What Can Video Do For Your Church's Website?
One thing we've noticed this year is how video content is continuing to grow at an exponential rate. No longer limited to large businesses with a massive marketing budget, video is is everywhere, on every platform, and every device.
According to Ofcom's 2020 report one of the most significant long-term impacts of Covid-19 for TV is an accelerated shift away from broadcaster content. During lockdown people increasingly have been using on-demand services, such as YouTube, with 16-34 year olds now watching more YouTube than live TV. This is because video is immersive and engaging, and can communicate incredibly effectively,
A gift to communicate God's Word
When the printing press was first invented, it changed the world. Obviously it's easy to draw parallels between the priniting press' invention and the invention of the internet in terms of revolutionising how we share information.
There’s a famous quote attributed to Martin Luther that sums up the role of the printing press in the Protestant Reformation: “Printing is the ultimate gift of God and the greatest one.” The internet is just a different publishing platform and is such a gift to communicate God's word, to reach out to the unchurched, and to be a positive influence in the community.
With print, you basically have words and pictures which can be utilised to engage the audience. It's possible with the skilled use of typography and design to create strong memorable engaging posters and content. The internet also has the ability to serve up words, pictures and video with or without sound, and used wisely can have a positive influence on this generation.
Videos are more engaging
As humans, we are visual creatures and so it is natural that we are more engaged by video. Studies show that site visitors will spend longer on a site that makes use of video, and with that longer time spent, more trust is created. This has ramifications for churches wishing to engage more with their community. The use of video on a church website has the following benefits:
- the web visitor spends longer on your site,
- your video can quickly introduce your church, your vision, and your locality, and
- search engines will rank you more highly on Google as video is an indication that your site has good content.
It's so encouraging for us when we hear of people finding a local church through Google where they can make real human connections with others, find God, find healing, and find joy in the truth of His Word. Being able to make video to connect and share is such a powerful tool to help towards that end.
Can I see any examples of Churches using video?
We have seen a number of churches on the Church Pages platform use video and it's been really encouraging to see the statistics where they show increased time spent on the site and less people leaving after visiting just one page.
One of the first churches we saw to include video was St Margarets, Angmering. The video plays without sound in the main banner as soon as a site visitor lands on the site plus there is a link to play the video with sound which then opens on another page. The video is full of warmth, compassion and a feeling of family. We all definitely felt we wanted to visit the church after seeing the video!
St Margaret's video is an excellent example of how effective video can be as it embodies everything about who they are and what it means to be a member of their church. The video is particularly strong because it:
- shows footage of services,
- provides shots of the congregation gathering, talking and being together, and
- is interwoven between pieces of members of the church speaking to camera about St Margaret's, and what the church means to them, and
- provides wonderful testimony about the church over more footage which embodies the words that are being said.
This is a hugely powerful video to watch and it's hard not to feel moved by it.
Another church who have seen increased engagement through their use of video has been OpenGate Churches, Oxford. Their video again plays without sound in the main banner, but when the play arrow is clicked, the video opens with sound in a dialog box.
This video is effective for the following reasons:
- footage of the surrounding area gives an idea of the locality, which will engage anybody in the nearby community,
- introductions by the different leaders of the churches gives a genuine impression of warmth and welcome.
- the couples that appear seem authentic and caring. Their footage does not look staged, nor scripted, leading to a very relaxed and friendly fee.l
Authenticity is really the key strength of video and why it has the power to engender trust in the church more than any other medium. Many people have preconceptions about what church is, and won't come near a church because of these impressions. Video can serve to break down those preconceptions and encourage people to take those first steps towards coming to church.
Other styles of video for churches
There are many different styles of video which can work, and not all need the editing skill level of St Margarets.
Kings Church Iver wanted to let people know how diverse they are, and how everyone is welcome. To meet this objective their video opens with members of their congregation simply saying "Welcome to Kings Church Iver" in their first language. The video continues to switch to different people talking to say who they are, and what their vision is for the church.
St John's Crawley use video in a very different way. Their video also plays in the main banner and shows various familiar scenes of Crawley where the church is located. Only people local to the area would understand the nuances of the scenes, and with only a few glimpses of the church the video focuses on the community. The glitches and transitions point to the church being modern and young, with the footage leaving you with the sense that Crawley is a large town, that can be anonymous and lonely. However, the words on the banner of the video reach out to the community asking if people need help or prayer so that St John's can meet their need.
Where do I start if I want to make a video for my church?
If you are thinking of using video for your church, there are a number of options available. If you have church members who have filming or editing skills then they are a good place to start. It could be that they can film some clips and you hire an editor to put them together for you. We recently talked about using Instagram stories to engage the community. It's possible to make a video up out of these kinds of clips but remember to shoot the video in landscape for the website as opposed to portrait which is used for Instagram stories. The idea is simply to show people your church and the stories which make up who you are. Finally, it's definitely worth considering hiring in the professionals. They will think about the message you want to say and find a way to get that message into a video of a couple of minutes or less.
If you would like any more information, advice or want to talk anything through, please get in touch or give us a call.