In today’s digital age, communication isn’t just about talking – it’s about connecting.
Think about it like this: Jesus adjusted how he talked based on who he was speaking to. When hanging out with his disciples, it was different from when he was talking to a big crowd or dealing with religious leaders. We do the same thing daily, chatting differently with our family, friends, co-workers and strangers.
So, here’s the question: why do we often talk the same way to everyone online and expect them all to understand?
Figuring out who you’re talking to online is a big deal, and here’s why: if you don’t have clarity on your audience, how do you know if what you’re doing is working?
You might spend considerable time and money creating content that doesn’t connect with the very people you want to reach.
Let’s break it down a bit. There are a few different groups most church leaders would consider reaching with their digital ministry:
Their Church Family: These people are already part of the church family, including those who only watch your online content. For them, you can relax the perfection a bit. They know you and will cut you some slack as long as you’re consistent.
People Looking for a Church: This group are seeking a new spiritual home. For them, quality is important. You need to impress them to keep their attention. Also, ensuring your content is friendly and welcoming to newcomers is vital here. Don’t be too “insular” in how you communicate.
The Explorers: These are the curious ones, maybe not really into church but open to Christian faith and new ideas. They’re often into cool and creative stuff, so your content needs to stand out and be different.
Let’s not worry too much about the “church hoppers,” the folks who jump around looking for the best online experience. They’re a different story.
Instead, let’s focus on those who want to engage and connect and find somewhere to do life.
As you can see from the above, depending on who you want to connect with, your game plan changes in three key areas: Quality, Content, and Platforms.
If you’re focused on your church family, your quality doesn’t need to be awesome (of course, it’s always better if it is). Consistency, though, is the crucial thing here. But if you’re after new folks, quality is essential when trying to get and keep their attention.
For your church family, keeping it local and familiar is fine. But if you’re trying to attract newcomers, ensure your content is open and friendly. And for the curious explorers, get creative and stand out.
Zoom, your website, YouTube, etc., are suitable for connecting with your church family. If you want new people, you need to use social media in all its forms to get the word out. And for the explorers, you need a different strategy altogether that includes an outbound marketing component.
Here’s the great thing, though: finding out and monitoring who’s watching your content is no longer a guessing game.
You’ve got tools at your disposal. Use Facebook or YouTube chat to ask questions.
Watch your metrics carefully – see when people tune in and drop out of your content. Ask for feedback from your audience. Keep track of who’s engaging with you.
Get to know your audience like you’d get to know a friend.
This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Starting by being crystal clear on WHO you want to reach helps you develop a strategy for how to reach them; This will then ensure your content hits the mark. Once you’ve done this, you may need to rethink your content to make it fit all your different audiences better. This, in turn, impacts the people you need around you and the technology to do it all.
In the following article, we’ll dive into the strategy component and then go through the other areas in subsequent articles.
Remember, just like Jesus didn’t talk the same way to everyone, you shouldn’t either.
Go ahead and find out who’s watching.
Is it the audience you want? If not, what do you need to change?
It’s all about reaching people where they’re at, just like Jesus did.
Now, it’s your turn to join the conversation:
Who do you think is the primary audience for your online content – your church community, newcomers searching for a spiritual home, or those curious about exploring faith in a new way?
Have you ever tried adjusting your content or approach based on your audience?
Share your experiences and insights with us!
Also, if you have not yet taken our Digital Ministry Assessment to gain insights into how you can be more effective in Digital Ministry, then do so today:
It will take around 10 minutes, and you will get a 22-page personalised report full of hints and tips that you can action to see improvements in your effectiveness.