Would you like to provide practical help and valuable ideas on topics like marriage, parenting, and faith to people in your community?
Would you like to create conversations with people and invite them to church in a natural way?
Would you like to build trust and leverage that influence to invite people to a church service or special event?
There is a strategy being used by countless businesses and non-profits right now. It’s relatively unused by churches, but the time is right.
It’s called content marketing and it really works.
The term “content marketing” might throw you for a loop, but let me give you some other metaphors and definitions.
- Content Marketing is like door-to-door evangelism. When you create valuable content and give it to people who ask for it, you’re taking the conversation right into their home.
- Content Marketing adds value to people where they want it. Imagine if people in your community searching for help raising their kids find a free video or practical guide from your church. When you provide helpful resources and ideas to people, they come to trust you. And you can turn that trust into a real invitation to church.
- Content Marketing is really digital outreach. Content marketing is a strategy businesses use to find new customers. But it’s a strategy you can use to reach people for Jesus and invite them to church.
Here’s the official definition from the Content Marketing Institute:
Content marketing is the marketing and business process for creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action. Let’s take a look at some of those key phrases.
- “Valuable, relevant and consistent content.” That sounds like something your church is already doing. Every week, you communicate God’s Word in a fresh way – you don’t think of that as content, but that’s exactly what it is. You’ve got Children’s ministry curriculum, student ministry messages, and content to help people follow Jesus.
- “A clearly defined audience.” If you’re trying to reach unchurched people in your community, then you’ve found your clearly defined audience.
- “Profitable customer action.” You’re not selling something, but you do want people to come to church and follow Jesus. I’d say that’s an important action. This strategy results in sales for other companies, but it could lead to more guests and eternal influence for your church.
You can create or repurpose content, put it out there where people can find it and engage with it, and ultimately start a conversation that ends in an invitation to visit a church service. That’s the power of content marketing.
Here are five steps to use content marketing in your church.
- Create valuable content. It could be a video, eBook, checklist or guide, but it’s something relevant and valuable to your community. If your church has something to say about marriage, parenting, finances, faith or life, then package that content into an easy-to consume format and offer it to people. It could be an eBook, video series, or guide.
- Make a webpage. Make a one-page website describing your giveaway and ask people to exchange their email address for your valuable content. When you put your content online, people can find it.
- Write some emails. Once people download your valuable content or digital giveaway, you can have the opportunity to deliver help and create conversations. You can write and schedule some emails that continue to add value. Make them personal and conversational and schedule them out over a period of time.
- Promote the webpage. Once you have a functional system, you can turn your attention to promoting your webpage. Church members can share the link with their friends, neighbors and co-workers. You can promote your giveaway just like you would promote a new series or special event. But you can also promote your content online through targeted marketing. Through platforms like Facebook, you can offer your giveaway to people who live in your community.
- Measure and adjust. Content Marketing is often more effective than traditional advertising because you can constantly measure effectiveness and adjust for better results. You can try a different giveaway, update the webpage or change the emails. Once you try the system, you can take everything you learn and try it again. It gets better with time and practice.
Think of content marketing like adding value to people in your community. These people might not go to your church, but if you help them in a real and practical way, you can earn the right to invite them to a service or a special event.
Learn more about this strategy from Church Fuel. It’s a step-by-step guide to getting started with this system. We also have a six-week, step-by-step course full of coaching, documents and guides to help you implement this in your church. Learn more here.