If you have a website, you’ve probably already considered writing a church blog. However, you may have put it off or only blog now and again.
Blogging helps you reach your audience faster. With each post, search engines have more content to index, meaning more chances to connect with people worldwide and locally.
Creating a church blog strategy is the first step to having a blog that does your church proud. Even if you’ve never blogged before, your church can do this.
Define Your Objective
Did you know there are currently over 1.6 billion websites live worldwide? Many of those also have blogs attached. So with that much competition, how does your church stand of a chance of being noticed?
Easy, you start with a clear objective. No church blog strategy is complete without an objective to work towards and measure against. Otherwise, it’s just random blogging, which may or may not connect with your audience.
Why is important for your church to blog? You shouldn’t do it just because experts say it’s a good idea for boosting traffic. This needs to be a reason specific to your church. Some common reasons include:
- Reaching a larger audience
- Bringing in new members
- Increasing online tithing
- Reach those who can’t attend church
- Become a Bible study destination
- Help answer common and difficult questions
- Keep the local community informed
Obviously, you don’t have to pick just one objective, but the objective(s) you choose are crucial for developing your tone, choosing keywords and writing content.
Determine A Realistic Schedule
Ask 20 experts about the perfect blog posting schedule and you’ll get 20 different answers. There actually isn’t a single right answer. There isn’t a perfect day of the week or time of day. Everything varies based on objectives, where you sharing your content, type of content and so much more.
This doesn’t mean you don’t have to set a schedule. No matter how frequently or infrequently you post, do it regularly. Only have time for one post per month? That’s fine. Just do it around the same day each month.
SmartBlogger takes on the posting daily recommendation, saying it’s a horrible idea. Why? It’s not feasible to create high quality, engaging content every single day unless you have a slew of writers on hand.
It’s much better to focus on creating the best possible content you can, when you can. Rushing it will only hurt your church and drive potential new members away. Instead, choose a schedule you can work with that gives you ample time to develop content that helps make a difference.
If you get into the swing of things, post more often, just stick to a set schedule and you’ll be successful.
Decide Your Tone
This is surprisingly one of the hardest parts of your church blog strategy, especially if you have multiple contributors. Your blog serves as another voice for your church. If people don’t like the tone, they’ll move on.
The key is to be true to your church. What type of personality does your church have or your pastor or your members? If it’s a more light-hearted environment, your blog should be too. If it’s more serious, let your blog showcase that.
The idea is to let your blog have the same tone and feel as if someone was actually in your church attending services or going in for counseling.
If you do have multiple contributors, ensure everyone knows the desired tone. Yes, it’s okay to mix it up, especially if each blogger does a different type of post, such as a Funny Friday theme versus a Sermon Sunday theme.
Choose Your Bloggers
The next part of your church blog strategy is choosing who will actually write or develop the content. Your pastor, church staff and members are all candidates. You can even accept guest posts from fellow pastors, Christian leaders and people who want to share their stories of finding their faith.
The people you choose should be people you trust to represent your church. With all the other responsibilities you have, you don’t want to have to deal with controversy over a poorly chosen topic or flippant tone.
If you’re not posting often, such as once a week or a few times a month, only having one or two bloggers works well. If you’re posting multiple times per week, it’s a good idea to have two or more bloggers to handle the workload.
Scope Out The Competition
Blogging isn’t the easiest thing to do. What do you write about? What works and what doesn’t? These are the same questions every other church and blogger has.
The answer – start by scoping out the competition. While you never ever copy another church’s blog content or strategy, take the opportunity to learn from what they’re doing. This helps you create a custom strategy that incorporates some of what you love best about other church blogs.
Feedspot lists the top 50 church blogs and websites for 2019. The ranking is based upon the site’s popularity and social media following. Learn from them and get a head start versus starting from scratch.
Choose A Post Length
If you thought the posting schedule was controversial, experts are just as torn when it comes to the optimal post length. While some blogs only have 300 word posts, others have 2,000 word posts or longer. Each can be successful.
Overall, long form content tends to perform better. This doesn’t mean every single post has to be 2,000 to 3,000 words. If you’re making a quick announcement, it’s okay to have a 300 to 400 word post instead.
This infographic showcases that there isn’t just a single best word count. While HubSpot posts performed best in the 2,250 to 2,500 word range, a Buffer study suggested posts should be around 1,600 words.
General recommendations from that infographic were:
- The highest ranking posts on Google were 2,500 words or more
- The most shared posts on social media were between 600 and 1,500 words
- Short posts of around 275 words got more comments
The takeaway for your church blog strategy – do what works best for your church and audience. Don’t just write a bunch of fluff to meet a word count. Instead, focus on quality over quantity.
