Sermons: A Gold Mine of Digital Content
Unless your church model is different than every other church in America, your pastor probably preaches a sermon every Sunday. Some messages may be fifteen minutes, while others can be ninety minutes or more. Beyond these sermons only ministering to your own congregation during your church service, do you know you’re sitting on a gold mine of content that can help you reach people outside the church too?
Many churches strive to create digital content that is relevant and updated frequently, but it’s a lot of work. Posting blogs online is helpful. Yet without including strategic calls to action (CTAs) and lead generators, it’s extremely difficult to see measurable growth. You don’t want your team to burn out posting content no one ever sees! So why not go the extra step and include a lead generator that allows you to collect their name and email address? Then you can track how many people visit your website and connect with them personally.
In our digital age, churches face increasing pressure to dabble in content creation. However, ministries that lack either the time, talent, or tenaciousness quickly start wondering if it’s worth it. That’s why tapping into the gold mine of content you’re already producing each week is a game changer! Your pastor is already doing the heavy lifting; all you need is a weekly sermon to build a powerful web page or blog that keeps engaging people long after Sunday is over.
Want to know how? Follow these steps:
Step #1: Select the Right Sermon
Not every sermon is the right fit for digital content. For example, if your sermon this week focuses on your church’s particular outreach program and your missionaries, it may be too specific to appeal to a general audience online. However, if it’s a sermon (or sermon series) about mental health or anxiety, then you’ve hit the jackpot! That is an incredibly relevant topic to post online because it’s one people search for frequently.
After you’ve selected an appropriate sermon, transform it into digital content by doing 3 things:
- Upload the sermon video to YouTube using strategic keywords related to the topic.
- Select and edit a few smaller sermon snippets (30 seconds to 2 minutes long) to post.
- Transcribe the sermon manuscript into a written article you can post online.
Step #2: Transform the Manuscript into a Blog Post
Because pastors often speak for 30–60 minutes, sermon manuscripts can be very long. If your manuscript is more than 1,500 words, people are likely to lose interest and not read all the way through. So to create a user-friendly version to post, rewrite the manuscript as a 1,000 to 1,300-word article. The goal is to make it easy to read with as many visual breaks as possible, so be sure to use plenty of bullet points, headings, and subheadings, along with a clearly defined call to action. Take out any church-specific information, long-winded stories, or tangents and stick to the meat of the text. Think about making the sermon into a “DIY” or “how-to” article. If the message is about anxiety, change the title from “Matthew’s Encouragement to Fret Not” to “6 Ways to Overcome Anxiety.” You want users to feel equipped and empowered to do something that will help them. After all, they are the hero of their own story, and it’s your job to equip them.
Step #3: Create an Eye-Catching Design
Before your readers decide whether to take in a whole article or watch an entire video, they will likely skim it first to see if it’s relevant to them. You can help them stay on your page by making a good visual first impression. Be sure to space out the content with images that relate to the topic and sprinkle in the sermon snippets where it makes sense. You can include a big quote, provide a link to other similar content you’ve posted, or use colors that align with your branding. At the end of each article, offer the user an opportunity to watch the full-length sermon.
Step #4: Include a Motivating Call to Action
Most churches don’t include enough calls to action on their website. Of course, people want information about your church, but they also want you to guide them on how to take the next step. If you don’t tell them what to do next, you may never get to connect with them in person. Each sermon article may have a different CTA. A sermon about community may include a CTA about joining a small group. However, a sermon about anxiety may include a CTA to attend an upcoming event or connect with the pastor. Think through what needs your reader may have that would cause them to click on this article, and then include the next steps that allow them to dig deeper and be ministered to by your church.
Step #5: Offer Relevant Resources
This step may need to wait until the series is completed. Once the series is finished, you can collect the sermon-series articles and combine them into one complete PDF. Think about it like compiling an ebook with all the articles your readers want on the topic at hand. The goal is for users to have a way to become more connected and grow in their walk. So if they appreciate your web page content, then they can download the free ebook in exchange for their name and email. Your ebook should be designed so it offers as much value as possible. Don’t just include a list of links—instead, offer quotes, other articles, verses, or books to read that will help them study further. If your ebook offers value, your readers will want it.
Note: If you include a downloadable ebook or lead generator, your church should develop a drip email campaign to stay in touch with leads and invite them to future events. This helps them continue to connect and grow in their faith over time. We have a podcast on story-based emails that can help you achieve this.
Step #6: Don’t Forget SEO
SEO is an easy step to overlook, but it’s arguably one of the most important aspects to help you connect with new people online. Unless someone knows your church and searches for your website specifically, they are likely to find only your domain through search results. So, it’s important that you write your articles to include strategic titles, headings, metadata, and keywords that tell Google what topic your article is about. If the content is related to anxiety, then use that word all over the place. Make sure your videos and images use that same word as well. This allows internet users to find your article when they search for “anxiety.” You can also add conversion tracking in Google Analytics so you can see what the user does next.
Step #7: Promote Your Sermon Online
Once your web page is live and you’ve tested your lead generator to make sure it works, it’s time to start promoting the material. You want to reach people all over the internet with your message, so it helps to put yourself out there. Frequently post on your church’s social media pages and provide a link to your latest article each week. Include a link to the page from other relevant pages on your website that readers may also visit. Plus, you can add a link to the weekly sermon article in your church newsletter. To connect with even more people, use the Google Ad Grant to run proposed posts and paid campaigns that direct even more search traffic to your page. The more visitors you have, the more people benefit from your content. If you need help coming up with social media posts, make sure to sign up for our new Sermon AI App.
Don’t get stuck in a draining pattern of producing exhausting content that people will never see! Your goal as a church is to minister to people well, so optimize the content your pastor already produces every week and repackage it into digital snippets, online videos, blog posts, ebooks, and more. This way, you reach an exponentially greater number of users with inspired content every single week—and don’t burn out in the process! Turning sermons into user-friendly content across platforms is exactly the game-changing hack your church needs to reach as many people as possible!
Get Started Today
If you’re looking for ideas to turn your sermons into actionable content, reach out to one of our expert church coaches. They’d love to hear what you’re doing with your sermon now and brainstorm ways to help your sermon content reach more people.