In my last post I wrote about why you should consider a video blog. Now let’s consider some best practices to get your new blog started on the right foot.
Use a Sidebar – I was watching some highlights of the Sochi Winter Olympics on ESPN’s Sports Center last night. There is something I love about their show.
It’s on the side of the screen – the sidebar showing the list of topics they are discussing next. As I watch, I realize that’s what, at least partially, keeps me interested and tuned in.
It’s knowing what is coming up next. So I keep watching. (OK – I’ll admit it – it also lets me know when I have a moment to run to the kitchen for a quick snack!)
This is a great idea for your video blog. Consider a short list on the side or across the bottom of the screen to let people know what is contained in this edition of your video blog.
They’ll stay tuned longer (or at least fast forward to what they want or think they need to hear). In this way, your message has a better chance of being heard.
Keep it short – Believe it or not, two to three minutes or less is ideal. People are busy. Inboxes are overflowing. Attention spans are short. If you can be limited to 140 characters on Twitter, you can be limited to two or three minutes on a video blog. Just keep your message concise and to the point.
Be consistent – Create a schedule and stick to it – every Thursday, every other Tuesday, once a month. Whatever is sustainable for you and your team. Don’t bite off more than you can logistically chew, but do stick to what works.
Mix it up – Rusty, you’re contradicting yourself. You just told us to be consistent and now you’re telling us to mix it up? You would be right – I’m telling you to do both. Be consistent in the delivery of your video, but mix it up with topics.
Address lots of different ideas so that it is always fresh and people will want to tune in to see what you have to say. Some topics to consider might include:
- Review of the church’s mission and vision
- An important announcement, a church-wide event, an upcoming ministry series
- Review of the previous week’s message with encouragement or resources to dive deeper
- Exhortation to engage the church in an important initiative
- Stories of ministry impact
- Stories of generosity (see below)
- Q&A – use the blog to answer common or not-so-common questions that are asked of you and your staff
Less is more – In terms of where to film, choose a quiet location that is not a distraction to the viewer.
And in terms of what to wear, select something simple. Plain clothing without stripes or words on your shirt is best. You want people to pay attention to the message of your video blog, not be distracted by what else they see.
Talk about the important stuff – This probably seems a bit obvious, but it’s important to point out that what you share in your blog will come across as what is most important and most highly valued at your church.
Choose topics that line up with the foundation of your values as a church, share stories of generosity and life change, and preview upcoming all-church programs – the biggies. You only have two minutes, right? So choose your topics wisely.
Make it personal – Of course your blog should highlight the important stuff, but it should also be a personal message from you. Your video blog is not the proper platform for a series of “weekend announcements” like those shared as part of your weekend worship experience. This is a message from you personally to the church body.
Share stories of generosity – Of course you know I am going to encourage you to use this as a platform to accelerate generosity. This is a great opportunity for you as the pastor to talk directly to your audience about the lives they are affecting by being generous.
Show photos, tell stories of local and global outreach, and show your appreciation for generosity to encourage and increase it.
Maintain an archive of your posts – In addition to sharing your video blog via e-mail, post the blog on your website. Keep an archive of the last several blogs so that people visiting your website (who are most often new to your church) can view them to learn about what’s going on in the life of your church.
People considering their first personal visit to your services usually check you out online first. A video blog archive helps them learn the culture of your church, your style and personality.
So, now that you know why you should start a video blog and several best practices to do so, you can get started with confidence. How is your video blog experience going? I would love to hear of your success!