Religious branding has significantly expanded over the past two decades, especially within the United States.
It's reported that 40 to 45% of Americans
attend a religious service every week and over 90% believe in a higher power. However, despite the role
that religion plays in the lives of millions of Americans, churches are experiencing a downturn in membership.
U.S. church membership was 70% or higher from 1937 to 1976 and has since dropped by 20%.
That's why many churches and other religion-based organizations are connecting with people online. Dozens of large and small faith-based nonprofits are leveraging the power of content marketing to engage with their current community and reach new members.
To get started, you'll need to establish a winning content strategy — one that focuses on quality, purposeful content. Then, you'll need to find writers to help you achieve your ongoing goals. The key is knowing where to look so that the content creation is as efficient as possible.
Why Invest in Content Marketing for Your Religious or Spirituality Website?
For some, religion and marketing may not appear to go hand-in-hand, but a church can only survive if it
has members. The same is true for any other type of religion- or spiritual-based company. Without members,
clients, or consumers, an organization cannot survive. While "marketing" is often associated with sales,
the concept of marketing is not that black and white.
Content writing and branding helps any religious or spiritual organization convey its message and core values. While your mission and message may be unique, there's always going to be competition. That's why churches across the nation are investing in logos, email marketing, blogging, and more. After all, religion contributes around $1.2 trillion dollars of socio-economic value to the United States economy each year. That's more than the annual revenues of the world's top 10 tech companies—including Google and Apple.
It's more important than ever before to have a strong digital presence. The goal is to create content of the highest quality. That means investing in writers who will help you strengthen the connection you have with your audience.
Just some of the ways content marketing can assist your church or religious brand include:
- Increased loyalty — As you position your church or brand as a leader, you will build trust with your audience. They will know they can go to you for the advice and support they need. This translates into a stronger sense of loyalty. Online, this could be highly beneficial, as active members may share your content on various social channels, further spreading the word.
- Greater brand awareness — This is important for both new and old churches. If your goal is to reach new audiences, you need to get out there, showcasing who you are as a brand. When you regularly post on social media or your website, you can measure traffic to your site, impressions, page views, followers, etc. All of this information is valuable in terms of your ongoing digital marketing strategy.
- Boosted conversion rates — What are your goals? To attract more members to your church? Sell online courses? Increase the number of people who subscribe to your email list? Content marketing can help fuel all your core business objectives. As you increase your organic traffic, you will reach a greater audience. This allows you to market your brand accordingly.
Tips for Creating a Content Strategy That Converts
When developing a marketing plan for your church or religion-based brand, you would approach this process
like any other company. Much like the brands above, you want to focus on who you are, who your audience
is, and what you can offer to them. Knowing what your organization stands for and who you are helps you
make important branding decisions going forward. Once you have a thorough grasp of your company or organization,
then focus your attention on your audience to make more informed decisions and investments in terms of your content.
Some refer to this step as a company profile. The goal here is to create a rough blueprint, highlighting the following:
- Your mission — Through content marketing, what is it you plan to accomplish?
- What you offer — What is it you can offer your audience? What sets you apart?
- Your tone and voice — Will your content be formal or casual? A combination?
- Your budget — What are you looking to spend based on your current goals and tactics?
Once you have your outline finished, it's time to get more specific with your goals. While you will
have developed a handful of ideas in your initial blueprint, now is the time to focus on your short-
and long-term goals. Remember, these goals can change across time based on what's happening within
your brand and within your community.
Leveraging the ideas you listed in your blueprint, write more detailed notes in terms of how you will achieve those goals. For example, if you want to create a storytelling blog, how often will you post? If you post twice a week, will there be a theme that differentiates those two posts? Would you like to work with one or two writers every week or gain fresh perspectives?
To keep your congregation engaged, monthly newsletters can be incredibly effective. These newsletters can highlight your message, share upcoming events, and put a spotlight on members who have gone above and beyond. For example, you may want to host a family fun night or start a youth group. When you have a subscriber list, you can send this information directly to your members.
Personas will be a key part of your content strategy. Regardless of your mission, it's imperative
that you understand and align with your target audience. To do so, you need to create personas detailing
your perfect congregation member—or members; you might have more than one. By creating these personas,
you can create content that speaks directly to your intended audience. Understanding your audience
and gaining this insight helps you achieve a higher ROI. When creating your perfect congregant persona
- Demographics — Age, gender, location, income, etc.
- History — What is your persona's current or previous faith? Do they attend church and, if so, for how long?
- Goals — What would your persona hope to experience or get out of your church or brand?
- Pain points — What frustrations and challenges do these personas experience? Understanding this can help you develop targeted SEO strategies.
As you identify your audience, you'll also discover the best distribution channels for your content. For example, will you hand out print materials in-person? Invest in social media content? Write video scripts? The options are nearly endless and whatever avenue you choose, be sure to remain strategic in terms of everything you create and publish. For example, when creating a new article on your website, include a featured snippet, remain mindful of long tail keywords, and, over time, you'll see increased organic traffic to your site.
