Communicating the WHY

I work in a communications role at my church. It’s kind of hard to pin down what I do exactly…I wear a lot of hats. But basically, I’m responsible for making sure the gospel message our pastors are preaching reaches its audience, using a variety of mediums to get there.

This “communications role” has evolved over time, but in the space of one night, the way I went about doing my job was completely revolutionised, and it started with this TED Talk.

In this talk, the speaker presents his “Golden Circle” model of getting a message across. It’s a great talk, and with 24 million hits, there are clearly others who think so too, but it’s actually not a new idea.

The idea is this: start with the “why”.

A big part of my job had always been communicating to the church about our upcoming events, whether that be through email newsletters, making brochures, or promotional videos. My advertisements would go something like this:

[TITLE OF EVENT]
Come along to [EVENT] on the [DATE] at [LOCATION].
For [AUDIENCE/DEMOGRAPHIC]
[COST]
[ANY EXTRA INFO HERE]

And I thought people would just come along! I mean, it was going to be a great event! They’d love it! And they should want to come too, if they truly want to grow and mature as Christians! Plus, I’d clearly demonstrated the legitimacy and value of the event with all the effort I put into design, typography, color palette and layout.

But this talk was the start of me realising that, for the most part, people will only come along to something if they are persuaded, and are captured by the why of an event.

You will always get your hard-core faithful, who will turn up to any event, most likely early, and will always be the last to leave. But for your average Christian, still maturing on their journey, they probably need to be convinced.

Why is this event happening? What is its purpose? Why is it worth my time? Why could I not just attend a similar alternative? What’s so special about this? Why should I sacrifice my time to attend? These are the kinds of questions our audience need answered before they can get excited about attending an event.

I could sit here and explain the psychology behind it all, giving examples of successful companies who have been doing this for years, but you’re better off listening for yourself. Take 20 minutes to watch this video, and hopefully you’ll see why this is the way I now advertise all our events.

[STATEMENT ABOUT THE CURRENT PROBLEM OR SITUATION]
[SUGGEST AN ALTERNATIVE OR SOLUTION]
That’s why we’re hosting [TITLE OF EVENT]
It’s on [DATE] at [LOCATION]
[SPIEL ABOUT WHAT WILL TAKE PLACE, AND HOW THE PARTICIPANT WILL FEEL OR BENEFIT]
For [AUDIENCE OR DEMOGRAPHIC]
[EXTRA INFO HERE]
[CLOSING PHRASE INCLUDING A CHALLENGE OR CALL-TO-ACTION]

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