Send your burning questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Bart Blair: [00:00:07] This is season four, episode eight of the Missional Marketing Podcast, the 132nd time that Jason Hamrock and I have put together content for you to help your church grow by leveraging digital marketing and effective communications. All right, there’s all the preamble, Jason Hamrock my co-podcast…why do I always say that? I struggle with that so much, my co-host. Why can’t I just say co-host? I always want to say co-podcasting partner, I don’t know why, it’s so much more difficult to say. Jason, thanks for being on Zoom with me today.
Jason Hamrock: [00:00:39] Glad to be here Bart, I’m excited for our episode today because we get to dive back into one of my favorite things which is burning questions.
Bart Blair: [00:00:47] Burning questions. Thanks. If you’re new to the show, you might not know that this is a new thing to the show. This is the second time that Jason and I are taking listener and Facebook group people questions and just answering some questions related to digital marketing, communications, staffing, like, you name it, we’ve got a whole list of questions here. And for those of you who are sending in questions, keep it up, you can send any of your burning questions directly to me at my email address, it’s BBlair@MissionalMarketing.com. Just put in the subject line that it’s a question for the podcast, or that it’s a burning question. Otherwise, I might literally just reply to your email and answer your question because, well, that’s what I do. Jason convinced me a couple of years ago that I needed to have a zero inbox policy. I don’t know how many of you do that. Do you still do that Jason, are you pretty good?
Jason Hamrock: [00:01:37] Yeah, it crawls up. You know, I’m kind of busy these days, but I try to keep it as low as possible.
Bart Blair: [00:01:43] Yeah. So, you know, Jason has trained me. You get an email, you respond to it, you file it, you move on. So if you send me an email with a question in it, I might just answer your question, file it, and then move on. But if you indicate that it’s for the podcast, we’ll add it to our list of questions here. And maybe, maybe, just maybe, we’ll answer your question on one of our upcoming episodes. Well, we’re going to answer at least one question that’s come from a listener recently, and we’ve got a whole bunch of other questions that have come from church Communications Facebook group, and our some of our team and some of the the church comms folks that they’re working with. And we’re going to answer some of those questions.
Bart Blair: [00:02:19] Jason, before we get into our first burning question, is there anything that you want to add? Do you want to preface this with anything?
Jason Hamrock: [00:02:26] No, but, you know, no, I just if you’ve got something on your mind and you want us to speak into it, please don’t be shy, because we love talking about this stuff. And I’ll tell you what, if you try and stumble us, we can probably go do some research on our end, but this is literally off the top of our head. So I have no idea what Bart’s going to ask me, and he doesn’t have any idea what I’m going to ask him. I literally have an Excel sheet of questions, I’m just going to pick one and go. So it is literally off the top of our heads.
Bart Blair: [00:02:58] Yeah, I mean, we could end up renaming these episodes, Stump the Chumps. Because we’ve got a couple of chumps here, so you could ask us some questions and stump us. Stump the Chumps. Okay, well, let’s get on with it. Let’s get into the content. The last time you lost the coin toss, so I asked you the first question, and well, because you’re still the CEO of Missional Marketing, I’m still going to ask you the first question. So you get you get to answer the first question here. Are you ready?
Jason Hamrock: [00:03:28] Yep.
Bart Blair: [00:03:29] Okay, all right, what tools should I use to organize communication requests at my church? What tools should I use to organize communication requests at my church?
Jason Hamrock: [00:03:40] Yeah. So I think there’s a lot of different tools that I know of that are really effective. And regardless of the tool you use, I think it’s really, really, really important that you hold the line that everybody uses this same tool in the same form and the same procedure in the same way because you’ve got to kind of train your peers, the people you’re working with. Well, but, you know, if you have a project management system like Asana or Monday or Basecamp, you know, you can create forms in there where you’re requiring them to fill out all the detailed information as much as they possibly can, and submit that to you.
