Church Bulletins: Transitioning from print to digital

Remember 1992 when Superman died in DC Comic’s #175 then re-appeared in various forms? Well, that’s kinda what we did with our church bulletin…

Old bulletin cover 8.5"x5.5" size

Old bulletin cover 8.5"x5.5" size

First off, we didn’t kill our bulletin. Some people thought we did, but that really wasn’t the case. We just changed the way we do church bulletins. In fact, the change seems to be doing a lot of good so far!

Here’s what we did.

We stopped one thing and developed three outlets that accomplish the same goal with greater efficiency, track-ability, and with huge savings in time and money.

  • NO — Big multi-page booklet bulletin handed out each week
  • YES! — Small “bullet” card with brief event info handed out weekly
  • YES! — eBulletin emailed out midweek with links to event signup and more info
  • YES! — A few copies of weekly “Info Sheets” available at Guest Services for those who don’t email.

eBulletin

We stopped making the 8.5″x5.5″ multi-page booklets that we were spending more than a dime apiece on each week. We reduced the size of the bulletin to what we call a “Bullet” (8.5″x3.66″). These Bullets are black/white (except for special occasions like Easter and probably Christmas) on heavy stock and cost us about a penny apiece.  The Bullet only has limited info on them and are blank on the back for notes if someone needs paper. For those die-hard fans of printed paper, we have a hard copy with an extended list of events, family info (deaths, births, & weddings) available at our Guest Services Desk…though these are getting fewer and fewer requests for theses just a month into the new system.  We also started a digital or “eBulletin” which is e-mailed out midweek each week and links people directly to more information about featured events or opportunities. See the archives here.

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Twitter becomes a corporate tool for handling PR problems

Here’s an example of how corporations are using Twitter to handle PR problems effectively!

Southwest, apparently schooled in its social networking knowhow, responded quickly and efficiently to the impending PR disaster, contacting Smith directly through its own Twitter account with tweets such as “Hey folks – trust me, I saw the tweets from @ThatKevinSmith I’ll get all the details and handle accordingly!

Read the whole story at Death + Taxes Magazine.

The Washington Post Scrubs a Post about the Post : CJR

Here’s an interesting article about the editing of opinion articles–which is what I consider a blog even from a news writer — in the Washington Post.

On Wednesday, Bill Turque, the Washington Post’s education beat reporter, posted an excellent blog item showing his readers a little bit of the inside game at his paper. It was titled “One Newspaper, Two Stories”—a title that, by the end of the day, would become more apt than Turque ever could have expected.

That’s because editors pulled the post off the site Wednesday night, replacing it hours later with a new, dialed-back version.

via The Washington Post Scrubs a Post about the Post : CJR.

So how much free speech is free when your own editors re-write and don’t indicate that they changed your work? Sure some editing is part of an editor’s job but an opinion article that no longer expresses the writer’s opinion seems to be off track.

What do you think?

Circle(s) of friends

Meaningful relationships are highly sought after treasures, but friendship is taking on a different meaning in a social media world where it has become a race to have the most friends who can be dropped like a bag of soggy chips.

Earlier this year Harvard Professor Greg Mankiw reached the limit of Facebook’s friend list after using his account “for the soul purpose of accumulating ‘friends’.” Then he promplty shut down his account (or at least tried). I don’t really care whether Mankiw wants to be on Facebook, but I think it’s an interesting example of how friendships have become a bulk commodity. Has social media turned friendship into more of a numbers game and less about real relationships?

Personally, Facebook is a tool for staying in touch with friends old and new, kind of how Christmas cards or family newsletters use to be. I use Facebook more as a means to stay in touch and share ideas now and again, but call me old fashioned…I’d rather you send an e-mail than post a message on my wall or send it through Facebook.  I am exploring ways to use Facebook for it’s great group and event capabilities which.

So, does Facebook enhance or water down the relationships in your life?  For me, Facebook makes me feel closer to people I haven’t seen in years, and it gives me conversation starters and tidbits of information (photos, videos, comments) about my nearby friends that comes in as good conversation starters when we hang out. So, despite the expanding connectinos to friends old and new, I think Facebook can do a lot for connecting friends. For actually building relationships, there’s still nothing like a good face to face conversation.

Facebook ads provide budget-pleasing advertising to specific masses

Advertising on Facebook is convenient, easy to setup and can be pretty effective! We can select a specific audience by age, location, interests, etc. and then bid on how much we are willing to pay per click that we get. A nice thing is that we can limit our expenses per day so we don’t go over budget.Facebook ad

For our leadership conference we wanted to get the news out to the online crowd. Using Facebooks advertising we made one (see at right). We’ve drew about 13% of those who came to our leadership site through this ad.

To track traffic to our websites we make use of Google’s Analytics and run reports for leadership through the free tools Google provides. Pretty handy.