The Key Elements of Ministry Messaging
A critical element of your ministry’s communication is messaging—the words you use to inspire, inform, and invite your audience into the work you’re doing. Focused, strategic communication can lead them to engaging more deeply in your mission with their time and treasure.
Lay the Groundwork
Before you begin crafting your messages, you need to lay a strong foundation. Compassionate communication is the cornerstone. Developing an audience persona so you know who your messaging is for will help you better communicate with them. The linked post walks you through what that looks like.
Once that foundation is laid, it’s time to build on it with your writing.
Find a Consistent Voice
Whether it’s intentionally designated or not, every organization has a voice. A simple definition of voice is this: It’s your brand’s personality described with an adjective.
Think about Southwest Airlines. From advertising to in-flight experience, adjectives that describe Southwest’s voice could include funny, relatable, and people-focused.
One of the keys to Southwest’s messaging success is a consistent voice. You know what to expect from them and it engages you in their communication.
You don’t have to be a successful low-cost airline to develop a consistent voice for your communication. You simply need to identify that adjective and then write using that mindset.
Some adjective thought starters for you: intentional, inspiring, helpful, inviting, hopeful. The options are as long as your Roget’s Thesaurus!
Once you’ve chosen your adjective, you need to think through how that voice should come across to your audience. It’s helpful to create an “is/is not” list to help you establish the boundaries you’ll need as you write. For example, an intentional voice is succinct and pithy; it’s not long-winded and wordy. It’s warm and approachable; it’s not aloof or exclusive.
Choose Your Words
You can use your voice and is/is not list to help you choose the words to write. Continuing with the intentional voice example, its conversational approach leads to more informal words like “we’ll” and “you’ll” instead of “we will” or “you will.” Because it’s succinct and pithy, you’ll choose words and craft sentences that pack a punch.
This is just one aspect of word choice. Another is your audience.
We worked with a ministry who wanted to shift their focus to Millennial-aged donors. For them, that meant moving their messaging from longer, more formal language to shorter words and phrases that were more relatable to their audience. This ministry didn’t suddenly start using slang; sometimes the change was as simple as beginning a sentence with “and” or “but.”
Messaging is a core element of your communication. You can make it more effective by knowing who you’re writing for, using a consistent voice, and choosing the right words.
Amy Anderson is Senior Copywriter at Kumveka, a nonprofit branding and marketing agency serving Christ-focused ministries around the word. She lives in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with her husband and two boys.
Dan Kennedy is Executive Director of Kumveka and he will be serving as Marketing and Communications faculty for the Outcome Conference 2018. His session will be on Marketing Upgrade: Building Audience Personas. During this session, leaders will learn how to develop empathy for your target audiences and filter messaging for greater IMPACT. if you are attending, be sure to check it out in the Mobile App!
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