Jason Hamrock: [00:04:26] Now, to me, that’s super important. Here’s what I’d like to do, and this is what I’d like to coach churches on, it’s not as if you have to have them do it at a certain time point if they know they’ve got an event coming up next July and here we are in September, ask them to fill it out. Right? The sooner the better. You’re going to get as many details as you possibly can so that you can go back and have a conversation with the ministry to answer more questions that they maybe didn’t quite fill out all the way or to make sure you totally understand. But I think it’s really, really important to have a very exhaustive list of questions, and forms for them to fill out. And using those tools like Asana, you know, I think that’s probably one…it’s our project management system we use at Missional marketing is Asana. A lot of churches use it, it’s very powerful, but there’s a lot of great ones as well, like Monday and, you know, Basecamp, and whatnot. But I think it’s important that if you have that system, you have that strategy in place, you have to make sure they follow through. You can’t have what I call hallway conversations, right? I can’t just pop in here, hey, I forgot to fill this out, but can you make sure we…No, you can’t, sorry, please go fill out the form, Get your staff, even your leadership in the habit of filling that out.
Jason Hamrock: [00:05:47] The last thing on that, I literally was on a call today with a lead pastor who was talking to us about maybe some help we could provide them for some communications. And I go, what’s your project management system? He goes, we don’t have one. And he goes, I’m probably the biggest fault in it. I’m like, well, Pastor, that’s not going to…If you don’t have that in place, you’re just asking for trouble down the road. He’s like, I know. I go especially next year when you do the same event, but you don’t have any follow-up of what took place, it’s not going to help you in the long run. So super important and a great question.
Bart Blair: [00:06:22] Yeah. Let me give you my condensed version of that. Everything that you said is right on the money. You know, my tools of preference, I’ll just share my tools of preference. I’m a big fan of Jotform, I love Jotform. If you’re using Asana, you can create forms in Asana. You can also API from JotForm into Asana, I think. I like Asana, I’ve used Basecamp, I’ve used Asana, and I’ve used a few other different project management softwares. I’m visual and I like the fact that in Asana you can create a very visual tracking form to track projects. You know, the honest truth is the two most important things are that you have a mechanism for collecting the information that you need on those requests and that you have a way of tracking yourself. So you could literally just use a Google form and use Google Sheets to track the projects. But you hit the nail on the head when you said you have to get everybody in the church using the form, everybody on the staff.
Bart Blair: [00:07:26] I’m going to give a shout-out to Jacob at Tabernacle Church in Ennis, Texas, because when he took on his role in church communications, he wanted to really, really emphasize that everyone needed to be using the form, the same form all the time. So he created a form, and then he created a QR code to go with it, and he printed this giant QR code and hung it to his office door so that everyone always has access to the form. Just walk to his door and scan the QR code, I think in their staff meetings, you know, he always includes a copy of the form or the copy of the QR code in their notes when they’re doing their staff meetings. He keeps that QR code in front of everyone so that, you know, everyone knows what the form is and there’s no excuse. Somebody says, well, I couldn’t find the form. Oh no, the QR code is, you know, 15in by 15in on his office door, you can’t miss it. So there I’ll leave that at that. I think that it was very clever, and I thought it was very clever when he did that. But you’re right on, everybody, it has to start from leadership at the top and you know, and get everybody on board to be able to do that. So hopefully those answers are helpful.
Jason Hamrock: [00:08:37] All right. Let’s move on. My turn to ask you. Here we go.
Bart Blair: [00:08:40] Okay.
Jason Hamrock: [00:08:41] Okay, all the churches in our city are doing all the things to point people to their church. So our church is number eight plus on the list, how do we move up?
Bart Blair: [00:08:58] So I assume what we’re talking about here is local SEO, local search engine optimization.
Jason Hamrock: [00:09:04] We probably should explain what that is.
Bart Blair: [00:09:05] Yeah, Yeah. So a quick rundown. People get online and they Google church near me or churches near me or church in my city, and you get a list of churches. You get a local pack, which would be the top three, and maybe you get some ads. If you’re in maps, you get think 20 on the first page. And so this church is saying that all the churches are doing all the things to point people to their church, your church is number eight on the list. A couple of quick things that are pretty relevant and that will move the needle quickly.
Bart Blair: [00:09:37] Number one is you need to make sure that you have local schema markup on your website. Google it if you don’t know what it means, if you don’t know how to spell it, just try local schema markup. There is code that needs to go into your website so that the search engines can actually find your address and they know physically where you are.
