19/10/2018

How national digital success can lead to local growth

A Church Near You is at the heart of a national strategy to make the most of its digital communications

"Without a doubt, A Church Near You is coming into its own as an important part of our communications to support and stimulate local church growth", so said Stuart Haynes, Director of Communications following his presentation about digital communications to Diocesan Synod.

His presentation came before the national team's success at the national Digital Impact Awards where the church beat stiff competition from top brands to win a host of awards. The national team's success vindicates the strategic investment from Archbishops' Council, an investment that has paid great dividends seeing the revamp of both A Church Near You and the Church of England's website as well as launching campaigns such as #LiveLent and this year's #FollowTheStar campaign.

But Stuart isn't looking for anywhere near that level of investment to come to the diocesan communications team. "why would we do that" he explains "now that the national operation has a clear focus our aim is to encourage local parishes and worshipping communities to use the national content and join with the national campaigns, They are producing excellent stuff which is free for us all to use and share - so why not take advantage of this.

So why the emphasis on A Church Near You? "One of the things that the team recognised was the potential of A Church Near You. As a source of information about the local church and the connection between digital evangelism, all roads lead to A Church Near You. Every national campaign is focussed on trying to drive traffic to a Church Near You so that people can connect with the local church"

Stuart emphasised one action that every church can take. "Update your site and do it now. Make sure you have all your advent and Christmas events and services on it; check your basic details - contacts and other areas are correct, and start to think about uploading your events for next year's Bishops' In Mission"

And what's more, the national team have now arranged that you can make your A Church Near You site your own website with your unique web address. Ideal for churches who haven't the ability to create their own sites and with the potential to save the church at least a million pounds.

"The national team won awards for Impact" explains Stuart, "the impact it can have on you is an easy way to be a bigger church making a bigger difference using their creativity and resources to help reach more people and bring them to church. Taking part in the #FollowTheStar campaign will bring you attention  -  a good A Church Near You site will help you make the best of all that creative work"

Find out more about A Church Near You below and how to #FollowTheStar in the sidepanel.

For more help, advice, and encouragement in digital communications contact stuart.haynes@liverpool.anglican.org

About A Church Near You

We're delighted to announce that phase two of A Church Near You is now ready for you to explore.This includes lots of new features that editors have requested. We hope you're as pleased with it as we are, and find these changes helpful as you get ready for Advent and Christmas.
 

As we outlined in our last email, the upgrade we're launching today includes the ability to add news stories and news sheets, a gallery and, most excitingly, the option of using your ACNY page as your website by forwarding your domain name to A Church Near You. When logged in, you will now also be able to see your analytic information on your church's page, showing you how many people have visited your page this week, month and year.
 

As ever, our editor help centre is on hand to guide you through the new features, so if you would like some help, do read the help articles provided:
 

Update A Church Near You and #FollowTheStar so that you can make the best use of digital communications this advent and Christmas

News & Events

Five ways to #FollowTheStar

#FollowTheStar is the Church of England’s 2018 Christmas campaign. Our main aim for the campaign is to encourage people into a local church service or event to share in the joy of Jesus’ birth.

Here are five ways your church can get involved with the campaign:
  1. Update your church page on A Church Near You! Last year we saw a 50 per cent increase in services and events listed last year on the website. Make sure you tag your services with ‘FollowTheStar’ as well as ‘Christmas’, ‘mince pies’ ‘mulled wine’, ‘Advent’ and ‘Christmas carols’ as appropriate.
     
  2. Become a ‘star church’ by displaying stars prominently. The bigger and more visible the better. If possible, illuminate at night and share on social media on Friday, 21 December to be part of the ‘night of the stars’. More details will follow on this in the weeks ahead.
     
  3. Help us to share our Christmas videos and social media posts through your social media accounts. We’re producing an interactive family Advent and Christmas calendar and videos to encourage people into local churches.
     
  4. Order the #FollowTheStar: A Journey Through the 12 Days of Christmas booklets. The resource has been written by The Revd Dr Isabelle Hamley and features a welcome from the Archbishops of Canterbury and York. The booklets are available individually and in bulk-savings packs for congregations and visitors to your church to use. View a sample copy and buy copies from Church House Publishing. From late November 2018, users can sign up to receive the daily reflections by e-mail and through an Android or iOS app.
     
  5. Download and buy posters, logos and other resources. We’ve partnered with CPO on a range of resources that can be bought on the Church Print Hub website. In addition, digital resources can be found on our website