Develop Keywords And/Or Themes
It might seem odd to develop keywords and themes before you write your first post, but picking these now helps keep your blog on track.
For instance, if your church blog objective is to increase membership, you’d want to pick more local keywords to target to attract more local readers. If you’re wanting to help people explore their faith online, you’d choose less local and more global keywords.
Themes help to give your church blog strategy more consistency. For instance, maybe you want to do one in-depth sermon post a month and one where you dive into members’ questions.
Once you have themes in place, it’s easier to develop content around them. Plus, it gives readers something to look forward to.
Yes, these will change as you develop and tweak your blog. It’s a good idea to review these at least twice a year to make sure they’re still yielding the results you want.
Overcoming Writer’s Block
Writer’s block is terrible, but not impossible to overcome. The first step is to check out other church and Christian blogs to see if anything inspires you. Crosswalk combines a variety of Christian bloggers in one place to make it easier to stay on top of what’s going on.
If you’re still having trouble, here a few post types that may inspire you:
- Going more in-depth on your weekly sermon
- Interviewing members, people in your community or Christian leaders
- Tackling difficult questions from kids, families, singles, couples, seniors and more
- Answering common questions about your church
- Lists of relevant scripture for different topics
- Inspiring stories
- Talk about something you learned from another blog post
This is just a short list. Create a list of types of content and themes you want to write to help prevent writer’s block.
Most people don’t visit a church website to talk about politics, reality TV scandals or any other controversy. Often, they’re visiting to escape all of the terrible things going on in their lives and the world around them.
Try to skip controversial topics on your church blog. Doing this can actually help bring more people together versus dividing them further.
Create Useful Content
If you don’t follow any of the advice in this post but this one section, you’re in great shape. Quality always trumps quantity.
No matter how often you post or long the post is, make sure it’s useful to your reader. The more useful and relevant, the more likely they are to read most or all of it. The more likely they’ll be to share it and come back to read more.
Avoid fluff and redundancy. If it’s not something you or your members would find useful, it’s probably not a great fit for your church blog.
Do you read every word when you read a blog post or article? Probably not. As part of your church blog strategy, develop a way to organize your content.
For instance, you might decide to only use three to four short paragraphs per section. You’d also want to make section heads noticeable by using H2, H3 or H4 tags. This makes content easier to scan and less imposing, especially for longer posts.
Despite shorter attention spans (dropping from 12 seconds in 2000 to just eight seconds now), people actually do want to read great content. This goes back to ensuring your content is of high quality. By organizing it, it’s more reader-friendly and proves it’s worth the time it takes to read.
Add One Or More Visuals
Part of great organization is visuals. Nothing breaks up the monotony of text better than a great visual. It should be relevant to your content in some way.
At the very least, have a featured image to start your post. This gives you a visual to share on social media, making your post stand out more.
Ideally, you’ll also want to have one or two more images just to make your posts more engaging. Infographics and quote images work well for this. With so many free and low-cost images, it’s easy to make this part of your strategy.
Listen To Your Readers
Now that you’ve got a good church blog strategy in place, it’s time to make it better. This is when you start listening to your readers. Read their comments and pay attention to feedback via email or a contact form on your church’s website.
The reader will tell you what they want. You just have to listen and adjust your strategy to better fit your audience. If you’re just getting started, ask your members to read your blog posts and provide feedback.
Go Beyond Promotion
As tempting as it may be to post often about tithing, church events and service reminders, don’t just make your blog about promoting your church. The majority of your posts should be useful content to help the reader, not the church.
If you’re helping your readers, they’ll be far more likely to tithe to your church, visit when they’re in the area and share your posts to help you reach a much wider audience.
Marketing is fine, just make these less than half of your total posts.
The final step to a successful church blog strategy is to measure your results. A few questions to ask yourself include:
- How are posts performing?
- Which posts perform best?
- Is your church meeting its goals?
- Is website/blog traffic improving?
- Are readers engaged? (comments, social shares, etc.)
- Are you sticking to your strategy?
Use these questions to see what is and isn’t working. Adjust anything that’s not helping your church or engaging your readers. Then, measure the results again. Doing this monthly helps you have a more successful blog.
Promote On Social Media
Finally, promote your posts on social media. Of course, you should also share more than just your own posts. However, mixing in your own blog posts gives your social media followers even more to engage with and brings more traffic back to your website.
A great blog deserves a great church website. Learn how we help you create engaging church sites.
Most useful for my church. Sheds light on how to use this useful tool to connect with a target community.
Glad to hear it Bill! Blogging is hard work, but it makes a huge impact.