Bart Blair: [00:09:56] The second thing I’m going to camp out on this for just a second, and then I’ll let you, you know, jump in what you think. Being an active user in your Google Business Profile will never fail you at getting more clicks to your church website. And I think over time, being active in your Google Business Profile will probably help with your local search rankings. Let’s face it, there are a few things you can’t control. You can’t control how close a person is to your campus when they’re searching. You can’t control how many churches there are in your area. You can’t control what the other churches are doing. But you have control of your Google Business Profile, so you need to be using it, you need to be creating events, you need to be updating photos, you need to be posting in it, updates, soliciting reviews, responding to those reviews, and anything and everything that you can do to use that Google Business Profile, squeeze it for all the juice that it’s worth because I think Google will reward you with better search rankings as a result of using the tool that it’s created that it wants you to use. I’ll stop there and let you jump in.
Jason Hamrock: [00:10:59] Well, I’ve always said when you’re trying to get reviews and you’re responding to reviews and photos, and by the way, videos, and sermon snippets, you can add up to 30s of video on your Google Business Profile. Google’s watching, right? And not only is that best practice because Google’s watching, but people are watching so they can see what you’re doing there too, that’s maybe the difference for them going, I want to learn more, and clicking on the website. Right? So what Bart just said was really good, Google Business Profile. The other side of that would be, this is probably something you might have to ask us to help you with, and that is understanding your directory listings. Do you want to go into that one, or do you want me to take it?
Bart Blair: [00:11:41] Go ahead. Go ahead and jump into that.
Jason Hamrock: [00:11:43] So this is all about, so when we say local SEO, there are two types of SEO. There is on page SEO, that has to do with your website. And local SEO, local SEO is another word for brick and mortar, brick and mortar optimization. It’s your physical presence, it’s your physical location inside of where you are and inside of Google. So Google only knows if you’re in the right spot and open for business based on your Google Business Profile and all the other different directory listings that you have at your church. Another word for directory listings is citations. So things like Facebook and Bing and Yelp and Yellow Pages and Dax and the list goes on and on and on, there are tons of directory listings. So Google here in nanoseconds is figuring out, okay, somebody just typed in churches near me, let’s give them a list of churches, because that’s the keyword, you’re not going to find a hardware store in that listing, you’re going to find churches. Well, Google is quickly looking to see are these churches, these businesses, open for business in the right spot. Well, how do they verify? Well, they verify by looking at all the different directory listings that this one business is associated with. So, for example, if you’ve changed your name, you might have a whole bunch of errors and Google is not sure if you’re open or not. Right? Or you moved locations. You know, I literally have a church who’s opening a new worship center across the street, that’s a different address, it’s a new address. So you have to make sure all that stuff is accurate if you want to climb up the rankings. That’s just that’s just one part of it, if you want to climb up the rankings, you got to do that work. But as you said, we could go on forever on this one, but that is probably enough.
Bart Blair: [00:13:33] Yeah, we actually have some other videos on our YouTube channel that talk about local SEO. So if you go to our YouTube page and just search local SEO, you’ll find some other videos. And we have a number of blog posts on our website as well, MissionalMarketing.com you can go to the blogs, search for local SEO articles, and you can get more information about that. But, you know, straightforward, simple, roll up your sleeves, use your Google Business Profile. It won’t get you into number one, but it’ll actually improve your rankings. So, all right, did you just ask me that question?
Jason Hamrock: [00:14:08] I did.
Bart Blair: [00:14:08] You just asked me that question, so I’m asking you a question now. Okay, here we go. Here’s the second round, this is a second round, round two. Jason, this is a softball for you, what are the best website platforms for churches?
Jason Hamrock: [00:14:24] No, that’s a great question. And it kind of depends on the size of the church you’re at. And, you know, are you a church plant? Do you have 50 people or 5000 people? So I could probably break it down because I think obviously the amount of talent you have around you would impact my answer. But I’m just going to tell you the best, hands down easily the best, platform out there is WordPress, and it doesn’t really have a second in my opinion. Here’s why. WordPress, it’s the largest platform of websites around the world. So it’s open source, you download WordPress, you can buy a theme, they’re like 80 bucks, then you can go build. It’s incredibly secure. It’s super user-friendly. SEO is perfect for WordPress, and there are a lot of great themes that make it user-friendly for you to edit your website. So I mean, my default answer is WordPress. If a church is asking me, Jason, we’re thinking about rebuilding our website, what would you recommend? WordPress, You know, the only difference I’d say is if you’re running Rock as a church management system, you should run a Rock website that you should build your website inside of Rock. If you’re a smaller church and you’re using Planning Center or CCB, there are a lot of third-party website platforms that you could jump into. Squarespace is probably another one that’s really, really popular. I’d probably stay away from Wix, I see a lot of church websites on Wix, just not very…
Bart Blair: [00:16:06] You might get some emails about that one. We’re not disparaging Wix.
