Updating your church’s website or blog can seem daunting, especially when you lack inspiration or time to make your words sizzle. Once you have covered all the basics – your location, worship times, staff bios and events, you need to keep things fresh and engaging if you want visitors to come back often. You need to keep the content relevant, inspiring and maybe a little edgy.
Here are 10 ideas to use when you are stuck in a rut.
1. Interview someone. Interview people who recently served on a mission team, a local Christian celebrity with good news or a church member with an amazing testimony. Draft questions for the person to respond to in a conversation or by email. Then craft his or her response into a blog post that can bring a new perspective or expertise to your website. If you like writing tips, invite the interviewee to answer questions in that style. This approach may generate more concise, focused responses that will save you time as you construct your piece.
2. Review a product or service. The newest blockbuster has just hit the big screen, and your congregation wants to know your take on its themes. Write about your reaction and how Christianity ties into the movie, or not. Have you read a new book? Write a review of your latest book find and why it’s important to your congregation, or not.
3. Poll your audience. Ask your followers what they’d like you to address. Readers may be seeking for ways to grow spiritually, deal with parenting challenges, cope with economic hardships or something completely different! If Facebook is your social media outlet of choice, here’s a link to the polling section. You can also poll the congregation about your various ministries and write about what you learn. Here are two Survey Monkey polls from United Methodist churches asking about their vacation Bible school and Sunday school classes.
4. Invite a guest writer. If the blinking cursor on your screen is ticking louder than your cuckoo clock, enlist a guest writer. Ask your associate pastor, district superintendent, worship leader or youth director to share his or her prose.
5. Get personal. Open up to your readers and share a personal story. It can have a positive or negative outcome that taught you valuable lessons. It might be an insight you gleaned from a daily devotional or the story of your call to ministry.
6. Admit failures. People appreciate knowing their spiritual leaders sometimes fail. It makes you more human. But, more importantly, they want to see how you overcame the challenge and what you learned as a result. Here are some examples of how MyCom has used this technique:
7. Share successes. You can also celebrate successes with your readers. Take them through your triumph, step by step. Share the lessons you learned along the way – the hard ones as well as the easy ones. No one likes an egotistical or manipulative writer. It’s probably wise to have an honest friend review your posts about failures and successes to be sure you don’t come off begging for sympathy or sounding pompous.
8. Get some fresh air. Yes, take a walk and clear your head. Let the break in routine clear your mind and restart your brain. Pay attention your surroundings; let them trigger new ideas and parallels.
9. Recycle. Remember that article you wrote a year or so ago that really shed light on the issue at hand? Chances are not all of your current audience members were readers then. Revive that old post, adding new insights or information you’ve found since. For more ideas, read “Recycle content: 6 ways to reach larger audiences.”
10. Dip into reserves. Write when you’re inspired – even if that means three articles in one day. When the inspirational juices are flowing, tap them until they are dry! Save those extra articles in an “emergency” folder. Then, when it’s the 11th hour and you can’t find anything to write about, dip into reserves and, voila, you have your post.