I recently checked my stats and was surprised to find out how many people land here looking for information about doing church video announcements. I love helping churches communicate well! So, getting back to my intent for this to be a resource for other church media producers, I submit the following video announcement tips:
Keep them short – It seems that no matter when you do announcements, they can be a bit of a buzz-kill; keep them short and to the point.
Keep your ‘open’ short – I’ve seen some examples of video announcements where the opening sequence is as long as the announcements themselves. Give the piece a quick pop of branding and get to the important stuff.
Make them matter – You can’t read the entire bulletin in that time (or at least you shouldn’t), so use the medium for the most important bits of information. I’m a believer that people don’t retain more than 2-3 items any way.
Use good talent – Find someone who is comfortable in front of the camera and can communicate well. Even better, find 2 or 3 good people and do more of a rotation so that things don’t get predictable or monotonous.
Use text to back up what is being said – In every crowd, you will have a certain amount of people that are visual learners; simple text graphics that back up important dates, times, and web adresses can really help people remember what is coming up.
Good audio – This means investing in a good microphone so that your talent and the script can be understood, and also a good mix of music in the edit process.
Action steps – Give your viewers something to act on. “Sign up in the lobby”, “Register for the seminar on our website”, etc. I have found that the more that you encourage people to get involved, they will.
Visuals and B-roll – Don’t just move a talking head from the stage to the screen; tell a story! Use video and pictures to help get the point across. Visuals make anything much more ‘watchable’.
Majority – Make sure that what you’re announcing is going to appeal to most of your congregation.
Celebrate – Don’t just use the time for calendar fodder, shoot video of a big church event and put together a short highlight reel to use during your announcements. This is a great way to show people what the life of the church looks like beyond the weekend. (this will also give you great footage to use for promoting the event the next time it rolls around)
Plan ahead – Get out in front of the calendar as best you can so that you can properly plan to promote or celebrate things well. I’ve seen great ideas become mediocre executions simply because there wasn’t enough time to really knock things out of the park.
COMMUNICATE – Sorry for the bold caps, but this is one of my biggest pet peeves with what I see other churches do; all too often it seems that video announcements become the poorly produced, missed attempt at church comedy, and nothing really gets communicated. Think about what a first-time visitor will learn about your church, consider what really needs to be said for people to retain the information, and don’t waste time. It takes time to produce good video and it takes up time in your church service – Do your best to communicate WELL.
This list isn’t meant to be exhaustive, just some guidelines to help folks use the medium better. Do you have one to add here? (Questions are welcome too!)
Editors note: If your church is doing video announcements or even considering doing them, do yourself a favor and go listen to this podcast from Church on the Move; Incredible insights on the “why” of video announcements.