Sunday, November 21, 2010

More Christmas promotion ideas part 2

Thanks for your comments and thoughts on part 1 on creating a good Christmas carol concert. Further to my first post here are some more things to consider.

Free media exposure

There are some good free strategic media opportunities your church can harness to promote your Christmas carols. Obviously 96five is a good way of getting some free publicity via the 96five Events Calendar and their community service announcements.

The other good free media you can access is the free suburban newspaper delivered to letterboxes around your neighbourhood. These newspapers are a great resource for a church to promote not just your Christmas events but other events you might be running across the year. For your Carol publicity you need to create a simple media release highlighting the important details of where, when and what is on. In the media release you need to have a simple hook like a ‘Christmas carol concert where the whole family can come and sing their favourite Christmas carols.’ I would keep the media release to one paragraph detailing the vent and then in bullet points the details of where and when. Also list the photo opportunity available prior to the event.

This is important because what you actually want in the paper is a big photo with small copy. That will get readers interest. I think your photo opportunity needs to include a couple of kids and maybe a candle with a song sheet. Make sure you include your contact details especially your mobile number.

Using outside groups

Another way of attracting an audience who don’t normally attend your church is to have other community groups part of your onstage audience. Virtually every primary school has a choir and I suggest you contact them 3 months or even 6 months out and invite them to be part of your event. Allow that choir to do 2 items as a group and even include them as a backing choir to other singers. Every choir member will mean at least another two adults plus siblings and maybe even grandparents. It costs you nothing to have them there and will add to the success of your community event.

Even think laterally about this. Why not host a Christmas carol idol at your local school or schools for solo or small groups to be part of the on the night performance. Heats and semi finals can be held at the school to see who wins. This starts to create a free buzz in the school community about your events.

What can you do out of the norm to get some community involvement and publicity for your Christmas Carol event.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Making your Christmas Carols a winner

As I am writing this blog some 6 weeks out from Christmas I am having also sorts of thoughts about Christmas music, Christmas traditions and just quietly Christmas food.
None of these are reasons why I am writing this blog. The intent is to provide some thought, inspiration to those church ministers who are planning their annual Christmas carols concert.

These are my observations from being part of heaps of carol events as a participant in the audience, as an MC, or part of a promotions team. Read this with an open mind. It isn’t a to do list but something to think about in your planning for your event.

You are not Hillsong or Citipointe or a church with a major music team so don’t try and over achieve with your event.

There seems to be a trend for large numbers of unchurched families to attend local community Christmas carols. Why? I think it is because most parents want to have their children experience something they experienced when they were children growing up. Call it nostalgia if you like but I think it is a powerful motivation for going to a church Christmas carol concert. Adults remember what it was like as a child with a candle (or torch) singing traditional Christmas carols on a warm balmy night.

They see a local Christmas carol concert as an opportunity to bring the family together around a candle or glow stick and have a bit of a family sing-along. In fact for some families it is the only time they have a sing-along. So my suggestion is don’t complicate the traditional songs by making them fancy with huge production values. Maybe leave that to the big churches and you concentrate on being traditional. Include the opportunities for candles or glow sticks or torches. Have it outdoors if you trust the weather or indoor at your church.

Nostalgia is a powerful driver in today’s society which is looking for some old fashion values. I also believe it is the thing that will allow their kids to attend Sunday school and youth group as they look for programs with old fashion values they grew up with.

My final couple of points to make your event meaningful.

Make sure everyone leaves your event with an invite brochure/card to your Christmas Eve or Day service. This card should contain the service times (including how long it lasts eg 8am for 1 hour Christmas morning), your church website address and physical address, phone number and church email address plus if you have a Facebook page or twitter account put it on. People love social media and any way you connect them to your church the better. Keep the invite to a size suitable to be stuck on the fridge.

The key is to try and keep your event simple and appropriate to the strengths of your church and engaging to your community. Plenty of community singing to traditional tunes, the odd special item and a short punchy message with an invitation to church on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.

Over to you for your thoughts.