Jason Hamrock: [00:16:11] Well, it’s just not… there are definitely better ones that you can that you can jump into that’s going to be more, you know, more powerful for you. But, you know, Squarespace isn’t bad for sure. Then you’ve got your third party, you know, like I’m thinking of Ecclesia or Clover or some of those different websites that they bounce in and out. It seems like they’ve been bought out some. so I don’t keep track of the names of them. But you know they’re not bad out of the box you literally plug and play, and for a smaller church that’s a really good solution. You pay like 20 bucks or 40 or 50 bucks a month and you got yourself a decent website, and if you’re small and that’s what you can handle, awesome. So platform-wise, though, I’d say WordPress.
Jason Hamrock: [00:16:59] A whole nother conversation about the purpose of your website and the focus of your website, that’s a different conversation, but as far as platforms are concerned, WordPress is number one in my mind.
Bart Blair: [00:17:12] Okay, do get some time with that. Okay, I agree, WordPress would definitely be…WordPress would be where you want to be. Everything else I think is a distant second. I will say that there are a number of companies, and again, I’m not 100% sure who’s still around and who’s not. I do know, and I’m not going to name names, but I’ll just be, I’m just going to say this. I would never build, I’m a church planter, and I’m a pastor, I would never build a website with a platform that is run by a company that designs and develops software applications and websites for churches if that’s what they do, and you can figure out who those people are. Because there are a lot of companies that have started with one particular thing that they do, and as they have grown their menu of services and offerings to churches, they just add websites, and there’s a handful of them out there. And the honest truth is they’re just not great, most of them really, really lack in SEO and that’s really where they tend to struggle the most. As a church planter, we’re planting a church right now, we have built our first website on Squarespace. We chose Squarespace because it’s inexpensive and we can get a website up with pretty decent SEO capability in a matter of a couple of hours. When we get ready, we’re in pre-launch and we’ll use this website, this Squarespace website, as long as we’re in pre-launch. When we get ready to actually launch, and we’re going to build out our full website with all of our ministries and sermons and everything, we’ll then build a WordPress website, that will be our long-term platform. I kind of think of Squarespace as sort of like the mobile home we’re living in before we build the permanent home, that’s kind of the way that I look at it. And I would say this, you kind of knock Wix a little bit. I will give this to Wix, I think they recognize that they’re behind Squarespace in a lot of areas, and what I’ve seen with Wix is they’ve done a lot in the last couple of years to improve some of the SEO capability and some of the other things that they do because Squarespace is their primary competition and they’ve got to keep up with Squarespace. And I think Squarespace does a pretty decent job.
Jason Hamrock: [00:19:30] Let me do one more follow-up, then I’ll ask you a question. Also, I would say this, don’t be shocked, that’s probably not the word, WordPress is open source and AI is growing like crazy. And I’ll tell you right now, Katie Allred, who’s, you know, we’re business partners with Katie, right? Katie, just today, Slacked me and she said, check out this amazing tool. And she literally built a church website in like five minutes using AI, she had a look at the current website of the current church, and it spun out, it built the pages and everything in about five minutes. Now you have to go back in there and swap out images and edit the content, but it was shockingly sharp. I’m like, whoa. So I’m just saying, hey, you know, maybe that’ll happen with those other platforms like Squarespace and Wix. Can AI play a part in building your church website? Yes. To what extent? I don’t know, but it’s growing every day, and it’s getting better and better.
Bart Blair: [00:20:38] That is very interesting. All right, what question have you got for me?
Jason Hamrock: [00:20:41] Okay. Oh, boy, I love this question. How can we get more views of our YouTube videos, basically our sermons? Bart?
