Tag Archives: news copywriter

Who, me? You say I should “be social” at General Convention?

The Strategy of Using Social Media at the Episcopal General Convention

by Susan Kleinwecher, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

The 77th General Convention of the Episcopal Church brings the opportunity for participants to share so much of their experiences in the governance of TEC and the shaping of the future of the church. And it is vital to do so, in ways perhaps unfamiliar to many. It’s insufficient in 2012 to simply go home and write a 2-page article and publish it along with the rest of your July news and email or snail-mail it to your normal recipients. Yes, by all means, do that, but do more, and do it during General Convention.

The “more” is important. It is vital to the life of our church in a time that we so clearly need to grow and reach further, especially to younger audiences, ones that will become the leadership of our church. It is vital to help “folks at home” understand the topics and discussions and decisions that shape our church.  It is important that we do this in a social context, because that’s where our reach is both strategic and effective.

It is heartening that so many dioceses have launched their convention publishing initiatives and sites, realizing why social media coverage is so important now:

  • Social networking has twice the click-throughs as email, reaching more of your audience.
  • Conversation about a subject engages more people than reporting about a subject.
  • Pictures and videos elicit more engagement than other forms of digital publication.
  • Social networking is a powerhouse for encouraging online engagement, improving and driving how people connect to your information.
  • When people feel more connected, they participate more and give more.

When we embrace and follow a new model of engagement and conversation, while not abandoning less timely, traditionally authoritative ones, we won’t leave any listeners behind, and we’ll grow new ones. It’s win-win.

Serious nonprofits use the social web in intentional ways, not as a gimicky playground, but as part of a larger communications strategy, driven by solid content.  Add to the content.  Be social at General Convention, on social media, perhaps in ways that are new to you.  Check in using Facebook or Foursquare so your peeps know you made it. Blog; perhaps enjoy the brevity of Tumblr. Post to Facebook, and Tweet about it all with hashtag #gc77. By all means, point us to your blogging on Twitter using #gc77 and a link shortened with bitly.com or goo.gl. Pin your good visual stuff, and tag it so we can find it. Add your ideas to the commentary every way you can.

The Church will be richer for the experiences and information you share in a timely manner and in newer ways.

 

Writing About Episcopal General Convention

Who, me? Write? I’m not a Reporter!

by Susan Kleinwecher, social media coordinator for the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth

It might have gone down like this: the bishop said, “You guys are all going to write during General Convention, and we are going to publish it. We’re not waiting until we get home.” Blank stares around the room, curt, affirmative nods, except from the excited communications director, who worked late into the night to get a small team very busy on the how. (There will be more on that). Did something like that happen with your convention possee?

For the next few weeks, deputies and alternates from all over the country are asked to become content creators and to publish things digitally. So here are some basic instructions for folks who are writing and publishing:

You must contribute.
Write about what is going on.
Write about the context surrounding what is going on.
Write what you think about what is going on.
Write about how you feel about what is going on.
Write about your spiritual experiences, connections and revelations.
Take pictures and video of what is going on.
Use the pictures and video to help people understand and connect to what you are writing about.
Write about what other people say is going on, and comment on their writings.
Quote other people.
Link to content that will help people understand what’s going on.

These are 10 basic instructions for writing about any event, to be re-used over and over. (Yeah, right; did the communications director make you say that? Is that director hinting that some of us are expected to do this for our ministry meetings and diocesan convention, too? )

words and voices by Design Decoration Craft, John Hopper

Few among us are news copywriters, but that’s OK. The largest shift that has occurred in communications lies in how much everyday people in the world, versus official reporters and designated authorities, are now publishing useful information to eager audiences.  News is not just broadcast at 6 pm and talked about at the dinner table, or read about in a morning paper or monthly newsletter.  It’s not just done by “the official source” who can always be expected to be fair and balanced.  It’s done by people watching and participating in what’s going on.

Another subtle difference and new communications concept is the opportunity to talk about a subject, not report on it. There is more to convention than governance discussions and outcomes; smaller stories matter, too.  Adam Wood, the up-and-coming Director of Online Development for the The Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth offers:

“We need to lay aside the outdated assumption that the only things worth talking about at General Convention are issues of finance, governance, and church polity. Sharing reflections on homilies and keynote addresses, revealing new ideas about mission and evangelism, conversing about the evolving theology in our church – it’s all worthy content.”

Recalling her previous participation at General Convention, Diocese of Fort Worth Communications Director Katie Sherrod shares, “There is so much, much more than governance, although reporting on what is done is important. What’s more important are the relationships the deputation develops and shares. The daily Bible study, the daily worship services have always been, for me, the best part of General Convention. To worship with 10,000 Episcopalians is a powerful experience. To get to do Bible study with an Episcopalian from Haiti, or Taiwan, or from the European Convocation of Churches, or Puerto Rico, or Honduras enlarges one’s perspective in all sorts of ways. Many Episcopalians may not realize The Episcopal Church has congregations in 16 countries.”

So, yes, YOU, write! All of you! Everywhere! Photograph! Record! Publish! Comment! Dive in! You’ll find your voice.