You've spent a lot of time organising your Christmas events and services, so make sure as many people as possible know about them!
The first thing to remember is to think about the language you use:
Mind your language
Make your welcome message current and invitational.
We assume people know they are always welcome in church, but the sad truth is that many don’t realise that or find it intimidating.
A genuine, warm, welcome will ease any anxiety.
However, do try not to use:
- 'Join us' - although it sounds welcoming, many perceive this as them having to join in the activity of an exclusive club that they are unfamilar with. Instead, try 'Come along to...', 'All welcome'
- 'our church' - again, this sounds like they are joining an established club. Instead, try 'the church', or even 'your church' if it fits the context
- Don't go heavy on the theology! Many people who go to church only once or twice a year may not be thinking about the original significance of Christmas; to them, it is a time for families, lights, trees and togetherness - and that is a great start! An invitation to enjoy carols and a Christmas atmosphere will resonate with some more than 'celebrate the birth of Jesus', so be sure to consider all audiences and not just those who are already engaged with the Church. Remember: write for your intended audience, not for yourself!
Where to spread the word
Don't rely on just one method of getting your event known about.
Channels you can use include:
- Local event publications
- Local newspapers and local radio stations
- Social media
Poster top tips
- Limit the number of fonts you use (two is plenty) and ensure that they are easy to read.
- Limit the information included to the essentials, if you need to say more include a link to your website or social media.
- Keep it simple - one large image is generally better than lots of smaller ones.
- Don't be afraid of white space!
- Ask someone to check your work before you print.
- Is it clear what the event is?
- Have you included the date, time and place?
How to promote your event on Facebook
Once you have your event planned, you might think the simple option is to post a picture of your poster on Facebook. No!
Posters shared on your page are not searchable, meaning that anyone looking for an event near them will not see it, as Facebook sees this only as a picture and doesn't know what it says.
By far the best option is to set up an event on your Facebook page - that will allow people searching to find you and your event.
People can also share the event; reply to say they are attending - and that will show in their timeline, meaning their friends might also see it and want to attend.
It is like word of mouth online!
You can also invite people to the event to help spread the word
Setting up events is easy, and Facebook has a brilliant help section taking you through the process step-by-step.
The tutorials are available as text to read or as a series of short videos, however you prefer to learn.
Promote on X (formerly Twitter)
X can play a great role in promoting your Christmas services and events and now is theperfect time to take a few moments and makesure your profile picture and information are upto date.
Use images but remember that they don't show up in searches so include text too.
Good tweets are engaging, thought provoking and open.
Where possible, use warm and welcoming words, not isolating ones.
For maximum audience reach, look for active community online groups in your area and share the tweet with them.
Connect with your community
Putting a poster up on your noticeboard is great, but don't forget to put them up in places that people outside of your congregation can see them.
Think about:your local school, shops, scout and guide groups, library, village hall, WI group and supermarket.
Have a look at local facebook groups and share your event with them too.
Use your local media
Don't forget to let your local newspaper and radio station know about your events.
At the very least, send them a list of your events but better still, send them a well-written press realease.
If your event has a strong visual element (eg a Christmas Tree Festival) let your regional TV broadcasters know too - they're always looking for potential colourful and interesting images.