Bart Blair: [00:20:52] Oh, man. I have actually had that conversation with three different comms directors in three different churches in the last three days. Love this question. Most people, when they set up their YouTube channel and start posting their sermon videos to their YouTube channel, they’re thinking of YouTube as being a video player platform. YouTube is not a video player platform, it is a search engine. And you need to think about posting your videos on YouTube in a way that allows the search engine to actually find them. Okay? So when you’re creating a video, there’s a reason why there’s a section where you fill out the details about your video, YouTube gives you 5,000 characters. I typically go in and I’ll do an audit on a church’s YouTube channel, and they’ll write two sentences, and include the date that the sermon is preached. For starters, I would say this if at all possible, leave dates off, or at least go back and edit dates out a few weeks after you’ve posted it. Because when you date your content, I think it prevents it from being evergreen. And so don’t know about you, but if I’m looking for a video on something and I see four videos, I’m often looking for the most recent one posted. So if somebody posted something two weeks ago and this one’s clearly dated 2020 or 2021, I’m probably not going to watch it, I’m going to go for something that’s newer. I don’t know what it is, but I think that that’s true for a lot of people. So think about posting your videos and use the search engine concept. So writing out really detailed descriptions, creating titles for your videos that are maybe not necessarily the sermon title, but an answer to a question that you think someone searching would be asking.
Bart Blair: [00:22:54] Okay, this is another common thing, our pastor was really creative and he came up with a sermon title and that’s what we put in the title of the video. But why don’t you call the title of the video something that actually explains what’s in the video? Here’s an example, I’ve shared this in another video on our YouTube channel, I preached a sermon series a number of years ago called Seeing Through the Fog. Any idea what it was about? Of course, you don’t, but it was very creative. But I did 3 or 4 weeks on what the Bible teaches about grief, what the Bible teaches about depression, what the Bible teaches about anxiety, and what the Bible teaches about fear. And when I posted those videos, those weren’t the names of the sermons, it was Seeing Through the Fog week one, Seeing Through the Fog week two, and Seeing Through the Fog week three. When I posted those videos on my YouTube channel, I did not call it Seeing Through the Fog week one, I called it, What the Bible Teaches about Anxiety. And then I went and I wrote a description that included some of the scriptures and some things that would, you know, help both the search engine as well as the searcher, know what the content is.
Bart Blair: [00:23:59] Here’s another thing that you can do. You can actually, there are some tools that you can use, some plug-ins and you can kind of look at the code behind the scenes. You can find other videos on YouTube that are on the same content topic that yours is, pick videos that have a high view count, a hundred thousand views, a million views, and look and see what their tags are, their keywords and use all of the same tags and keywords that are relevant to your video, that are relevant to their video. Because what that does is that gives YouTube an incentive to show your video to other people who are watching similar content. And those are what we call suggested views, when someone’s watching a YouTube video, we’ve all done this, right? You get to the end of the video and YouTube says you might also like these. Well, why would YouTube know that? Well, it’s using the keywords or the tags that I’ve posted in that video. The last thing I’ll say is thumbnails. You need to have great thumbnails for your videos because thumbnails, just like an ad, entice a click. And if you don’t have a great attractive thumbnail for your video, you’re not likely to get a click. I’ll say this even about our own YouTube videos for our podcast. We’ve experimented with a lot of different things in our thumbnails and it wasn’t until this season that we started actually changing up the way that we’re doing the thumbnails on like every single episode, it’s actually improved our clickthrough rate a lot on our videos because we’ve been experimenting trying to find that right formula for the best thumbnails. So could talk for hours about YouTube, I won’t, but let me stop. What do you want to add anything?
Jason Hamrock: [00:25:38] That’s so good, especially when you’re ripping off what other people have done by grabbing their keywords and whatnot. Genius, like, come on, that’s not hard.
Bart Blair: [00:25:48] Now, now, now, let me explain, don’t go and put Steven Furtick in your keywords if your church is not Elevation Church, don’t do that. Like, that’s just wrong. But hey, you know what? If Steven Furtick has a video that has a million views and it’s on a similar topic that yours is, you can look and see what the keywords are. Actually, churches like Elevation, they don’t even really, I’ve looked, and I don’t think they even bother with putting legit keywords on what the videos are about, they just put Elevation Church, and Steven Furtick, and that sort of stuff.
Jason Hamrock: [00:26:17] Your point is very well taken because I mean, that’s just, you know, just learn people like just let that seep in. I’ll tell you one last thing, is just go to our YouTube channel, Missional Marketing’s YouTube channel, Bart did a video on this like how to optimize your sermons, there are 4, 5, 6, or 7 steps to optimizing your sermons. Watch that video, and maybe you need to do an update with some of this newer thinking, you could probably update that video.
Bart Blair: [00:26:46] Well, I’m actually using, I’m using AI tools to help write my descriptions for the videos and to select the keywords as well. I’ve been using a tool called Claude.ai, that is one that David Thorne from our team turned me on to Claude.ai. Claude, like the French name Claude.ai. I will link to that in the show notes, and I’ve been using that because you can copy and paste your video transcript into it and ask it to write a 500-word summary and use that as the descriptor in the YouTube video.
