How to Make Phone Content Engaging
When you are recording content for your phone line, you might feel that it is a bit strange to leave a long phone message for someone to listen to. But instead of thinking of this as a phone message platform, think of it as a low-tech podcasting platform.
Podcasts are a booming industry for a reason - people love listening to good storytelling, conversations, and messages. Your dial-in phone line is a bridge to the same kind of engaging content you might personally listen to on your smart phone or in a car, but this time you are in charge and you drive the message for you congregation.
Direct broadcasting to your phone, like a podcast, is an intimate medium. As the “host,” you are speaking directly into the ear of your parishioner. And they are seeking you out intentionally by dialing-in to your phone line. So when they select an option to connect to a piece of content you’ve produced, this creates a one-to-one relationship.
How to Use the Phone Line to Speak Intimately to Your Parishioners?
You should start with your sermon or service, and we do recommend you get your feet wet there. But the sermon isn’t an intimate setting. It’s a one-to-many message.
A great way to really take advantage of the strengths of a dial-in messaging platform is to go beyond the sermon. Deliver valuable, relevant content to the different parts of your congregation. Have children in your congregation? Deliver a youth storytelling adventure. Is your congregation made up of many new believers? Deliver a Bible 101 series. Speaking to an older generation? Deliver devotionals, answer questions, and offer comfort and support.
With this mindset, let’s take a few insights from the podcasting industry and apply it to our phone line content.
Tips for Engaging Content
- Focus on a central idea or concept. Every message should have something it's trying to convey to an audience. The core idea is the fundamental reason why the content exists. Each recording or “episode” promises a new opportunity to explore your core idea or theme to some degree.
- Start and end strong. Grab the listeners attention with a powerful thesis statement or thought provoking question that makes them want to stay on the line for the entire message.
- Tell stories. Storytelling is a powerful way to connect with your audience. Stories create neurological responses in our brains that help us focus and empathize with the storyteller. A standard three act story arc begins with a setup, builds to a confrontation, and ends with a resolution.
- Use the story arc to create an outline. An outline is a tool that helps you stay focused on your message. To fill each segment, try answering these questions: What is the struggle? How can you deal with the struggle? What lessons are learned? Unlike a script, which can make you sound distant, you won’t read directly from the outline but use it as a guide through your conversation so your delivery is authentic.
- Follow regular schedules. Make it easy for your parishioners to know when to expect new content. Pick a time that works best for you so you can maintain delivery of this content for the long haul.
- Keep your content short and purpose-driven. We give you 30 minutes for each saved message, but that doesn’t mean you have to use it. There is no need to fill the space just because you have it. Depending on your guiding purpose for the content, you can use a mere 5 minutes or use the full amount.
We recommend you start with one new featured content beyond your Sunday services and build from there. Recruit other team members or volunteers to help so the burden of content doesn’t rest only on your shoulders.
Just getting started? Learn how to stream content to your phone line with Faith Online here.