Quick poll: What website do you get most of your information from? Facebook? Google? YouTube? My guess is it’s one of those three.
You know the crazy thing about those information sites? None of them actually produce their own content. They merely help others share.
I see that as a huge paradigm shift for content producers – even churches. Because after all, that’s what we do: produce content. Imagine if, as a communications leader, you stopped trying to be the source of all information from your organization, but instead followed the lead of these web giants.
What if you empowered your people to do the communication for you? You could reach further and get more done. You wouldn’t be the bottleneck for information and it wouldn’t be limited to your church’s and your own reach.
The Start: Changing Your Paradigm
To start, though, you would have to change your paradigm for communication. If your people are going to start communicating for you, you’ll need to worry more about accuracy than the how. And in order for your people to be able to be accurate, you’ll need the information to be simple and easy-to-digest.
Thus, the focus shifts from getting the information out to getting the information ready for other people. So start there. Once you have that under control, you can move to empowering your people. Here are a few ideas.
1. Be Where They Are
To start with, you need to put the information where people already are. News flash: People don’t hang out on your website. They hang out on Facebook/Instagram. They’re at your church. Many are living from email to email. That’s where the information needs to be. Don’t make people go to your website to get the information.
Put the information where people are and make it easy for people to share from there.
2. Give Them a Reason
Next, you need to give them a reason to communicate for you. People won’t just share the information you give them without knowing what’s in it for them. I live by this maxim on the Internet: Everyone is a narcissist.We live in the iGeneration. Unless people know what’s in it for them, they won’t do anything you want them to do.
So allow your people to put a little bit of themselves into the communication. Make it about their story. Make it about their experience. Make it about them and allow them to communicate that.
3. Give Them Tools
Give them the information they need – easily digestible – but also give them some assets to help them communicate. Images, Snapchat filters, templates, hashtags… Those are all helpful in empowering your people to communicate on your behalf.
4. Highlight Them
Finally, you need to reward people who are communicating for your church. This could be as simple as something like a retweet, re-gram, or share. But you could go further and integrate their posts into a pre-service slideshow. Again, you want to make this about your people and not just about what you want them to communicate. Highlight their selfies or artistic pics of the church. Share their perspective from the latest event.
The reason Facebook and YouTube are such powerful information tools is that the whole of the mediums are about highlighting its users. And really, that’s what your church is: The people. So why wouldn’t you want them to become the primary communicators for your church?
You don’t have to shoulder all the burden of communication for your church. You don’t have to be limited to a small audience size. Harness the power of your people and give them the opportunity to communicate for you. It might feel a bit messier, but your reach will go much further.