Methodists in the Media
As Methodist we are called to “tell the story” and not just to each other. Getting the word out to local media about what Methodists are up to is part of every local church’s challenge. Read about the successes of several congregations and learn new tips on how to duplicate this strategy in your community.
“Go ye” and spread the gospel requires prayer, effort and a good bit of communication. Several congregations across the TAC are leveraging local media outlets to better tell their story and get the word out about new pastors, special community ministry events and other messages that provide additional awareness and outreach. Check out the story links below and tips on generating publicity in your local community.
Greg Miller of League City UMC, a former reporter, advises congregations to write and send a complete article – with photo -- to make it easy on the media outlets. He is very successful in getting church related stories in the League City newspaper, but is even more excited that his article announcing the recent arrival of Rev. Joel McMahon made it into the Bay Area Citizen, a regional newspaper. Examine style and content here.
Karla Goolsby, Communications Director for Strawbridge UMC, Humble, also shares a tip about her latest “Methodists in the Media” success story. “I recently read a helpful tip about making press releases more interactive by including links. So, I sent an article with links that was picked up in the media and we are very happy with the results.
Rev. John Black of First UMC, Rosenberg shares this recent article featuring a “seasonal story” related to Back-to-School activities involving members of all ages.
St. Paul's UMC, Houston Labyrinth was recently featured on Fox26's Faith in Action segment.
Nettie Clay, a member of Lee Chapel UMC,Bryan, was honored with a 2013 Jefferson Award this spring which landed her on the news. The Texas Annual Conference salutes Nettie for her public service. Her daily routine is visiting hospitals and nursing homes in the Brazos Valley delivering flowers with a prayer. Watch her interview.
Here are additional publicity tips to help you better tell the story of your local congregation:
1. Get newsworthy information into the hands of the media. Make a habit of sending out press releases (or better yet, complete articles) on a regular basis about your events, special speakers, or anything impacting the community at large. Use a web search to find specific names and media contact information rather than sending information without a defined destination.
2. Get to know the reporters of the daily and weekly newspapers. Position yourself with them as an accessible and reliable source and a key authority to be featured in future stories. The best media lists are the ones you personally create; familiarize yourself with a particular reporter’s work and style, when possible.
3. Become an advertiser. When affordable, ads allow you to build brand equity with an audience. By seeing your name in other contexts, readers learn to trust you and value you.
4. Send thank you notes to reporters who feature your church in stories. They will remember your personal touch and will keep you in mind as a good source in the future.
5. Leverage Post Publicity Sending or emailing a photo, in a timely fashion, with a brief description of the event and people in the photo will give you a second chance for news coverage. Try to include a few interesting highlights or quotes from those involved.