Everyone needs to be reminded of editing tips. Why? Because the world is inundated with communication, and every person who creates the communication believes his or her message is important. But that doesn’t mean the content will be consumed properly.
Communication noise is causing everyone to decide what’s important and what can be ignored. We can’t take it all in anymore! This is why churches need editing tips. We need to give all of our communication a final edit to reduce noise. We need to calm messaging and give information without wasting people’s time.
Do you create church content? Here are four practical editing tips every church must practice regularly:
- Know who your communication is intended for. Always understand who needs your information. You may have to stereotype the group that’s receiving it or segment the group and communicate differently to each group. If most in that group don’t need to hear it, it may be wise to communicate it differently or not at all. Decide why they need the content. What do they want? Are you fixing something? Are you giving them a new process? Avoid generalizations with content. Tell them as quickly as possible about the promise or intent of the content, and do it at the beginning. You probably also want to remind them a few times throughout the content, depending on length.
- Decide one thing you want them to do. After promising a solution, lead them quickly to the requirement — the call to action. The more you want them to do, the less likely they’ll do any of it. Try as much as possible to have one action. If there are secondary things you must add, do it in a secondary way. Create the hierarchy for them. They need to know what you’d like them to do primarily and then the alternatives.
- Remove details that aren’t part of the decision. Often people creating content are thinking about all the logistics surrounding an event, such as the room it’ll happen in, the amount of times it’s occurring and the contact person. Most of those details don’t help people decide if they’ll participate. Therefore, edit the content to include benefits and a strong call to action. Get a person’s attention by mentioning why they need the content and then provide a solution. Keep it as short as possible.
- Direct interested people to the regular, trusted source for details. Your church needs to have that one spot where everyone can discover all the details — when needed. It must be trusted and accurate or people will resist it. Many churches used to use a printed bulletin, but now most prefer the website. Just make sure it’s well done, it’s edited and the information is easy to find. Social media channels are an alternative location to direct people. Remember that everyone has access to a website quite easily and that only a small amount would have your bulletin or an app or are on your email list. A good piece of church content following these editing tips needs to be in the proper website area so it’s discoverable by your community and your congregation.
EDITOR’S NOTE — Mark MacDonald is a communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000+ churches to become known for something relevant (a communication thread) throughout their ministries, websites and social media. His book, Be Known for Something, is available at BeKnownBook.com.