Jason Hamrock: [00:27:19] So yeah, it’s nuts. So if you’re on your YouTube channel and you’re watching a video, there are three little dots down the right right corner, click on that. And I think it says like show the transcript or something like that, Youtube will give you the transcript.
Bart Blair: [00:27:33] Yeah.
Jason Hamrock: [00:27:34] Just copy that, add it to Claude, and say write a 1500-word blog post on this sermon, and then some follow-up questions, like write some social media posts, write some small group questions, right? Amazing. And it’s really, really good. Sorry.
Bart Blair: [00:27:52] That was not a burning question, it was good, we’ll do another episode on AI tools. And oh, by the way, if you haven’t checked out the AI for Churches podcast, make sure that you do that. A plug for the other Missional Marketing podcast we have for churches.
Bart Blair: [00:27:53] Okay, you just asked me that question, I get to ask you a question. Okay, are you ready? How do I get my pastor to understand the importance of communications, investing in staffing and budget, and giving the communications director a seat at the decision table?
Jason Hamrock: [00:28:21] Wow. How do I get my pastor to understand the importance of communications, investing in staffing and budget, and giving the comms director a seat at the decision table? Wow, that’s a great question. Okay, so let’s assume that your pastor doesn’t understand the importance of communications, and there are probably a bunch of different reasons for that. You know, if I was in that situation, I would approach your pastor with a conversation to sit down to say, hey, Pastor, I want to learn from you on what you think is really important, on how we should communicate. What does that look like? And, you know, let him or her talk and open up about where they are with their level of engagement. And maybe you’ve had that conversation and you’re like, I’m getting nothing from this conversation. That’s a tough one because I think it’s so critically important that you have a communications plan and that you buy in from the leadership.
Jason Hamrock: [00:29:27] So one of the things that, like, I was at that position when I started at the church I worked at, I pioneered the communications department. Now, it was supported by the lead pastor because I don’t think I would have been hired if it wasn’t, right? So I knew there was some buy-in obviously from the leadership level, but I wasn’t from day one on the leadership team, I had to earn it. I had to think through and put together strategy and plans, and I just started rolling up my sleeves and getting to work. Now, this is a long time ago, we didn’t have the same kind of technology. We didn’t have a Facebook group of church communications where there are 33,000 plus where I could ask a question. We didn’t have people doing burning questions podcasts, so I had to just figure out how can I help the ministries be better at communicating. But I learned quickly that there was a pecking order, and I went to the leadership team and said, here’s how I, as Jason doing this job, can best support you, and this is my pecking order. And I always just put, my pastor was my number one, he was my number one client, so to speak. Right? And the weekend worship was number two. And then from there on, it kind of just like fell into place. Kids are pretty important, students, you know, that kind of stuff. But I put together plans to say this is how I can best support our church moving communications forward. So why I say that is this, if I were you and I’m in this position where you feel like you’re not getting supported, roll up your sleeves and put together a game plan, right? And if you don’t know what to do, go to church communications, join the Facebook group, and ask, you’ll get a lot of people that will help you. But then I’d walk into, and I’d ask for a meeting with my leadership, my boss, or the lead pastor, maybe that’s the same person. And say, I have some questions for you and you may not be able to answer those today, but I’d like you to think about this because I want to excel at what I’m doing here to serve you and serve the church and be a good steward of the salary that I get, and be a good steward of the tools that we have, to further the kingdom here. So, Pastor, what’s your view on how I should do my job? How do you value communication? I would ask those questions, right? I’d write them all down, and I’d ask them all. And if you get to a point where he’s like or she’s like, well, what do you think? I mean if they turn the tables, we’ll you tell me? Well, I got a plan. Oh, you got a plan? I’ve got a plan. Don’t go empty-handed, go prepared that you’re serious about your job of doing church communications and moving that ball down the field, and take that initiative. That’s probably my 30,000-foot view, right off the top of my head answer to how do I get to the table? You earn it, you don’t ask for it. You’re entitled to nothing, you’ve earned nothing. And don’t ever you know, it’s a whole scenario, don’t feel like I need to be first at the table, you’ll be last. If you want to have a seat at the table, act and do accordingly like you are last, you serve up. I’m here to serve you, and when you have that kind of posture that gets seen. Of course, we know this, right? This is what Jesus taught, right? So don’t feel like, well, I’m the comm director, I deserve it. No, you don’t, just do your job and earn it, and it will get recognized, hopefully.
