Branding + Marketing
8 Church Communications Best Practices to Set Your Teams Up For Success
July 20, 2022
Churches have the most important message to communicate to the world. At the same time, church leaders are often overwhelmed by the myriad of details regarding the marketing and branding side of church communications.
Church communications can quickly become messy and muddled without a unified message and brand. You can have an awesome website and all the best tech in place to communicate effectively, but if you’re missing the strategy, process, and training to use these communications tools well, your efforts could stall—or worse—fall flat.
Some churches hire communications directors to help wrangle the elements into a cohesive strategy. Others take a more relaxed approach and ignore church communications altogether, which often ends up only adding to the confusion. But the majority of churches leverage a combination of staff, volunteers, and select vendor relationships to make communications work.
The staff/volunteer combo is a great way to accomplish church communications because it allows skilled volunteers to use their gifts to serve their church and community while also providing the extra manpower staff teams often need to get the job done. You also need relationships with trusted vendors to handle the complex and often technical side of things, so you don’t have to.
For these teams to work together successfully, it is important to understand and implement church communications best practices that keep all of your teams aligned and avoid any unexpected hiccups in your efforts to accomplish your goals.
Here Are 8 Church Communications Best Practices to Help Align Your Teams With Your Vision and Mission
1. Eliminate the silos.
This is the most essential best practice but often the most difficult to do. All organizations struggle with teams becoming siloed and not sharing information. It’s easy for individual departments to be laser-focused on their specific ministry work and forget to involve other important stakeholders in their processes. Still, it’s worth every effort to smash the silos. By promoting and fostering collaboration across teams, you’ll find that you can do more than you could imagine with the power of people working together.
2. Schedule and keep regular meetings.
Meetings get a bad rap, but they’re essential to effective communication, especially between staff and volunteers. When you invite members of your congregation to serve with your team, it is imperative that they feel like they’re part of the team and know what’s going on.
Furthermore, there is usually a chain of command regarding disseminating information that communicators must follow to avoid stepping on toes. The last thing you want is for your key team members to feel devalued or out of the loop. Regular meetings help avoid this.
3. Train your teams.
In church communications, training is absolutely essential to effectiveness. Volunteers can assist with communications in many ways, such as making website updates or managing event registrations. Doing this will require that you train your volunteers on how to use the systems and make sure they understand how to get help if they get stuck.
4. Develop and implement a style guide.
Consistency in church branding is essential but is often pushed to the back burner or disregarded entirely—usually because people just don’t know what they need. Every business and organization needs a style guide that defines its brand standards and details how people may use the various brand elements.
Style guides can be as simple as “this is how we do (and don’t) use the logo” to something much more specific and complex. Get input from all relevant stakeholders when compiling the style guide to guarantee buy-in and make sure that training and implementation run smoothly. Please email us if you want more information on creating a style guide for your church.
5. Define team roles and responsibilities.
There’s nothing more frustrating than when the left hand doesn’t know what the right is doing. Take time to write brief job descriptions and develop a team structure that work together like a well-oiled machine. Staff and volunteers will thrive when you’ve given them clear direction and instructions that define how they can achieve success in their given role.
6. Be strategic about priorities.
In communications and marketing, there is always something more you could be doing or want to do, but what do you truly need to do? Remember that even the most talented and ambitious teams cannot possibly do everything at once. Spreading the work out in a realistic way will help you avoid burnout and build momentum in a positive and productive way.
Have the hard talks with your team and set priorities to a timeline with dates. Even if the dates are far in the future, this will help your team stay focused as you continue to achieve more with your communications efforts.
7. Ensure consistent messaging and visual branding across channels.
With your newly developed style guide in hand, get to work bringing all communications and marketing materials into brand alignment. This is another opportunity to define and implement a process that will serve your team well.
Start by scheduling times in advance to walk through every digital, print, or video expression of your brand to make certain that every person involved is adhering to the brand standards. For larger organizations, it is beneficial to conduct regular training sessions and have a role in the onboarding process of new staff and key volunteers to ensure that all new team members are on the same page.
8. Regularly review and evaluate.
Following church communications best practices like these will help you identify potential training opportunities as well as any materials that may need to be updated or refreshed. Depending on your resources and needs, you may discover that there are enough projects to warrant working with an agency specializing in graphic design, website development, or video production. A professional team can help you implement your style guide and make any necessary improvements to outdated materials.
For decades, we’ve partnered with church communications teams to help them solve problems, meet deadlines, and achieve goals that further their mission and vision. We would love to chat with you about your church communications needs and answer any questions you may have. Please send us a message, and we can start your next project today!