Content Marketing Institute published 15 Digital Content Mistakes That Can Hurt Your Brand. I work with missionaries and churches in online communication. I picked a few items from Content Marketing’s list to connect ministry and secular marketing. While we do marketing, we must always consider it ministry to establish a genuine relationship with people.
First, you are the brand. Whether it’s a church or missionary, or a Christian non-profit. It is who you are. For ministry purposes, that’s how we define our own brands. It is how we differentiate ourselves from others.
“To instantly leave a memorable impression on your target audience, so they slowly but surely become familiar with your company and ultimately buy from you.” (coschedule.com on Brands)
“The 80/20 rule has been cited as the effective social media content ratio. Focus 80% of your posts on informing and entertaining your followers, while just 20% should be about your business. Similarly, the five-three-two rule says for every 10 posts published, five should be curated from others’ content, three should be original to your brand, and two should be personal and fun to humanize your brand.”
- Informing and entertaining can be about your ministry, Scripture, fun photos, cultural immersion, etc. Give value back to your audience. How can you minister to them? How can you minister to your community online? Be generous with your time. Teach and inspire!
- 20% a call to action to give or about events.
- Share or screenshot and share and tag other content related to your brand, your area of ministry, or something valuable to your audience. Paraphrase and sum up another person’s post, tag, or share a link. Subscribe to news events in the area of your service to paraphrase mostly positive updates to your newsfeed.
- Three original posts about your brand. This is content you create from scratch.
- Two fun things that are personal. To build friendships in person, you find something in common. Do the same online.
Ultimately, the rule is not solid, Content Marketing says. Don’t feel you need to stick fast to this rule, but it’s a good guide, especially if you need to be more creative. Study your data online to know what your audience wants to see from you. Never listen to an expert if your data says to do something different. Do what works for your audience! Do what works to grow a new audience, too.
Following along the lines of knowing your audience, typically once a month for churches and once a week to once a month for individuals, is a good guide for email communication with your audience. Larger organizations will have different schedules.
Even if you still need to go to the field, you must keep your name in front of people. Draw on your creativity to decide what to send out to foster solid friendships, or enroll in similar newsletters to see what they write and how they frame their stories. Below is what is true of communications between missionaries and their partners:
- 76% expect consistent interaction with a brand. Even though this is a secular market, I have found this to be true with missionary and partner relations.
Stay Away From Controversial Subjects
If you don’t wish to get boycotted, get an angry email, or want to keep relationships with people, be aware of trigger points with your audience. Content Marketing says to bring up highly polarizing and emotional topics only if it has something to do with your brand. And when you do, make sure you have researched the subject and keep a steadfast, calm, and loving tone online.
Once something becomes a debate, you’ve lost. Even if you win the battle, you’ve lost the war. You’ll get farther respecting the person as an image-bearer of God than with your self-defensiveness and anger. What is the most important thing your audience can take away from you? Is it because you care about them or your cause?
The Battle To Be Heard
My email accounts have hundreds to thousands of emails in them. The subject line is the most essential part of your email. It’s what will stand out from all your Best Buy, Hobby Lobby, and Hotel emails. It’s also an art form. Don’t be discouraged if it takes a few times to get the subject line right and to see your open rates increase.
The commercial open rate is about 30%. It reaches a different audience than your social media, website, and direct mail. In Church Communication, we always say to use everything to get your information in front of people. Be the email they want to open!