Bart Blair: [00:32:57] Yeah, there’s so much, you know, when I get a question like this from a church, my natural instinct is to think that there are maybe some competing values and some values that maybe are not aligned. And so I think it’s really important, you know if you’re reporting directly to the senior pastor, you know, at the end of the day, the senior pastor is the visionary leader driving and the architect of the culture in your church, and you’re going to have to probably align your values with his or her values as the primary leader. If you report to an executive pastor or an administrative pastor or someone else who isn’t necessarily the one creating and driving the culture, I think it’s good to go into those types of conversations that you said there, Jason, and say, you know, help me understand what success in my role or with communications looks like to you.
Bart Blair: [00:33:51] Now on a very practical level, I would say this, if you have ever heard Jason or me or someone on our team share the three rings of communication, this to me is the best thing that you can have in your back pocket. So if I was coming to Jason, if Jason was my pastor and I’m an administrative person or a comms person or a person who is, you know, completely out of the comms world, but I’m responsible for comms, or whatever. I’d say, Pastor Jason, I want to share something with you that I’ve learned that I think is really important. There are three groups of people that we’re responsible for communicating to. Ring one, these are our people, these are the people that attend Missional Church. And God’s brought them to our family, we’ve got their names, their phone numbers, their email addresses, and we have to make sure that we have a good, effective communication strategy to communicate to those ring one people. Then ring two, the people outside of that group, they are the people in our community who are actively looking for a church and think that we have a responsibility to figure out how we can intersect with those people in the best way possible because we’ve got something great going on here, and we want to share that with those people. And then, Pastor Jason, there are a whole lot of other people out in the community who aren’t necessarily actively looking for a church, this is ring three, those people have some felt needs and some issues and some struggles, and we have some great ministries that could actually help them overcome some of those. And so the pain point that I have as a communications director or communications person in the church is understanding how you want me to prioritize those three rings and the way that we’re communicating to those three rings so that we can together decide how to allocate time and human resources and financial resources to communicating to those three groups. So can we work together to come up with a strategy that you are helping me define, but then that I can go and execute on? That’s what I would do, and I don’t know, do I get the job, Jason, would you hire me?
Jason Hamrock: [00:35:47] Yeah. That’s really strong, I mean, you went in there equipped with something, and you thought through it. The only other advice, and then we can move on is to surround yourself with people who are going to encourage you. You know, talk to somebody about like, how should I do this? And go to another ministry, somebody else that you not only would cherish their information, like you trust them, there’s somebody that would give you good advice on how you should approach this. But I think that’s another thing I’d probably do is get some good coaching, or find a peer that would that would speak into it for me.
Bart Blair: [00:36:27] Okay, do we have time for one more question? Do you still have one more? This is the last one for round three for me, I think, isn’t it?
Jason Hamrock: [00:36:32] Yeah, so here it goes. Here it goes. Here it goes. Same vein as the pastor. Okay, my pastor still wants to print postcards and promo materials. Right? Is this a good use of our money? You know, printed materials?
Bart Blair: [00:36:46] Yes, but…all right. Yeah, I have no problem with printed material as long as number one, we understand how to calculate a return on that investment, we understand the limitations of printed materials, and we use those printed materials in the right place and at the right time. So here, here’s an example. Again, we’re planting a church, a small group of people who are part of my church planting team, we recently went and served at a back-to-school event in our community, and we actually printed some postcards to use to promote our church and to do a survey. Now we only printed what we thought we needed for that particular event because we were only handing them out, we were not mailing them out. So in that particular case, printing those postcards made a lot of sense. When we go to actually launch, we will probably do some mailers, but we’re going to actually prioritize digital a whole lot more over printing, and the reason we’re going to do that is simply because you can scale it, you can scale a whole lot more digitally, you can reach more people in a shorter period of time. You can better track whether or not people are seeing your ads and clicking on your ads. From a cost-efficiency standpoint, there’s just no comparison. You know, digital to print, print is very expensive. But you know what? I think that depending on what you’re promoting, and when you’re promoting it, I think that there is a time and place for mailing. But I would not say mailing is an instead of digital, I would say mailing is, today, a supplement to digital. It needs to be on top of what you’ve committed to digital, not replacing what you’re doing in digital. Any thoughts on that, Jason?
