What is Church Public Relations?
Church public relations is simply your church’s ability to relate to the public to create a favorable impression. It is taking hold of any message the church is trying to communicate to the public and making sure it’s conveyed accurately.
A church’s ability to share their message and mission with their surrounding area will make a huge difference in how they are perceived in their city. Public relations can help bring awareness to the activities and ministries of your church. Imagine people far from God knowing the name of your church and being able to easily share two or three things you offer the community. This is the power of public relations.
When Would a Church Need Public Relations?
A church could choose to create a public relations strategy and employ public relations writing anytime they have a specific message they want to share with the community. Where press releases focus mostly on events, public relations focus on any and every message the church hopes to share. Also, the strategy to share that message may include more than press releases.
Here are a few examples of messages you may wish to share:
- New pastor in a church
- Church sponsoring a large event
- Teenagers serving the city of going on a mission trip
- A group from your church serving the local city in a special way
- Special service at your church
- Marriage seminar or some other unique meeting
- Church responding with a special message after a difficult city event
- Funeral information for a beloved city resident
- Any news-worth incident (good or bad) that you want to be proactive about versus reactive
Creating a Public Relations Strategy
Your church’s first step should be to take time determining who you are as a church, and also what kinds of messages you hope to communicate to your community. As part of this process, Missional Marketing could help you determine how your church is presently perceived online. But, the leaders of your church should take some time determining the kinds of things you want to be known for, what you do well, and the mission/ministries you hope to highlight.
2. PR Plan
Your church’s public relations plan should develop naturally from your discovery process. This would include writing down the types of events you wish to emphasize for your church. It will also include the budget you set aside for any public relations. Church leaders should formalize your public relations strategy should a negative event or situation be connected with your church (church staff fired for inappropriate or illegal actions, etc). Who would handle communications if the local news stations started calling? If the lead pastor was unable to answer questions, who would be next in line? The goal for any situation is to be proactive instead of reactive. Identify the person who would handle public relations and make sure you get ahead of any story with correct and accurate information.
Also, if your church is hosting a large event, you should create a public relations info page. This page will include facts about the event, who’s in charge with contact info, and any special notes volunteers or leaders might need to know in case someone asks. A public relations info page will protect your church from individuals inadvertently passing on incorrect info.
3. PR Policy
Your church should finalize any public relations plans and procedures into official church policy. With this in mind, if a negative incident ever happens, church staff or leaders could easily look up the church public relations policy and follow instructions. Also, your church event public relations policy can be added into any large event your church is hosting. This will make sure public relations become an important part of any event planning your church does.
We know that sometimes bad things happen to good churches. We want to be on your team during any difficult situation. We will do everything we can to create a comprehensive plan to update and change any negative perceptions connected to your church.
Every public relations plan will differ based on the specific church situation, but it may include:
- Writing professional and positive stories that would be published in top Christian magazines
- Writing press releases
- Setting up a blog to connect new keywords to your church and ministry
- Perform church website search engine optimization (SEO)
If you’re interested in taking the NEXT STEP in considering Missional Marketing, please schedule an appointment or contact us via phone, text, or email.