Church bulletins are printed in churches every week. They cost lots of money and yet, most congregants leave them in the church right after the service is done. These lead to a lot of wasted paper and money. Is there another way out perhaps?
Yes, church bulletins online. They can be very useful because 1) they live in the smartphone of your church members 2) save a lot of paper 3) they save you from all the printing costs.
In this article we will show you how to write church bulletins online. You can distribute these bulletins via email, on your social media networks, and even in various church groups if you have them.
- Digital bulletin strategies
- Content Ideas to Include
- Structure, Design and Branding
- Distribution Ideas for the Church Bulletin
- Examples of Church Bulletins Online
- Tools for Creating Bulletins
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1. Digital bulletin strategies
In order to make your bulletins effective for achieving the goals you want for your church, it is important to consider using a few strategies that have worked in most other churches. This will ensure you get the best results out of your efforts.
Here are some strategies to consider;
Some church bulletins can be very detailed. In fact, too detailed to be any useful. We have seen 4-page printed bulletins where someone can hardly read because the font is too small and it has too much information.
It is important to figure out which information is important for each bulletin while leaving out the rest. Get a grip of all the essential information; surely, everything cannot be essential.
Make it Fun
There is the idea that churches are serious places. However, seriousness does not mean you make your bulletin boring. It can still be fun.
Boring bulletins make people not want to read. A bulletin is like a book, if it is not any fun, no one reads it.
To make your digital church bulletins more interesting, include some of the following ideas:
- Funny videos from past church services
- Interactive and relatable memes and GIFs
- Punchlines or quotes relating to common issues
Include Images and other visuals
The power of images and videos has changed how marketing happens all around the world. Images, videos, and other visuals now communicate in the true meaning of "a picture is worth a thousand words"
The use of visuals in your bulletin helps cut down on the number of words you will need to write. In addition, several other advantages abound when using images. We came across a presentation discussing the power of visuals to help you write better bulletins.
If you are wondering what call-to-actions are, no need to wonder anymore. They are buttons or linking text included in any copy to direct people on what to do. For church bulletins, including call-to-actions gets people to take action.
For instance, if a bulletin is announcing an event and you would like to show people the location on google maps, you put a link on the bulletin saying something like "for location details, click here".
If you would like church goers to fill in a form for registration to an event, including a link to the form and the button to access it counts as a call-to-action.
Would you like people to take action in your bulletins? Show them how by adding those call-to-actions.
Keep it short
Every day your congregants are flooded with emails in their inboxes from you and hundreds of other companies. To encourage reading of your bulletins, keep them short. This goes back to the initial point about only providing essential information.
As a matter of fact, essential information plus images/visuals reduce your amount of text considerably.
Make use of lists
People like lists. There are psychological reasons to support that. Some of them include:
- Lists are less taxing on the brain as compared to endless blocks of text
- They are easy to scan for required information
- People are too busy to read all the text. Therefore, they want to scan and move to something else
- Lists are definitive. They help people to know the number of things in the discussion
A good idea for your bulletin that you can try out would be to number it. For instance, "10 things you should know for this coming Sunday". In such a case, people will scroll down scanning through all the 10 things. If they find something worthy of note for them they will probably act on it because listing helped them skim through much faster.
2. Content Ideas to Include in Church Bulletins
To get the best out of your church bulletins, it is good to have great content ideas. We have checked many church bulletins and found that they usually have the following content:
- Details of the upcoming service – This includes the time and number of services, speakers, location and a list of worship songs that will be used for the service.
- Scriptures for the upcoming service – Some church bulletins also include a list of the scriptures that will be read throughout the church service.
- Announcements and News – Any important announcements from the church or its members can also be included here.
- Upcoming Events – Churches have plenty of events. The most important ones can be added to the church bulletins online.
- New Opportunities – Are there any upcoming volunteering or partnership opportunities? These would be good to link to from your church bulletins.
- Welcome visitors – New church members can get a link to a form to leave their details and also be contacted later.