Depending on what you offer, this step may vary. For example, if you're a religious author
marketing your upcoming book, your customers' needs will differ compared to someone seeking a
new congregation or a parent who is interested in a faith-based school. Some individuals seek
an experience whereas others may be more interested in information or accessibility.
Ask for and welcome any feedback from your members or customers. What do they feel you do perfectly? What would they change? What aspects of their experience could you improve? Always strive to solve the needs of those you want to reach.
Both sociologists and economists study religious organizations based on the need for strategic management. If you are not transitioning to online services, competing churches or groups could become problematic for your long-term growth. While it's important to help your community, you also need to remain competitive with other organizations that could step in if you're not meeting your audience's needs. While focusing on your content marketing strategy, turn to YouTube, Google, and social media. What are other spiritual brands talking about and how is it helping them progress?
When considering what content you'll publish, you'll want it to be searchable (consider
on-page SEO), consumable, and shareable. There are plenty of options, including ebooks,
blogs, social media content, and much more.
Blogging has been a successful approach for many churches and religious organizations, especially during COVID. Ministries are sharing their faith with an online audience instead of meeting in-person. More and more individuals and groups are seeing the value that branding provides, especially in terms of a well-designed website.
Case studies are also a great way to highlight members or inspiring events related to your religious brand. The better and more valuable your content is, the more likely it is that other websites will link to your site. Again, this is important for SEO and search volume.
To make your content ideas come to life, it's highly beneficial to invest in a professional
content writer. There are many writers online who have strong faith, providing a voice
that's transparent, passionate, and knowledgeable.
But where do you find a professional writer with these attributes? Although you can hire a writer in-house, this can be very costly. That's why many companies hire freelance writers from reputable content creation platforms. This allows them to get content when they need it, working with a team of hand-selected writers with proven experience in a chosen niche. This approach is also often the most efficient in terms of your time and budget.
A professional writer not only produces unique content but will also understand the value of keyword research and SEO.
Successful Religious and Spirituality Brands
Some of the most successful religious and spirituality-based brands are those who are proud to be different. To stand out from other churches or organizations in your area, you may offer services in languages other than English; or you may focus on the fact that your church partners with local charities to give back to those in need. Whatever your strategy, check out these websites to gain insight into those who have mastered digital marketing—and how they did it.
This Minneapolis-based brand has over 1.1 million Facebook followers
and over 622 thousand followers on Instagram. Founded by John Piper, Desiring God brings impactful
resources to those around the globe. Fueled by its community, this brand receives 98% of its budget
from donations. Upon visiting desiringgod.org you will
notice the main menu, full of resources. From articles to books, podcasts to sermons, Desiring God
has mastered content creation based on the needs of its audience. Their blog
features topics that are meaningful and thought-provoking, all of which are well-written and easy to share.
Based in Chicago, the Gospel Coalition aims to prepare the next generation for gospel-centered
ministry. This brand also has an impressive following on social media and is active on Facebook,
Twitter, and Instagram. When you visit thegospelcoalition.org,
the website itself is very professional and easy to navigate. The top menu features four options,
including editorial, podcasts, events, and about us. The coalition's homepage is full of content,
highlighting topics that showcase this church as a leader. Posting regularly, this brand's content
remains relevant, trending, and on-point.
James River Church is known for its online sermons
and podcasts. The James River Church also invests heavily in blogging and social media. Focusing
on all things related to leadership, Christian living, and culture, James River successfully
brings "church online" — bridging the gap between home and church life. Blog topics
discuss the interests and needs of their members, including everything from work satisfaction
to battling a lack of faith or belief.
Taking a unique approach, Breeze is "the world's
easiest web-based church management software for small to mid-sized churches." To increase organic
traffic and drive sales, this company has invested heavily in content — both on and off its website.
The company blog dives deep into the type of
topics that are important to their audience, including Resources to Lead Your Church to Change
and How to Re-engage Your Church Volunteers.
Based out of Claremont, California, Spirituality & Practice is a multi-faith website offering resources for those seeking a more spiritual path. By posting an average of two new posts a day, this website is able to draw in new readers while supporting their current followers. The content available on this site is vast, ranging from e-courses to books, quotes to blogs. This brand publishes a wide spectrum of topics, all of which support a common theme — exploring spiritual journeys. While Spirituality & Practice is active on numerous social platforms, they have been particularly successful on Facebook and Twitter.
Scripted Can Help Fuel Your Content Marketing Strategy
Scripted is proud to offer a community of expert writers, including those with personal and professional experience with religion and spirituality-based topics. Our all-in-one platform makes the hiring and content creation process seamless, ensuring you have more time to focus on the ins and outs of your business.
Whether you need press releases, product descriptions, blog posts, or any other type of content, the writers at Scripted can help you achieve your goals. Start browsing our selection of religion and spirituality writers today!