chain restaurant and you’re given a large, multi-page book they call a menu, it’s difficult to make a decision as you flip through all the choices. On your website, people want to quickly discover what they’re looking for! If your main menu has too many things, people get confused or overwhelmed. This includes the dropdown items under the main menu choices. The best amount? Around six. Then say no more. Imagine your web menus are like a 6-drawer filing cabinet. Ensure “all” your content can easily found if filed in (and limited to) those drawers. Your congregation will thank you.
Social posts. Twitter has it right. Most people who are browsing through social channels are not seeking a novel to read. That’s why Twitter limits the amount of characters you can post. I love the challenge of getting tips, news, or invitations edited so they feel like poetry as I comply with their small character count. Even when other social channels don’t dictate length, it’s best to write short posts with great visuals (they speak a thousand extra, unwritten, words) — and then say no more. Well, perhaps a comment or reply to spark engagement. But even then: short. And say no more.