What No One is Telling You About Live Streaming and Why It’s Crucial

by | CFX Community, Production, Streaming, Video, Video Connections

In today’s digital age, communication isn’t just about talking – it’s about connecting. 

Think about it like this: Jesus adjusted his talking style based on whom he was speaking to. When hanging out with his disciples, it was different from when he was talking to a big crowd or dealing with religious leaders. We do the same thing daily, chatting differently with our family, friends, co-workers, and strangers.

So, here’s the question: why do we talk the same way to everyone in our online broadcasts and expect them all to understand?

Figuring out who you’re talking to online is a big deal, and here’s why: if you don’t have clarity with your audience, how do you know if what you’re doing is working? How do you know if it’s scratching their itch? Ultimately, we all want to change people’s lives, but if people aren’t connecting to our message, we have no chance to see that happen.

You might spend considerable time and money on your livestream setup, have the latest and greatest gear, and have high production values (which are both important), but if your content doesn’t connect with the very people you want to reach, you’re wasting your time and money.

So, who is YOUR audience, and why does it matter to your livestream?

Let’s break it down a bit. There are a few different groups most church leaders would consider reaching with their digital ministry:

Their Church Family: These people are already part of the church family, including those who only watch your online content. For them, you can relax the perfection of your stream quality a bit. They know you and will cut you some slack as long as you’re consistent. I call this your maintenance audience.

People Looking for a Church or Needing a Deeper Connection: This group either seeks a new spiritual home or needs something deeper than an online replication of what happens in person. For them, quality is reasonably important, and you must make an effort to keep their attention. Also, ensuring your content is friendly and welcoming to newcomers is vital here. Don’t be too “insular” in how you communicate. This area is where a simple replication of in-person to online rarely works. I call this your ministry audience.

The Explorers: These are the curious ones; maybe they’re not really into church but are open to the Christian faith and new ideas. They’re often into cool and creative stuff, so your content needs to stand out and be different. I call this your missional audience; it is the hardest to get right.

As you can see from the above, your game plan may need to change depending on your target audience. That is particularly true in three key areas: Quality, content, and platforms, each of which will change depending on who you want to connect with.

Quality:

If you’re focused on your church family, your quality doesn’t need to be awesome (of course, it’s always better if it is). Consistency, though, is crucial here. But if you’re after new folks, quality is essential when trying to get and keep their attention.

Content:

For your church family, keeping it local and familiar is fine. But if you’re trying to attract newcomers, you must ensure your content is open and friendly. And for the curious explorers, get creative and stand out.

Platforms:

Zoom, your website, YouTube, etc., are suitable for connecting with your church family. If you want new people, you need to use social media in all its forms to get the word out. For the explorers, you need a strategy that is combined with an outbound marketing component.

One thing you should consider is that in addition to being clear on who you want to reach, you also need to find out and monitor who’s already watching your content. 

Thankfully, this no longer needs to be a guessing game. 

You’ve got tools at your disposal. Use Facebook or YouTube chat to ask questions. 

Watch your metrics carefully – see when people tune in and drop out of your content. Ask for feedback from your audience. Keep track of who’s engaging with you. 

Get to know your audience like you’d get to know a friend.

This might sound like a lot of work, but it’s worth it. Starting by being crystal clear on WHO you want to reach helps you develop a strategy for reaching them. Once you’ve done this, you may need to rethink your content to better fit all your different audiences. This, in turn, impacts the people you need around you and the technology to do it all.

Remember, just like Jesus didn’t talk the same way to everyone, you shouldn’t either. 

Go ahead and find out who’s watching now. Determine if this is the audience you want. If not, what do you need to change?

It’s all about reaching people where they’re at, just like Jesus did.

Now, it’s your turn to join the conversation:

Who do you think is the primary audience for your online content – your church community, newcomers searching for a spiritual home, or those curious about exploring faith in a new way?

Have you ever tried adjusting your content or approach based on your audience? 

Do you feel stuck with your church’s digital presence?  Are you wondering how you can better connect with your community online? 

I’ve developed a tool to help you get unstuck. It’s called the Digital Ministry Assessment. It’s free to take, and when you do, you’ll gain insights into what you need to focus on to be more effective in Digital Ministry. You can access it here:

www.digitalministryassessment.com

It will take around 10 minutes, and you’ll receive a 22-page report, not just any report, but one that’s personalised with actionable strategies and expert advice tailored to your church’s unique needs.

In order to make the most of your livestream, it’s important to gain clarity in this area. This will enable you to avoid wasting valuable resources and allow you to refocus and realign with your goals.

About the author
Graeme is a pioneer in Christian Media with over 25 years of experience. With a particular skill in live television, he has produced and directed some of the largest Christian events over the past two decades. Having worked in the USA, UK, Europe, Africa, Israel, Hong Kong, India, South America and Australia, Graeme is highly regarded within the industry as a Christian media professional. He has produced thousands of hours of world class Christian television, won numerous awards and worked with some of the best-known Christian ministers. Before founding Media Mentoring, Graeme was the Chief Operating Officer of GOD TV. You may email him at graeme@cloakproductions.com.

Interested in getting other Video Connections articles delivered right to your inbox?

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Sign Up for Connections, the Worship Facility Newsletter!

NEW THIS WEEK

Learning Series: The Challenge of Historic Churches

REGISTER AND DOWNLOAD NOW Every house of worship is as unique as the community it's in and the members who attend it. Part of that uniqueness is the challenges presented by the building itself, and none more so than in historic buildings, which were typically designed...

Preventive Maintenance Best Practices

Production lighting needs preventive maintenance to perform at its best. Like anything of value, production lighting requires some tech crew maintenance time if you want it to perform at its best––and for a long time. Much of what’s involved in the maintenance of the...