Who Are You Even Talking To?
Once we understand why we are communicating, we need to look at to whom we are communicating. If we don't have a good idea of who our audience is and how to communicate effectively to them, then all the good communication in the world will be pointless because you still aren't reaching the people you are trying to engage with.
Though every church is different, typically we all have the same groups of people we are working to reach: members and non-members. However within each of these groups we find several subgroups:
The Silent Generation (76+), Baby Boomers (55-75 years old), Generation X (40-54 years old), Millennials (25-39 years old) and Generation Z (4-24 years old). Based on the demographics of your church you may be dealing with every segment, or you may be dealing with only one or two. The key is to identify which groups are present at your church and how they tend to communicate. The hard part about communication is that it is an art, not a science. You may conduct all the research and studies in the world to determine the best communication methods for a specific group, but inevitably you will miss the mark. These groups are comprised of real people, all of whom are different from each other. The best thing to do is to identify the main communication methods that the majority of each group seems to be using. There will always be exceptions to the rule.
Here are some common ways that each generation tends to like to receive their information:
Silent Generation: Print
Baby Boomers: Print and Online
Generation X: Online
Generation Z: Online
Too often the technology of today leaves out older generations. The key is to learn to cater to all groups present within your church. Does that mean that we have to run the same information in two formats: print and online? Yes. However that doesn't have to mean double the work. The newsletter I create each month for church members gets placed on our website online in addition to being printed off for a small group of members who don't have access to the internet. However, it's the exact same document. That means that I upload my file to my website, and then I turn around and print off the same document. The key is to work more efficiently, not to do the same work twice over. Be looking for a blog post specifically related to my church newsletter and how I create a compelling document for both print and online viewing!