When you’re running social media or communications for church, one of the first things you’ll hear people tell you is to establish a social media calendar. A social media calendar will organize your social media channels and give you a clear sense of where your content is going to be published. In fact, some social media dashboards like Hootsuite, come with a social media calendar built right in.
The problem is that a social media calendar only solves part of your problem. You still need to deal with all of the other communication channels (i.e., announcement videos, website, and bulletins). In short, you need a larger view of all your communications.
So it’s time you start using a Church Communications Calendar. A Church Communications Calendar is a document that outlines all your major promotions for your church. I’m not talking just social media; I’m talking every part of your communications system.
A Church Communications Calendar gives you and your communications team a visual so everyone can see what everyone is doing across the board. This keeps your team in sync. Don’t know when the promotional video for the missions ministry is to be shown in worship? When will that same video be published on Facebook?
Those questions can be answered with a Church Communications Calendar.
This calendar helps you to notice gaps in your church’s communications. For example, if the calendar says that you’re promoting the preschool ministry in the fall, are you going to need print materials? Videos? Social media support? Your church communications calendar helps you identify these needs.
It can also help you plan for production. If you know two months out what items are coming down the pipe then you can plan your resources accordingly.
A Church Communications Calendar is composed of three major elements:
Major promotions – What are the big things that we’re going to promote? What are we going to communicate that affects the entire church?
Communication channels – What are our major communication channels that we’ll use to communicate our major messages?
Types of communication pieces – Are we going to use blog posts, videos, podcasts, or other visual aids to promote our major messages?
Now here’s a step that most people miss when creating this type of calendar. You need to get your senior leadership to sign off on this calendar. When you have your senior leadership’s approval of this calendar (on a semi-regular basis, i.e. monthly), then the calendar becomes your secret weapon.
Secret weapon? You bet. Because when somebody comes to you with a last minute request to make this announcement, do this video, or promote this new event, this document can help you stop these types of requests. You can say, “If it’s not on this document, we’re not going to promote it.”
I know that’s easier said than done, but by putting this process in place, it helps you to not be the bad guy. Instead, you can use the document and the process as the authority in these types of situations.
As a bonus, for multi-campuses, this calendar outlines when you expect every single campus to communicate. For example, you may say in the month of July we are doing leader recruitment. So every campus is going to communicate that message along with their other messages during July.
This not only keeps your communications in sync, it keeps your campuses in sync as well. How in sync? Well, that depends on your contextualization vs continuity. (You can read more about that by clicking right here.)
It’s time you started thinking bigger than just social media calendars and instead think about how a Church Communications Calendar can help you and your team get more done and do it better.