If you are a pastor or ministry leader who has been living under the fog of guilt about blogging, I want to help lift that fog for you today by giving some simple start-up tips for those who do want to blog. I am a low-tech pastor who has been blogging for about four years. Here are my top eleven tips for new ministry bloggers.
Start with a conviction to communicate.
Pastors have been called to communicate. Since our communication channels have exponentially expanded since the handwritten and hand delivered scrolls of the first century, we should take advantage of any technology which helps our people. Think of how many of your members can be equipped and encouraged between Sundays, or while they are away for various reasons.
Don’t be intimidated by technology.
Sometimes technology seems to take advantage of us, instead of the other way around. I can’t promise you that this blessing won’t make you want to curse sometimes. Every change has a cost and yet technology has evolved to become much more user-friendly than it used to be. Find a sharp Millennial who has more knowledge than money, then make a fair exchange.
Repurpose existing content.
One of the biggest excuses to not blog is time. I started blogging in the middle of a church campus relocation. Most of my content during that season was repurposed sermon material. An average sermon has enough content for three blog posts. I also use ideas from my personal journaling.
Capture your creativity as it comes.
Capture and save ideas as they come by writing your creative thoughts down immediately. Since I am often jogging or driving when a post idea hits me, I just speak into my phone, “Make a new note.” Siri knows what to do. Once your creative flow gets going, don’t stop to edit for grammar or you will lose your momentum and train of thought.
Use your unique voice.
This was a challenge to me early on because I often liked the style of other writers and bloggers better than my own. I came to the conclusion that I am not as clever as some, or as academic as others. I am Joe Pastor, and so are most of my readers. I often picture a pastor sitting across from me at a coffee shop when I am writing.
My calendar alert just interrupted me as I was writing this. In all honesty, it will take a few weeks or months to get into a rhythm, but just like sermon preparation, you will find it to be more intuitive and enjoyable with experience. Start with once a week, and grow gradually from there.
Never post without proofing.
Someone needs to read your post before you publish it. We are sometimes blind to our own mistakes. I promise you that there is a retired teacher in your church who would LOVE for you to ask him or her to help you.
Share on social media channels.
Once you have connected with your core audience, share your content through other channels like Facebook and Twitter. You don’t need to be social media savvy to have a voice to your members, but you do have to be intentional.
Keep it short.
I shoot for 500-600 words. Most of your readers are overwhelmed with content, so they are much more likely to read your posts if they are short. Brevity will also help you with consistency in writing and posting.
Take time for good titles and photos.
I sometimes use personal pictures, but most of the time I use free photos from StockSnap or Unsplash. Take time to phrase your titles for clarity and curiosity. Most will decide whether to take a look based solely on what they see as they scroll through their email or social media feeds.
Two guys I have leaned on quite a bit are Jonathan Howe and Chris Martin. Most of these ideas originated with them. Chris often helps me with social media strategy, so I was excited to hear about the new service he just launched called “Content Made Simple.” If you are interested as I am, sign up here.