This is a guest post by Nick Taylor. Read more about how you can guest post on Christian Web Trends here.
OurChurch.Com aims to help churches across the country to live out their mission. Having a website is just the start; there are many things that you can still do to reach out to your visitors.
However, not all church leaders prioritize blogging as part of their marketing efforts for their church. Most of the time, church blogs serve as the church’s public bulletin board. You’ll often see them post about church announcements or important church events and happenings.
Blogging about your church isn’t bad at all, but church leaders should start thinking outside the box and use blogging as another marketing tool that can help deliver your message across the digital space.
Starting A Blog for your Church
First things first; does your church have a blog?
If you don’t have a blog yet, you can always set it up via your backend; you can ask for your developer’s help or have it set up yourself if you’re knowledgeable in setting up your platform. A word of caution: before you tinker with anything in the backend, it’s wise to backup all your data!
If you do have a blog, we recommend that you start brainstorming for content ideas. If you want some quick references on how to start, you can always write about your church — follow-ups on Sunday sermons, posts that encourage fruitful discussion, and the like.
After exhausting every possible topic about your church, you can widen the scope of topics that you cover in your blog through these 25 Blog Topics for your Church Blog.
Avoiding the Common Church Blogging Blunders
It’s certainly not easy to blog, but it’ll be easier for your church’s marketing team to avoid these simple mistakes when blogging:
- Blogging without your leader’s approval
Blogging shouldn’t be the marketing concern. Blogging shouldn’t solely be one’s responsibility at all. Whatever you post on your church blog will reflect on how your message will be understood. The church leaders should be involved in the whole content creation, editing, and publication process. These leaders are the ones who approve every work, making sure that it is aligned with the church’s message. Your church leaders oftentimes interact with the laity; they can help direct traffic to the blog.
Marketing and growing your church through blogging is a big investment. The leaders of the church should be involved all throughout to sync the church’s vision online and offline.
- Aimlessly blogging without a specific purpose
Now that you’ve started blogging, define where you want to lead the blog towards to. Do you want it to become an expert blog on the church’s service, or do you want to contain it as the information vehicle of your marketing campaign?
From that starting point, it can help you brainstorm the appropriate article topics that will be featured on the blog. It will help you define a roadmap of what you want goes on the blog, and what doesn’t. You can set multiple purposes; you can teach about ecumenism, you can share stories of how the Holy Spirit has touched the life in your community.
You need to set a specific purpose when you blog, otherwise you’ll spend a lot of time spinning your wheels. The good news is that there’s no one “correct” purpose for a church blog. You can blog to gain local search engine traffic. You can blog to teach your church. You can blog to share stories of what the Holy Spirit is doing in your community.
Blog for the sake of promoting the good news of the Lord, and not just to populate it with nonsense posts that will not earn the engagement you are hoping for.
- Sunday blogging habit.
While it is understandable that most of the church activities are done on a Sunday, it doesn’t mean that you should only publish blogs every Sunday, too. Make it a point to set a content calendar for your blog. Curata has curated an ultimate list of content calendar templates that you can use.
You can share this template across the marketing team through Google Spreadsheets; it’s easy to understand too. If you have Google Analytics installed on your site, you can actually figure out the frequency of visitors to your website. You can align your publication dates throughout the month. We suggest that instead of retaining the Sunday habit, it’s time to spread your awesome content throughout the week. Mondays are great for motivational posts, and Fridays are great for that much-needed easing into the weekend. With that, you won’t certainly run out of ideas to share on your blog!
- Blogging about the little things that don’t matter.
While you can post announcements on your blog whenever necessary, it is suggested that you shouldn’t treat the blog like a bulletin board. There are matters that are too personal; those attending your congregation may find it unprofessional if there are matters brought to the blog that shouldn’t be. The blog is the church’s property after all.
For internal announcements, it would be more convenient to use your office’s bulletin board or set up an email newsletter that will cover this concern. If you have anything to announce that concerns a bigger audience, your blog is the best avenue to disseminate this information. Again, if you have quite a following, social media and email can be used for these announcements. It’s easier to share and it taps the concerned party right away.
- Infrequent, short posts
Or even no recent update at all. Blogging is a commitment. Blogging is a vital tool on the Internet to get those people to know that your church is still offering service. You shouldn’t just publish on every occasion; you should update your blog on a frequent basis. The very least that you can do is schedule a post once every week. That would still be a good indicator that your site is still active.
Again, we suggest that you follow a content calendar for your blog to avoid confusion. The frequency of posts depends on you. Blogging does not only help in reaching out to your visitors, but it can also help with your website’s SEO.
Speaking of SEO, we recommend that your content should be at a minimum of 500 words. We suggest creating pillar content; long-form content that discusses an evergreen topic. This usually goes for around 2000-4000 words. Neil Patel has a good blog post on long-form content that delivers proof on how valuable it is for a longer duration.
- Trying to Join the Hype
Riding the bandwagon isn’t exactly the best thing for church blogs. It’s fairly expensive to overload your hosting with traffic, you have to manage your online reputation by answering comments, and it’s a short-term gain. Once the hype dies, so does the traffic of your blog, too.
What we recommend is investing your time, energy, and resources on evergreen content. An evergreen content can stand the test of time. You are blogging to reel in the audience to follow your blog, to join your cause. If you create a content that is relevant anytime and any day, that would be a consistent source of traffic for your blog. Focus on helping your audience instead of investing in short-term gains.
- No Definite “Call to Action”
As we mentioned, blogging is a consistent, long-term investment. Aside from creating awesome posts, you should lead your audience to certain actions that will be beneficial to your site and your church. Don’t let the engagement end after they get information from your blog. Incorporate a call-to-action on your blog — or if you own a WordPress blog, you can add a call-to-action plugin instead as a standard within your blog posts or any page you specify.
Consider a call to action as the “next step” that you must take after doing a prior action. In this case, after reading your blog, you should suggest the user to sign up for your email newsletter, to attend the church’s events, or simply to go to church on Sunday with a friend. At the end of the day, the main goal is to increase awareness to your church and increase attendance to your ministry.
We hope that this quick guide on how to start blogging will help you get your church’s blog on track. These are just the common mistakes that you should avoid in order to get the most out of your blog.
Let us know more of any mistakes that you’ve encountered in the comments section!