By Mark MacDonald
Church branding strategist and consultant
Want to improve your church bulletin so your printed worship guide will be not only user-friendly but also in demand? You have an uphill battle, but there are some things you can do to improve your bulletin and create interest among church members.
The vast majority of church attendees who receive a bulletin don’t read it. Most throw it away, and some churches conveniently provide recycle bins to save the planet from castaway printed items. So why create them in the first place? It’s a good question.
Digital, done right, keeps people informed and saves money in the long run. However, some churches use bulletins for service order or liturgy. If that’s you, then members probably need it.
What can you do?
Still want a worship guide? Here are 5 tips to improve your church bulletin:
- Make it smaller. You (or your congregation) may not be ready to do away with it. The older the congregation, the more they’ll rely on printed materials. So save money by reducing the size. If you’re printing in-house, go to the next smaller paper size, cut the page in half or stop adding all those inserts. Receiving a smaller piece will encourage people to look at it.
- Improve your website. This seems like a weird way to improve the church bulletin, but it’s essential. Improve your website’s events/calendar area so people can easily find what they’re looking for. Then direct print bulletin announcements to your website by showing Web links or QR codes for more details (and easy ways for folks to add events to their digital calendar).
- Tier your events. It’s important that everything doesn’t have equal volume or you’ll end up with a lot of promotional noise that’s ignored. Instead create a hierarchy for all-church events. Then calm down all-ministry events. You may even want to drop all other events in the bulletin as part of your smaller size (send them to the website, rely on weekly emails or social media channels).
- Segment by demographics. Make it easy on members by creating a simple and obvious organization that’s consistent each week so they can quickly see what’s for adults, students or children. Ensure every event clearly identifies (through color, icon or subtitle) who it’s for.
- Edit. Edit. Edit. Get their attention with the benefits of attending the event. Don’t add all the information as you receive it. Limit details to those that will pique interest. Then point to the website for additional details.
Once you’ve removed all the unnecessary, you’ll have improved your church bulletin so it’s friendlier. And your members won’t have to remember where they left it.
EDITOR’S NOTE — MacDonald is communication pastor, speaker, consultant, bestselling author, church branding strategist for BeKnownforSomething.com and executive director of the Center for Church Communication, empowering 10,000-plus 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.