Jason Hamrock: [00:38:31] Yeah, I’m still a fan of traditional methods of advertising, they still work, and there’s a reason why those traditional methods still generate millions and if not billions of dollars of revenue, because they work, like billboards work, radio and TV can work, and direct mail pieces work. But you have to be able to track it. So if I only had so much money, I’m certainly, first of all, I’m certainly focused on our congregation. If you have a congregation, your church is a little bit different. If you have a congregation, they’re the best people to, you know, invite, reach, bring their friends, family, coworkers, enemies, mother-in-law, everybody. Right? Your own people. But I think second after that would be a digital way of connecting with people because it’s all trackable and it’s a lead generator, I can actually capture names, emails, and cell phone numbers off of those digital paths that you can’t do it with a direct mail piece. And you’re kidding yourself if you think I’ll put a QR code and will track it, you might cry at the end of the campaign because you’re like, yeah, we have this QR code and we sent 50,000, you know, postcards out to lots of homes and we had like 12 people that scanned it in, right? I mean, it is not the best. I still think it’s great, but it’s that old adage of multiple touch points are what’s really needed in order for marketing to kind of work. And so, yeah, it’s like, you know, your own people, digital, maybe some direct. I am a fan of new homeowner direct mail pieces, like, buy that list of new homeowners. You’re very targeted, it’s only it’s a smaller list, so the postage is less and the printing is less. And once a quarter, maybe you send out 2 or 3 direct mail pieces to those people who bought a new home. So I kind of like that strategy, it’s a different approach, but that’s about it.
Bart Blair: [00:40:19] Yeah, that’s much more targeted and less just of a shotgun blast. So, you know, I agree with that. And just to piggyback on something you were saying there, is that your own people are the best source for connecting with people outside the church that don’t yet attend the church, and one of the ways that you can equip the people in your church is by printing great quality material that they can use as personal invitations. So, you know, in my last church that I was pastoring, we printed postcards for everything that we did. We printed enough to distribute to our church family, and I stood on the stage and said, hey, when you came in today, you got the postcard for this thing that we have coming up. I didn’t print this postcard so that you could line your floorboard in your car with it or hang it on your refrigerator, I printed these cards so that you could invite someone that you know that I don’t know, and you’re going to save me the postage by actually delivering it to someone that you know, that I don’t know. And I’ll tell you what, it’s going to mean a whole lot more to them, that invite is going to make a whole lot more to them coming from you than it would if it came through USPS or Canada Post. I was using Canada Post because was in Canada. But you know, you get what I’m saying there. So you’re right, I think, you know, there is some value in traditional advertising, but your advertising and your marketing strategy has to be holistic. At the end of the day, I can’t remember who I heard say this, and wish I could remember. Ariel The Little Mermaid said we want to be where the people are. We want to be where the people are, and where are the people? The people are online, they’re on their phones, they’re on their tablets, they’re on their computers, that’s where we want to be, and so we need to be marketing and promoting where people are.
Bart Blair: [00:42:05] My wife and I, like from my office, I can see out the corner of my office, the super mailbox that all of our neighbors go to. And I can tell which neighbors only pick up their mail like once every 2 or 3 weeks because they open their mailbox, and they have like 85 things hanging out of it, right, because it’s all junk mail. I mean, my wife goes out every couple of days, every 2 or 3 days, and gets the mail. And, you know, nine out of ten things, or ten out of twelve, is usually junk. There’s very, very rarely anything that’s that’s personal because we just get everything via email and digital, right?
Bart Blair: [00:42:40] So anyway, I’m rambling. This has been a really long podcast episode, so if you’ve made it here to the end, thank you so much. Thank you, thank you for your loyalty and sticking things through with us, Jason And I appreciate the fact that we have so many of you out there listening. Send in your questions If you have a burning question that you want us to answer, email them to BBlair@MissionalMarketing.com, and put in the subject line that it’s a burning question for the podcast. If you haven’t ever left us a rating or review, wherever you listen to the show, make sure that you do that, that helps more people find it. And if you’re watching on our YouTube channel, you can engage with us there, make sure that you subscribe and ring the bell so that you get notified about future episodes. Jason, thanks for hanging out with me today, it’s been a lot of fun.
Jason Hamrock: [00:43:24] Thanks, Bart.