Building Comms Skills: Design, Video, Photos & Social Media
Do you need to make flyers, posters or short video promos for upcoming events, services or projects but don't feel you have the necessary skills or equipment? Do you need to take some simple, well-lit photos of your church team, but haven't really used your phone camera much? Have you been putting off using social media as a part of connecting with your local community? Well, hopefully this page can be a significant help to you.
We thought it would be a good idea to have a short but potent list of online tools and tutorials to help you in building your communications skills.
So, below you will find resources and tips around:
- Graphic Design
- Video Editing
- Shooting Videos
- Free stock photos & videos
- Social media usage
- Online church ideas
Canva: Making Graphic Design Easier
Whether you need create a physical (hardcopy) printed out A3 poster or an online ad, Canva is an incredibly useful and user-friendly online design platform.
The platform is absolutely FREE to use. Canva does offer paid subscriptions for additional functionality but you do NOT need a subscription to create great work.
Click here to explore the platform. To sign up just click on the tab in the top right-hand corner.
Click here for a selection of short overview videos which will help you get started using Canva - perhaps start with the purple 'Welcome Home' video.
Even if you've never designed anything before, Canva provides a massive selection of templates, so you're starting with something that already looks quite good rather than starting with a blank page.
One more piece of encouragement - using Canva to create promotional material is NOT time-intensive once you get familiar with the functions and design elements.
You can also create videos using Canva.
Shotcut: A Free Video Editing Tool
Shotcut is a free, open source, cross-platform video editor for Windows, Mac and Linux. You can download it HERE.
The fact that Shotcut gets updated and improved monthly means that it is as robust and stable a free video editing package you can download right now.
You will certainly need to take some tutorials (start with THIS one) to get to grips with the workflow, set-up and functions, but if you need to make professional-looking and sounding videos and don't want to pay, it is absolutely worth putting in the time to learn Shotcut.
Kapwing: Another Free Video Editing Tool
Kapwing is another great free video editing tool which is good at helping you create dynamic (in motion) type. It can be used in your browser so you don't need to download it. Simply create a free account and get going.
Photography & Video: Essentials for Beginners
Photography - Have you figured out how to make the most of your phone's camera? This tutorial created by C of E Birmingham is a great start. In this 40-minute session Ben Poffley takes you through how to use your smartphone or DSLR to take great photos, focussing on the basics of composition and techniques.
Video - Once again, your phone can do a lot more than you might think. You can shoot compelling videos with it including testimonies and good news stories. HERE'S a simple, downloadable six-step guide to making videos on your phone.
Having a Phone Tripod Stand will drastically improve the images you want to capture. Do a google search for phone tripod stand. You should find some for as little as £10 - £15.
Strong photos and vivid videos are essential to our online communication and the churches in our circuit will benefit from having a few people with solid photography or video skills to capture the memorable moments in church life and share them.
Social Media Basics
Are you using social media as a part of your local outreach and connecting with your communities? There's many reasons why churches don't use social media - there's the time and energy investment and yes, a certain level of tech ability is necessary. If there is someone in your fellowship who's willing to be responsible for social media, the real life benefits should become apparent quite quickly. These video tutorials can get you started:
How to Use Twitter (Beginners Guide) 8 minute video HERE
Twitter can be a brilliant platform to connect with like-minded people and movements. Unlike some other social media Twitter is not so much "LOOK AT ME AND WHAT I'M DOING", but rather 'Look at this - isn't this great?' At its best Twitter helps people share the most eloquent, engaging, relevant, meaningful ideas and stories and you will probably discover unlikely alliances and fresh perspectives that may reframe how you do ministry. UPDATE: We'll see how drastically Twitter will change now that it's owned by Elon Musk. It looks like it might lose some of its best distinctive.
How To Use Instagram (Beginners Guide) 12 minute video HERE
The various options in Instagram can be a little overwhelming, but like learning any new skill it takes some trial and error to get good. A photo or two from a recent event or service alongside a 50 word story (yes, just 50 words) and a handful of useful hashtags is honestly not beyond you and could actually help connect your church to neighbours, local businesses and like-minded people in your community. Of course you can use Instagram to advertise an upcoming event, but it's also a space for making meaningful connections.
Excerpts from Sermons & Talks for Instagram or TikTok 10 minute video HERE
In this video, Brady of prochurchtools.com presents real examples of churches engaging new people on platforms like Instagram & TikTok by posting video excerpts from sermons and talks. He also provides a downloadable checklist for creating this type of video.
Further Communications Resources
If you're in need of FREE stock photos visit Unsplash
If you're in need of FREE stock photos or video clips visit Pexels
Attribution is not required on either of these sites, though giving credit to the photographer or source site is appreciated.
Digital Church Toolkit
Digital Church Toolkit is a site set up by Josh Stannard & Peter Murden to give practical tips and advice on how to tell your stories effectively through a variety of digital media.
They do webinars on online church and social media and provide advice for people of all different skill levels.
Here's their FREE resource page including a downloadable e-book 'Why Your Church Should Be Using Social Media'.
Finally there's prochurchtools.com
Free Communications Tips & Tools for Churches
The rather North American prochurchtools.com has been producing well-considered, high-quality videos and communication tools for a number of years. They have some great free resources and ideas for churches HERE.
Brady is insightful but he's also trying (at times) to sign the viewer up to a paid communications resource package. Just something to bear in mind.
Also some of the prochurchtools advice seems aimed at really big churches. However if you want your church to be more effective in communication then have a scroll and you might well discover something that will help you right now - what Brady labels your "next steps".