Bad communication requests are the reason for many problems for communication teams.
We have a saying at Church Comm Team:
Bad requests equal bad results.
We’ve found it to be true over and over again. However, when church staff members are responsible for turning in requests for communications, design, web updates, etc, they often don’t know what it is they need or want anyway.
That’s why we provide training on request forms and spend time defining terms for everyone. Maybe you should do the same for your staff?
If you do, here are 4 basic elements of any good communication request.
Communication Request Element 1: Logistics
This is all the info someone would need to actually take part in whatever it is you’re talking about. Most requests from church departments have to do with events or programs taking place either in person or online and require some details. The location, time, cost, audience it’s for, and any other pertinant info are necessary for a communications team to do their job.
This also includes information such as when registration closes or if there is a deadline for payment. If the people you want to show up need to know it, then the comms team needs to know it.
Communication Request Element 2: Context
Context is actually the one element that requestors often misunderstand or skip altogether. This element of a good request simply consists of the “why” someone should care about whatever it is you’re requesting graphics and such for. On our request form at Church Comm Team, we ask that they give us a blurb that does NOT contain logistics. If we need to rewrite it, we can, but what we really need to hear is how we are supposed to talk about the event being requested on social media, in emails, or on the website.
I find it’s best to give an example. The comms team needs to know if there is a guest speaker, prizes, music, games, teaching, etc that would make them want to attend or take part in what you’re advertising. If you can’t answer the question “Why should they care?” then don’t do it.
Also, I should say this about this element: it surprises me how many church leaders think that because someone goes to church, believes in Jesus, and understands that they should grow in their faith they should have all the answers they need for this question. Obviously, all they need is the info and they’ll show up because they already know why they should take part, right?
Wrong. People often don’t do what they know is best for them. If they did, we’d all eat more vegetables. But until vegetables taste like buffalo wings, it’s a tough sell.
Communication Request Element 3: Visuals
Graphics? A video? A drawring? You’re going to need something to give a visual representation to people about whatever it is you’re requesting nine times out of ten. The exception might be for when you request an email only to go out about something, but even then, you could drop an image in there to add that often sought-after “pop” and “pizzazz.”
But the bottom line is that if you’re going to talk about your event, activity, Bible Study, etc on social media, your website, in your email newsletter, or even on stage live, it’s good to have a graphic to illustrate it. A visual will give people a quick reference for the event when they are looking through your calendar to find out more about it.
Communication Request Element 4: Call to Action
What do you want them to DO when they hear about your event? Register? Email someone? Add it to their calendar? Just show up? Don’t forget this crucial element of a good request so that the comms team can put links and forms online in the best places. This will make it easier to take part in whatever experience you’re building for them, so make sure you have that call to action ready when you request all the other work.
These four elements are necessary for any good request, so if your request form doesn’t get this information from each request turned in, it’s time to revisit your form!
If you’d like help with this sort of thing, check out what we do at churchcommteam.com and let’s work together!