Should pastors blog? What about Facebook?

Blogging is self-publishing. The value that professional publishers provide is to bring readers to your work. One way they do this is to ensure that the work is quality work. They also find ways to monetize, or make money, from your work, which allows them to be paid and you to be paid. If you self-publish, that task falls to you … with the freedom to do everything your way and all of the money which is produced.

Should pastors blog?

Pastors have an audience of readers in persons who attend their churches, past and present, and who are interested in what they have to say. Pastors do not need to pay the bills with their writing, so a blog with low costs allows them to freely share their thoughts as posts. Church audiences are willing to put up with less quality – they listen to us each week, right? – because they have a relationship with the writer. Plus, most congregations have a retired English teacher or other individuals who will be very happy to point out every typo and grammatical error; it fulfills their spiritual gift. A blog allows a pastor’s words to influence and add value to people’s lives beyond the Sunday morning preaching time and beyond the geographical boundaries of a local parish. You can influence people to whom you are connected; your blog informs your social network.

What about Facebook?

Facebook and other social media is also a blog. Facebook rests on the reality that people would rather read about themselves than others, and are willing to produce their own content for people connected to them to read. Facebook is like an open mic night; anyone can take a turn. Facebook does not hire writers, editors, camera operators and directors to entertain us; they just provide us with the means to communicate with people who are interested in

Facebook rests on the reality that people would rather read about themselves than others, and are willing to produce their own content for people connected to them to read. Facebook is like an open mic night; anyone can take a turn. Facebook does not hire writers, editors, camera operators and directors to entertain us; they just provide us with the means to communicate with people who are interested in us, and collect revenue from advertisers. Facebook is a blog.

The problem with Facebook as a medium for influence by itself is that it is ephemeral. It is like writing your thoughts on toilet paper – a minute later, they are gone forever. A blog, however, is searchable; Google will find what you write, and that work can have enduring influenced even in a world crowded with pictures of grandchildren and cute cat videos. Facebook posts do not typically show up in an internet search engine … but blog posts can.

Facebook posts do not typically show up in an internet search engine. Facebook pages can show up which draw people to an individual’s name, but not information you put there. But the value of Facebook and other social media is that it is perfect for advertising your work found in your blog through creating a commercial of sorts in a Facebook post.

Pairing your blog with a Facebook account involves four elements:

1. A local church website: http://www.kinmundychurch.org/

Note that the purpose of the website is to be a landing page with links, a foyer with doors that lead to other information: Recorded Sermons, the Pastor’s Blog and the church Facebook page. The latter is continually up to date with current events, programs and concerns for prayer. A church website with out of date material is a serious turn off.

2. A local church Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Kinmundy-First-United-Methodist-Church-121298747883714/

This Facebook page is owned by the pastor and is subsidiary to his main page.  It contains news and views related to the local congregation. The main page contains information for his wider social network of interests both within and beyond the local church.

3. A local church website blog post:  https://kinmundy.wordpress.com/2017/10/01/tuesday/ 

4. A Facebook post to draw people to a blog post:  https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=1808094605870778&id=121298747883714

Facebook indicates that five days after sharing this, 113 people had seen it. One person ‘liked’ the post, which helped make it visible to her social network.

Facebook will advertise your post, and thereby advertise your blog. For a cost ranging from $3 to reach 290-360 up to $20 to reach 2200-5800, Facebook will ensure that your post shows up in the feed for others. $10 buys an audience of up to 3000 persons for two days, if I understand it correctly. I assume this is in your geographical neighborhood, but Facebook might use other metrics such as keywords to identify persons with shared interests such as theology or World Cup Soccer or knitting baby blankets. You can target your audience. In our rural area, they have claimed that “You could reach up to 67,000 people on Facebook who are within 25 miles of your business location.” Hard to believe, but tempting.

Persons sharing the post will also spread it widely, and ‘liking’ the post will spread the information to a lesser degree. A post from 20 hours ago identifying pastors in our conference in need of prayer resulted in one share,  one comment, 14 emotional reactions (‘likes’) and was seen by 1143 persons.

It can be difficult to isolate a link for a particular post on the church page. One solution: Edit the post to cause a small change. At the main page, click on “Activity Log” – the post you just changed should be at the top of the list. Click on the link which is the word “post” at the end of the description and it will open in a new tab which will provide you with a link which can be shared with others.

SOURCES

“Technical Issues” is a category of posts prepared for “The Writing Pastor” workshop attempting to provide answers to questions that might come up related to the technical issues of blogging. I am not an expert … but willing to share my opinion and experience. Someone who knows what they are doing will probably find my generalizations hilarious. My hope is that someone who knows less than I do might find them helpful.

The image is from ChurchArt.com, a subscription service.

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