Leaders of ministries are usually strong producers of regular messages.

The question today is whether messages delivered in a formal presentation constitute “content” as it relates to marketing. I don’t think a message to a defined group of “regulars” is the type of content useful for attracting new followers.

Would we consider the words spoken to a group of athletes during a pregame locker room speech to be content suitable for attracting an audience to the game? On some level, perhaps others would be interested in the speech but at a very low level of interest and usually because of curiosity rather a need to know. The locker room chat isn’t relevant to the game experience.

Content answers questions, provides solutions or offers a benefit.

If we post our latest sermon online, let’s not settle into a delusion that we are providing content. Certainly, it’s fine to post messages for the convenience of our members but will most sermons really be useful for attracting visitors? As a whole, I don’t think so.

Content is specific to the target audience. We may use social media to drive people to our website and hope that our message is compelling enough to gain a visitor. But ideally our website will deliver an experience similar to what a visitor would feel in the service.

Content delivers an experience, a feeling. The website doesn’t “feel” like a website. The content is delivered in a flow rather an unending series of web pages about programs, facilities and product descriptions. Visitors only want to know about your product when they know, like, and trust YOU.

How can your content create feelings? Tell stories. Don’t tell me about when and where your youth group meets until you tell me about how transformation is occurring in your youth program. Pictures are relevant in the context of a story. I frequently see brochures, flyers and websites filled with pictures but very little content. Pages of pictures don’t add much to the overall content.

Words matter. God’s Word is without pictures except for the images created in our own minds. Even when I watch great movies and television shows about the life of Jesus, I feel the images are far less moving than the pictures painted by the Holy Spirit as I read His Word.

Today’s exercise is to review all of your marketing material with a new eye. Does your content deliver a message of hope? Will my heart rate increase when I read about your mission? Are the stories you tell relevant to where your target audience lives their lives? Do you pose and answer the right questions?

Look again at your website and all of your communication tools. Does your content create an experience that delivers a feeling?

Content is king!

Dr. Steve Greene is the publisher and executive vice president–Media Group, Charisma Media. Sign up here for Dr. Greene’s leadership e-newsletter.

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