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The Circle of Content & Engagement

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You create and post content, you promote and communicate, and your users visit. But do they just visit once? What draws them back to visit your site again?

If you create content just once, or only now and then, it’s more of a straight line effort. You did all the work to get the content on your site and promote people to visit that content, but if you stop there, it ends all too soon. Having a website that’s productive and useful is a circle. More content must flow, but it must also be varied content that motivates users to return to your website.

Most of our customers being churches and Christian schools need to build continual engagement with their audience. A one time visit is not the purpose of the site. Continual visits, even a dependency on knowing that the website is the go-to place for information, is the goal.

Ideas for Creating Continual Engagement

Assuming you are already posting calendar schedules and promoting larger events on your website, let’s delve into some other content ideas.

  1. Create dependability and dependency. Be faithful with the content you post. Your users need to trust that your site will always be their quick go-to place for certain content. Keep that up and expand what they can depend on the site for.
  2. Work hard – and be creative – to get information on your website BEFORE you promote in print / in your building. Knowing that the website gets the “sneak peeks” or “heads-up” content will encourage many users to continually visit. Communicate this among your staff and make it a goal to figure out how you can do this effectively and consistently.
  3. Post exclusive content on your website. Not quite the same as above, this is where you have expanded or totally exclusive content that isn’t available anywhere else. Examples of this can include:
    • Pictures, or more pictures if you also post them elsewhere, of any event, everyday happening, auction items, building happenings, etc.
    • Glimpses into the before-the-scenes or behind-the-scenes of any event (such as how you are setting the stage for a special event, or how the costumes are coming, or how you are organizing for a large food drive, etc.)
    • Teachers have a wealth of opportunity. Ideas can include links to website resources that support lesson plans or homework, classroom pics that didn’t make it into the newsletter, helpful hints for homework, head’s up about testing, field trips, or other classroom happenings.
    • Churches can post expanded content on Sunday School or Children’s lessons, more about their youth events – which can range from links to lesson resources, or simply pictures of children in classes.
  4. Consider a blog for posting devotionals or thoughts.
  5. Create announcements (in addition to a calendar item) to more easily promote, remind and communicate about events and happenings.
  6. Be sure to use Social Media and your website together. Once you have content up on your site, either use Social Stream* to automatically post to your social media streams, and/or manually post.  (*Watch for a future blog on tips for using social media and your website together.)
  7. Push every type of content possible through your website first. Make your website the center “hub” allowing users to trust that no matter where or how the content is published, they can find it, or a link to it, on your site. While some users may be comfortable following your organization on YouTube or Twitter, others may not and they would miss your updates otherwise. Examples would include:
    • Embedding videos on your site, instead of just posting the YouTube link on Facebook (post the link to your website page that has the video instead).
    • Posting sermons and audio files on your website
    • Putting feeds (streams) of your Twitter, Facebook, Flickr, etc. on your website for easy access.

Hopefully the ideas above can start your own brainstorming process, but the biggest tip I would share with you is to plan a content schedule. Pushing content out requires discipline, and making this a calendar item with set deadlines is usually essential for actually getting this task done. You can always create your content as needs arise, but have a game plan – and a calendar or plan – for posting regular updates.

Faithwebsites customers can consider using these tools to help easily create and update content: image gallery, integrated blogging tool, announcements database & tools, message board, calendar, and social stream.

 

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