Over the last several months we have been looking at ways of using the social web for church marketing. We’ve discussed:
- Video sharing
Now I’d like to move on to blogging. Blogging can be a very powerful way to engage members, attract visitors, and gain links (which helps with search engine marketing). It’s also a great way to add fresh, original content to your church website. So, what is a blog?
You’re Reading One
That’s right. You’re reading a blog right now. Short for “web log”, a blog is basically a website or section of a website where a person can post thoughts, articles, and media (graphics and video). Posts are typically added frequently (at least once a week) and are displayed in reverse chronological order. Sure you can do that on any web page, but what makes a blog unique and social is the “Comments” feature and the RSS feed.
- Comments: Once you post a blog article, visitors can leave comments which can facilitate online conversations. It’s important to keep up with the comments and respond so visitors know their comments matter and to allow for those blog conversations. If you are concerned about the comments, don’t be. You can control the level of freedom for visitor comments by allowing all comments to be posted, requiring that you approve comments, or not allowing comments at all. The more freedom you give visitors to comment the more comments you will get. So, I recommend allowing all comments to be posted immediately. You can always delete them after the fact. Also, just so your expectations are realistic. You should know that for the average blog, only 5% of readers will ever comment and most blogs don’t get a comment for several months. So, don’t be discouraged if you don’t get comments for a while.
- RSS: The RSS feed allows visitors to subscribe to your blog and automatically receive updates and notices of new posts. This is huge because instead of you having to rely on visitors to return to your blog to see new posts, the posts are delivered to them. This both shows them the new posts and reminds them to visit your website again.
Why Should Our Church Have A Blog?
People have a lot of questions and churches have a lot to say. Here are a few reasons your church may do well to have a blog (or multiple blogs):
- A blog is a way to address issues outside the format of a church service.
- It is a way to engage church members throughout the week.
- A blog also gives pastors a chance to become a “real person” in the eyes of the congregation instead of just a pastor. This is especially true for larger churches.
- A blog gives other church staff or church members a way to speak on various subjects.
- It is an opportunity to interact with members in a more casual setting on the topics of their choice.
- A blog can allow your church to comment on current issues both for the benefit of your members and your community.
A blog can be a fun and simple way to increase interaction between church staff and church members as well as providing fresh content for your church’s website. It doesn’t have to take a long time to maintain a blog either. An hour or two a week could allow you to post new messages and respond to comments.
Does your church have a blog? If so, share that blog with us.
Kurt Steinbrueck is a Deacon at his church and has been Director of Marketing Services with Ourchurch.Com for over 5 years providing Christian search engine optimization services including a service specific for church marketing, the Top Church Search Rankings service, a church search engine optimization service. Please contact Kurt at OurChurch.Com if you would be interested in getting better rankings for your church in the search engines.