The Power of Checklists in Church Communications

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Checklists are essential for consistent execution of any communications projects. They help even the most seasoned professional remember every step in a process. Even the most experienced staff member needs to stay on track. Do you think otherwise? Consider pilots and surgeons. These highly-skilled professionals use the power checklists to ensure mistakes are not made. This article delves into several ways checklists can help your team succeed.

Checklists Work

I wish you could see the inside of a surgery ward before a procedure begins. These skilled and educated professionals run through standardized checklists. Some items seem mundane. They must confirm the procedure with the patient. Surgery staff introduces each other by name. Medical malpractice and rotating staff assignments make these important things. Hospitals have reduced life-changing mistakes by using their checklists.
We have all seen digital missteps. They are probably not life-threatening. Yet these mistakes can set back even the most robust ministry. Running through a standardized checklist ensures common mistakes are not made.

Your New Checklist Framework

Here is a framework to guide your next digital project. These are common problems I have seen throughout my career. But feel free to edit this based on problems your church is currently experiencing.

Content Basics

This is what most of you already thought of when I said you need a checklist. Check the spelling, grammar, and you are using the correct images. An editor is the most essential piece in this puzzle. Yet we are often church communication teams of one. Give yourself a second day to come back to your content and check it before publishing. With longer pieces, try readings the sentences one at a time from the end. This forces you to read, contemplate, and move on.

Test Links

Almost all pages on your website have links to other content. It is a simple check, but make sure they work. Test to make sure they link to the correct destination. Also, you might want to add in any tracking codes. Content associated with a campaigns need tracking codes added to links. This way you can accurately track click through rates. If you do not track this metric, consider reading up on how your analytics package does this.

Correct Destination

So you have a new Twitter post ready to go. The content is perfect and your links are all set up. Yet, your new volunteer posts this on Facebook. Or a short website post might be confused with an email. If you craft content for each platform (and you should!), this is especially relevant. Add a checklist step to make sure the right content is going to the right platform.

Working Conversion Paths

The second and third clicks need checking as well. They get your visitor from initial interest to committing to an action. The most important aspects to clicking a button are that they can find it and it works. Before publishing your content, check your conversion path. The sign-up forms and transitions between steps need to work flawlessly. This are like testing links, but know that you are often passing data from one source to another. This may need more technical troubleshooting and verification. Lastly, do not leave your visitor at a dead end. Always give them another action they can take.

Parting Checklist Advice

Here are a few parting tips on creating checklists.

  • Shorter lists have better adoption rates.
  • Use clear and concise language to avoid confusion.
  • Items should help you stop mistakes, not dictate how to create content.
  • When (not if) you make your next mistake, consider adding it to a checklist.
  • Review checklists on a regular basis. I suggest doing it yearly.

Action Item

There is a reason the apostle Paul listed the requirements for people in ministry. Checklists work. Make them for all your basic content creation processes. Then find the best way to integrate them into your work culture. If you have an intranet site, post them there for everyone to find and follow. When you have a good working version, circulate them at your next staff meeting. This way everyone understands the steps you take and the information you will need. It will also explain why tasks may now take longer. The world is still out to disprove the Gospel and the mission of the local church. Do not give any footholds with digital errors. When used, checklists can help stop many common errors.

This article was inspired by the Hidden Brain podcast episode “Check Yourself

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Author: Stephen Morrissey

I have been making websites since 1996, and using social media since 2006. My current profession is designing user experiences for corporate software, websites, and mobile applications. I started sharing my knowledge with the world in 2011, about a year after a revival in my faith.