Matthew 28:18-20 is our commission from Jesus. The commission starts with the word “Go.” Jesus uses that word to get us moving. When it comes to this commission Jesus wants us to have whatever we need to get it done! Romans 12:6-8 speaks of the gifts that we have been given to accomplish our great commission and it uses similar language. We have been given gifts to activate and get moving for the benefit of others. It’s all about going after it. Getting it done. Doing whatever it takes.
Then we look at some of the digital channels that we are currently using to “Go”. They have the most potential to help us get going and reach people and yet we are not leveraging them effectively. Even worse we don’t personally embrace them, and our digital presence screams that we are in fact disinterested in reaching those discovering us digitally. Being present on a digital channel does not mean we are being effective. Simply standing on the stage at a speaking engagement does not make you an effective communicator.
Oh, we get excited to use digital channels to ensure people discover our brand, our church announcements, or our next speaking engagement. But have we made it as easy as we possibly can for people to ‘discover’ what they need from us – our God given gifts, our message, our movement?
The average American church seeker listens to 15.3 seconds of church content when discovering a new ministry or church. They use ministry and church websites as a mechanism of locating your physical location or locating your digital, social media channels such as YouTube, podcasts, Facebook or Instagram accounts. They may use your website as a central hub for content, but they usually discover your website by searching for your ministry name or primary speakers name – thats only if they know it.
Then when they land on your website or your social channels, they see what we think they need to know; how to give; how to sign up, join up or get involved.
Perhaps your ministry has progressed, and you have awesome websites with how people can locate you and you have all your resources available free or for download. And you have built incredible social media content with great podcast and media libraries. But despite all of this, have you made it really easy for people to discover what you stand for, what you are trying to help with or what message God has placed on your heart for those in need?
If someone Googled key words of your “why “or key words of the movement you desire to create or be a part of, would they be able to find not just your ministry, but also more importantly the content they need? Added to that, are they able to search for the needs they have that your ministry seeks to help with? For example, if your ministry recently put content out on successfully building marriages, has all your content been properly tagged and maximized through the use of metadata so that someone searching for a divorce attorney?
All too often I go to a church to look through even their YouTube channel and the title of a video is the same as the description and it has been tagged with the ministries name and the name of the speaker. How is that going to help someone searching for a topic or keyword that relates to the problem they have and the calling your ministry has in helping them with it? How is that going to help someone who needs to discover your content around a need they have right now? Ranking first in real issues is far more effective than ranking first when someone searches for your ministry name.
Are you tagging content in a way that it relates to real needs? Tag your marriage content with things like divorce, affair, attorney or loveless marriage. Things real people would search for in real situations.
Google analytics can help you see which words people are searching for in specific categories or what words brought up your page in the search process. Your content is what you want people to discover. Once they get a hold of your gift, your heart then they will start attending, giving and being a part.
Use whatever tools necessary to discover what people are looking and searching for in areas that relate to your ministry. And then make your content, your searchability, your tagging and titling all relevant to their needs.
Discover them so that they can discover you. Don’t think that your next event or church announcement is what is on their mind when they pick up their mobile to search for a divorce attorney. or the easiest way to commit suicide. Be ready to meet people where they are and not expect for them to meet you where you are at. “Go” to them. Never has it been this easy to “go”!
Does your digital expression relate to this summary of Romans 12:6-8? Thrive in serving others well, actively train and teach others. Encourage others as much as you can. Be generous; lead passionately. Be cheerful in your display of compassion.
When it comes to your content on any platform in any form (video, audio, text), titles, descriptions and tagging are as important as the content itself.
It is important to check in on your app ratings and comments, monitor Yelp, check your Google business or places comments – that helps for those trying to find or find out more about you, but don’t publish content that cannot be easily found by those who need it!
I find that ministries often get into the rut or process of posting content. It’s not just about your content being relevant.
Often, we give the posting of our content over to our webmaster, or video team, or that student who volunteers. When we task anyone to post content that we have been called to produce, be sure to pray and meditate on how we can best leverage the content to reach those who really need it. How do we make the content easily discoverable? Give those who post your content ideas, ask them how or where the content should be posted. Are there groups that would enjoy this content? What keywords should you use? Should we do an ad campaign on this content? If so, what would maximize its discoverability? Spend time thinking through these questions. Don’t just get content out for the sake of your partners, or for the sake of getting content out. Really pay attention to using your content to create the movement of change that God has called you to be a part of.
Make your movement and message discoverable before your brand, location or product. That’s doing it very differently to the world and its customs.