Whether you are a church communications veteran or just joined the gang, there is something special about the new year (beyond the clichés). The new year can actually be useful as a time to reflect, reorganise, and for some, reshape what 2015 will bring with their church communications.

I’ve just come back from a beach holiday today and I’ve been itching to share with you some useful tips that will help you improve your communications in 2015 (I banned myself from blogging on holiday – that was hard!).

1. Plan and schedule

If you haven’t started implementing your communication plans and calendars for 2015 you are already behind. My team started in November, yes, November. Why? Because video especially takes planning and as the saying goes ‘Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.’

Don’t worry. I’ve got you covered if you haven’t started your plans for 2015. You can copy or download my free template for church communications calendar or my social media calendar template, again it’s yours to use and modify for free.

Download free church communications template

Copy my church communications template from Google Drive

Download free church social media calendar template

2. Be proactive

Your ministry partners may be in holiday mode, but this is your opportunity to show them that you are there for them. Connect with them, ask them how you can serve them. If they are away email them. Ask them what they have coming up throughout the year. It may be your opportunity to discover that big project they have in development that may impact you closer to launch. Time is your ally in communications.

3. Develop yourself

What books are you reading? I have just been on holiday and read three books, non of them work or improvement related. I needed to disconnect completely and let my mind create.

Who are you learning from? There are many great options to develop yourself. This is one of my key goals this year. Church Marketing Sucks have their Certifications Lab for church communicators which looks great for gathering with those who also want to improve. I’m looking at doing it in Dallas, if I can get the airfare sorted.

You may have noticed that I now have advertising on this blog. The reason why is that I am using the money to fund some of my self-development and pay for hosting and improvements to the blog.

4. Learn from others

This is kind of overlapping point three, but I wanted to focus on the peers to learn from. Here are a few great blogs I read that inspire me and also give me actionable steps to improve. If you blog about church communications or social media drop a link in the comments. I’d love to read your thoughts.

Church Marketing Sucks

Phil Cooke

Seth Godin

Phil Bowdle

Darrel Girardier

Evan Courtney

Stephen Brewster

Josh Burns

If you haven’t subscribed to my blog yet, subscribe via email today. I have some huge news coming in February.

5. Are you up-to-date?

Christmas and New Year can be high visitor time for churches. Is your church website up-to-date? Are your Christmas service times still up there? Is your calendar up to date? There is nothing more frustrating and confusing for a visitor than a website that is out of date. Check out what I wrote about why it is so important to keep your website up-to-date here. This is another post I wrote that got a lot of feedback about what the best church websites do.

6. Easter is coming

Can you hear the tick, tock? Easter is just under 13 weeks away. For me that means I am only 8 weeks away from finishing everything for Easter. Eek! I love the sound of a deadline as it whooshes by. Be proactive, talk to your Easter team and get the communications development started. Here are 8 great examples of church websites at Easter.

7. Review

What worked well last year? What could you do better? There is no better time to review what you do. It could be your systems and processes. How work comes in. Do you have a process for incoming creative communications projects? Talk to your team and ask for feedback. Give them permission to be honest.

8. Have a goal

If there is one goal that you wanted to achieve this year in your communications what would it be? I love this quote ‘A vision without a plan is just a dream’ Dream big, but then plan how you will achieve it. Last year I dreamt a few dreams and will be announcing a few of the realisation of those in February.

Your Turn

Any tips for others or questions about starting your communications well in 2015 ? Drop a comment below.