- Employment opportunities – Does your church have any job opportunities? Make an announcement in the bulletins.
- Monthly calendar – A link to the church calendar to show what is happening throughout the month can also be helpful for church members to stay in the loop and take action when they need to.
3. Structure, Design and Branding
Church bulletins, just like church newsletters, require a taste of design and structure. When the page is well structured, it shows organisation. Furthermore, it helps people to read much easier and faster.
The following are some considerations for good church bulletins structure and design:
Header and logo
Your church bulletin needs to start off with a header. On this header, your church name and logo need to be there. This is where the eyes of your contacts will look first before anywhere else. They need to recognize the church first before anything else.
In addition, the inclusion of your logo and church branding on the header helps your branding to become the main stay in their brains. Within 6-7 times, they will remember the logo without trying too hard. In every bulletin you send out, you will always have new subscribers. Consequently, this needs to be a permanent element of your church bulletins.
Titles and Subtitles
For every bulletin item, you need a title for it. You might want to include subtitles in some instances but it is not necessary.
Consider having titles in a bigger font, smaller fonts for the subtitles and the body gets the smallest font size. Moreover, make sure the body of the text is easily readable.
Church colours and fonts
As with any church, brand colours are important and they must feature in the design of the newsletter. The headers and footers also provide good page areas to make use of your brand colours. In the bulletin body, you might not do a lot of colour changes for ease of reading.
Without a doubt, your fonts need to be consistent in type and colour. This might look like a small detail, but there are fonts that are quite difficult to read. In addition, inconsistency in fonts on a bulletin make it difficult for people to remember your brand.
Some churches prefer to have a logo on the footer section of the digital bulletin. Others prefer to have a picture of the church pastor together with contact information for the church like in the example below:
The design of your footer has to be considered as an important place to brand either through visual identity, contact information or both.
4. Distribution Ideas for Church Bulletins
Once you have your church bulletin online, you have to find a way to distribute them. The reason most churches distribute bulletins through physical handouts every church day is because they believe it is an easier way to reach all the people coming to their church.
However, due to the wasteful nature of printed church bulletins, more and more churches are moving to the new age of technology. And distribution is a huge part of it.
Below are some distribution methods to use for your church bulletins online:
Newsletters are a big help in staying in contact with all your church members. To keep your community active and involved, you need to send them a few newsletters every month. Your church bulletins online can be sent out as newsletters on the eve of every Sunday or Saturday.
Sending them early allows your church congregants to prepare for the sermon. Additionally, when they receive the church bulletin newsletters early there is a high chance they will read all of it before the service. This helps churches too because a lot of people get the physical bulletins when entering church and just don't read them because they are focused on the sermon's proceedings.
Make sure to collect emails of your church members often to keep the number of your newsletter subscribers growing.
Broadcasting your digital church bulletins on social media can also be a great way to distribute them. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are great places to distribute and share your church bulletins once they are ready.
The most ideal way to distribute on Facebook and Twitter is to share an excerpt and a link. On Instagram you can share screenshots of the bulletin.
Does your church have a website? Make a point of having a place on your website where all your church bulletins online live. Arrange updates by dates so that the most recent ones are easy to find. Northwood church has a great version of a digital bulletin that lives on their site as a page here.
Make use of groups on Telegram, WhatsApp, and Facebook to also distribute your church bulletins. Most churches now have various groups for a few different things including the main church group, youth group, children ministry group, and bible study groups. Share the link to the church bulletins there when ready.
5. Examples of Church Bulletins Online
We found two great examples of church bulletins online that are sent as newsletters to the congregation before their Sunday service. Here they are:
Example 1: Harvest Christian Fellowship
Example 2: Horizon Christian Fellowship
6. Tools for Creating Bulletins
You are probably looking at the church bulletin examples above and wondering which tool you will use to create them. Worry not! because we know just the perfect tool for that.
Get a Newsletter
Using this tool, you can design church bulletins that look like the ones in our examples. In addition, you can use the newsletter capabilities of this tool to send out church bulletins to all your subscribers and contacts.