I got a letter last week from a couple account reps for a couple radio stations: “Especially when times are tough, the community could benefit from the positive message of faith that your organization delivers.”
I’m not big into radio advertising. I’ve done it a couple times. I understand how it works. And how it doesn’t work. (I have a degree in broadcasting, for goodness sakes.) I understand the need for sustained presence and the cost of that kind of presence. I am particularly not in favor of using broadcast media covering large areas when you are a local church. It doesn’t seem to be the best use of limited resources. I feel a particular tension in using broadcast media when you are trying to build relationships.
But I was curious.
So when they called, as they indicated in the letter, I scheduled an appointment.
This morning I called to see if they could get done in 25 minutes so I could get to another appointment. When Brad called back he said, “sure.” I was impressed. They weren’t going to try to linger. They apparently believed that they had something that could be presented clearly and quickly.
They were early. I was on time.
I told them of my bias against broadcast and for narrowcast.
He said he understood.
What they presented was a website that will be promoted on the two stations and on their websites. This platform, called faithandfamilyguide.com, is designed to provide a landing place for the people in their audience who are at life and family transition points and are wondering about faith questions.
The site, limited to 10 churches, has articles about faith and family. It has links to landing pages for the 10 churches, with a common set of audio, video, and information resources, and links out to the sites of the churches. The site will carry advertising, will have its own contests, will have regularly updated calendar info. It will have an “ask the pastor” feature. It may accept content written through the churches (yes, I gave them links to this site and to 300wordsaday.com).
From what I can tell, their project is a good example of content marketing. They are trying to gather resources and content-creators (the churches) and offer that content to their listeners. They will promo the site on air and will link to it from the two station websites. At the same time, they are qualifying leads and bringing them to the ten churches that sign up. No one has to go to the site, but they can if they are wondering about family or faith issues. And the stations hit a demographic that is full of family transitions.
We would pay a monthly fee. We would get the landing page and 24 spots a month on the stations.
Here’s where I need your help.
Does the concept make sense?
What questions should I ask them?
What should we be thinking about?
Does this approach take us to people who live around us that we would not talk to in other ways?
(Just so you know, I love the concept. I love watching the stations branch out from straight ads to a new idea that can have a measure of interactivity. I love the funnelling. But I could be dazzled because of my low initial expectations. That’s why I need your help.)
Hi Jon…this is my first visit to your site (found you on Twitter). Very interesting description of the project. Here’s my take.
I wouldn’t call what they are doing “content marketing”. If you, as an organization, were doing the exact same thing, but it was you developing it – that would be content marketing.
What they have created is a new media model that is becoming more and more popular. They are using fresh, relevant content to create a community – of which you are underwriting with sponsorship. Part of that deal may include content from you, but it’s still a sponsorship deal.
I like the concept. We are talking to more and more traditional media companies that are starting to adopt these kinds of models in their markets.
Depending on the price point, it sounds like a good opportunity. My only question to you would be this – if you like the concept so much, I think you should do it yourself. Now that would be content marketing.
Let me know if I can help in any way.
Call me “cautiously pessimistic” on this one. At my church, we’re struggling to find ways to monitor life impact, rather than soulless touch-counts. It’s never easy, of course, but by giving away the primary contact, I’m worried you won’t be able to judge your “return on investment.”
Hi Jack…interesting take. I guess it’s all about spreading ideas – valuable, relevant content that makes an impact on people’s lives.
That’s why I would do it myself rather than sponsor, means more of an opportunity to share your particular story with possible followers (customers).
More and more churches are moving away from advertising and focusing on their content marketing efforts. There is lots of content out there – but people are searching for meaningful information that a Church could and should be providing on a consistent basis.
Joe and Jack –
Thanks for the interaction!
Jack, I understand the touch concern. A lot. I’m working hard in my own
behavior to watch the broadcasting model.
On the other hand, Joe, it takes a bunch of time to create a content
approach. I am very much interested in it. In fact, I want to move us more
and more to providing the information and encouragement and teaching that
our attenders need for talking the people around them. (“What do you say
when your sister says she has cancer? I think that someone at church was
talking about that.”
But there isn’t an other hand, is there?
I mean, either we are about helping growth happen organically, or not. And
involving the people in our church in the process of creating content,
rooted in their own experience, is a community building effort itself.
Thank you both for helping me think.
I’ll be back.
i like the idea. providing a way for people to connect with God and to find out where to connect with God is important.
Does it always matter if you know who/how many are being touched? I know there is the matter of wise stewardship, but…(You can see I am not coming at this from a business mindset.)
I think it is very cool that someone is thinking outside the box–and sometimes, I think,seeking people will be drawn in to connecting with God’s flesh and blood people by the non-threatening/less-threatening nature of airspace/cyberspace.
Do you have control over your part of content?
I think- I know- that there are a number of folks sitting in traffic or in their offices who may be feeling intimidated by their own lack of knowledge. Intimidation makes it very difficult to step through a doorway to look for the answer.
If a spot is welcoming and leads someone to a website that provides an opportunity for people to ask questions that may then help them to figure out the tough stuff…
Seems to me that it has the potential to reach people who are looking to be reached.