How do you handle promotions & communications requests?
As a church communications or marketing person, receiving promotions requests from every which way is pretty common. You get emails, you get text messages, you get cornered in the bathroom, and in the hallway. How many times this week have you been asked to “drop into a meeting really quick”?
The best way to handle receiving communications requests is by implementing a request form. A single incoming path for all requests, no matter what they are, or who they come from. For it to be successful, it has to become policy. Everyone needs to know, if you want your request fulfilled, you have to fill out the form. Don’t email me. Don’t run it by me. Fill out the form.
Without a process in place, your communications will become a mess, things will fall through the cracks, you’ll become overwhelmed, and everyone will have wasted a lot of time and missed a lot of opportunities.
Getting Started with a Promotions Request Form
Step 1: Request Types
The first thing you need to do is list out the types of requests that you receive, and what they are asking for. Look back at the last few requests you’ve received.
You might find you receive requests that fall into several different categories, such as event promotion requests, design requests, video requests, marketing requests for big projects, or just general communications requests.
As you build your request form, you can decide whether the form will have fields for all types of requests or whether you have multiple forms, one for each type.
Step 2: Communications Channels
Next, make a list of all of your communications channels. All of them, from email to social media, worship slides, stage announcements, and print materials. Think of all the ways you regularly communicate through the church and what you’ve been asked to create promotions and designs for.
Think outside the norm. This may even include things like billboards, radio ads, classifieds, and Facebook ads.
Step 3: Build Your Form
You can use an online form builder such as Wufoo, Jotform, or Google Forms. If you have a WordPress website, you can consider using Gravity Forms or any of the other form builder plugins.
If your staff isn’t as technically savvy as you’d like, then go ahead and create a form in Word or Pages and print them out for people to fill out and submit to you in person. But you’re really going to get the best benefit from this if you go digital and force everyone to adapt.
If you want an all-inclusive system that has a form builder and everything needed to manage the requests try out ChurchRequests.com (See the 50% off offer below).
What to Include in Your Form
The form should ask all of the pertinent questions you will need in order to effectively execute promotions for an event or ministry initiative. It needs to also communicate deadlines, and only list out the options that are realistic and approved.
It’s a good idea to have a suggested “promo pack” that people can check off which includes all of the regular communications that almost every request will use (Social media post, bulletin item, worship slide, etc.).
Some fields you could include are:
▢ Requestor’s Name and Email
▢ Project or Event Name
▢ Department and/or Church Campus
▢ Describe the event or project
▢ Event details (such as dates and times, location, etc)
▢ Who is the target audience? (students, women, men, the whole church, etc.)
▢ Due date for promotions (with clearly communicated deadlines)
▢ Types of deliverables requested (list out available communications channels & packages)
▢ File attachments (for artwork, ideas, or notes that are already created)
▢ Approved budget
A great question to include on your form is: “If you were talking to someone face-to-face, how would you invite them to engage in this event/project?” Questions like this help the requestor create the copy for you, so you don’t have to do it all. After all, they are the ones who know their event or project the best.
Often times the person making the request isn’t a creative person, and they rely on you and others to come up with great ways to communicate about an event or project. But asking them this question can help them provide some guidance and information you can work from.
Keep it Simple
When creating your form, keep it as simple as possible. Don’t ask questions or add fields that aren’t needed or that you won’t use. You don’t want to make things more complicated then they need to be, nor do you want to waste anyone’s time.
If the form isn’t easy to use, people will resort to cornering you in the hall.
If you have multiple departments that handle requests (such as print, graphic design, communications, web, email, etc.) then you may want to create multiple forms, one for each department, and route the submissions to the appropriate person.
It won’t be helpful to receive a request on your new form if the event needing promotions is in a few days. Set deadlines for submissions and communicate them clearly.
Make sure you leave enough time for designers and artists to create the work that is needed for new requests, keeping in mind their workload and other initiatives.
Approval & Distribution Process
If new requests need to be approved first, you may want to design your form so that it routes to the approving party first. Or at least communicate on the form that requests must be approved before submitted to you.
Lastly, the form needs to route to one person who serves as the gatekeeper for all requests. That may be you, an assistant or admin, or a manager who approves each request.
From there you can create all of the tasks that are needed to fulfill the request.
Step 4: Make it Policy
No one will use your new form if they don’t have to. You need to make it policy that all communications and promotions requests go through the form. Make the expectations clear, and provide instructions and training on how to fill out the form and submit a request.
If you don’t have the authority to enforce such a policy, then schedule a meeting with the appropriate person who does. Present the workflow to them and show them the benefits of this new system that you want to implement. If they’re hesitant, ask for the opportunity to try it out for a month. If it works better for everyone, then you’ll have a case to keep it around.
Try ChurchRequests.com (Save 50%)
At The Sunday Group we’ve created an entire request management system just for this purpose. Try it out at churchrequests.com
Not only can you build a custom form for receiving requests, but you can then manage them in one easy to use dashboard. Assign to-do’s to appropriate parties, send messages and upload files, keeping it all together tied to the request. You can even send certain requests to approval managers before any action is taken on them.
Best of all, everyone is kept in the loop automatically. When a task is completed, the original requestor is notified. No more emails asking when their promotions are going out or if they were approved!
Try out ChurchRequests.com today and use code SUNDAYU to save 50%.