May 25, 2021
Staffing Your Communications and Marketing Team in a Hybrid Church
In this article, we are going to help you take a deep breath and discover who your church needs on the team to execute on your hybrid communications plan!
Welcome back to the Hybrid Church series! In this collection of articles, we’re exploring what makes up an effective Hybrid Church, shifts required to make a meaningful jump forward, and how you can prepare for (and enjoy) the journey ahead.
Do you remember the days of paper bulletins? A church’s comm leader used to perform many tasks in the church, not always related to communications, and that paper bulletin used to be one of the biggest communications pieces churches produced. Fast-forward to today where there are more methods to communicate with the people both inside and outside your church than you could ever hope to master! Just trying to create a communications plan can trigger anxiety galore!
In this article, we are going to help you take a deep breath and discover who your church needs on the team to execute on your communications plan!
(In case you missed our first article, we defined the Hybrid Church model as equal parts physical and digital ministry and the measure of success as relationship-building through connections. Read it here.)
BUILDING A COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING TEAM IN A HYBRID CHURCH
There may be a church that exists with the unlimited budget to hire a dream team of creative people to fully staff their communications and marketing strategies, but the reality is most churches (and even businesses) can’t do that! So while we can name all sorts of people that will be helpful to have on your staff, if you don’t know their strategic purpose or how they add to your ministry, we can guarantee it won’t do you a bit of good!
Our topic may be on how to staff your communications and marketing team in a hybrid context, but figuring out who to hire isn’t the first step! The first step is actually to make a plan using a few questions...
So let’s start at the top:
1) Who is setting the direction for your ministry overall and the communication strategy at your church?
Here's the shift: This should be more than just the Lead Pastor.
Your church may have a leadership team that makes these kinds of decisions or you may even have someone that is in charge of your digital communication like a Digital Pastor or even a Creative Director. Regardless of where your staffing is at currently, you need to first know what your strategy is and, if you have someone in the role of Creative Director or Communications Director, they should now be present at the meetings where strategies are being set, and even be part of the leadership team moving forward.
“Communications is not just an implementation aspect of your church anymore.” - Aimee Cottle, Director of Marketing
Once you know what you are trying to accomplish with your marketing and communications, you can ask:
2) Who is leading the execution of that strategy?
These are going to be our Creative Directors, Content Managers, Digital Directors, and Hospitality/Guest Services people. These are the ones that will utilize every tool in their belt and make sure your strategies are being brought to life.
And finally, you need to identify:
3) Who is responsible for implementing these strategies?
Do you have full-time or part-time people on staff that will be implementing these or will it be a team of volunteers or freelancers?
Usually this group contains your Project Managers, Writers, Visual/Graphic Designers, Videographers, Photographers, Digital/Social Media/Marketing Specialists, Analytics/Data Support, Programmers, and more!
Remember… every church is different. Don’t think that if you don’t have a full-time person in each of these roles (or a person in those roles at all), then you aren’t doing communications and marketing well. It’s very rare that a church has someone in each of these roles.
I’VE ANSWERED THOSE QUESTIONS. NOW HOW DO I START FINDING THE PEOPLE TO FILL THOSE ROLES?
Before you start posting job descriptions to hire on a bunch of new staff, we recognize that for many, if not most churches, you probably already have some people that could help you make progress on your communications strategies.
We believe that a church should aim for at least 2-4 full-time communications staff or the part-time equivalent of those hours. But if your church can’t start there or needs to make do with what you have, we recommend only looking at the next three months.
What strategies does your church need to implement in the next three months? Of those strategies, which one is your highest priority? What gaps do you have preventing you from accomplishing your goals in these months?
If you are restricted from hiring new staff, take a hard look at the gifted people you have at your church. Is there someone who could volunteer 2 hours per week who is a good writer, photographer, or graphic designer? Are there people already on staff that have a particular skill you could use?
We rarely want to discourage you from hiring people for your communications and marketing team, but if you’re still defining clear direction and strategies for the future of your ministry, hiring talented people will rarely fix that problem.
It’s a big world out there. You don’t have to have a killer TikTok or be a YouTube star to start building your communications and marketing team. You just need a clear vision, solid strategies to impact your community, and to execute one step at a time.
We are excited to see where your ministry goes and we hope you are ready to take the first step in building your hybrid church communications and marketing team!