Your digital landscape success is all about content.
by Yoram Samets
Think about webpages you frequent daily, such The New York Times, your friends’ Facebook pages, or Haaretz.com. You are accessing these sites because of their content. Now think about your synagogue’s website. Is your content as relevant and engaging?
Time and time again I see stale and stagnant content on websites and missed engagement opportunities. Once you have engaged your community with your content, you can begin to foster relationships.
A good website is the foundation for relationship building. If you want to build more relationships in your community through your website, you need to begin by creating engaging content.
Here are 3 basic content channels you can use to easily build relationships:
1. The Rabbi’s blog. This is a key relationship building opportunity between the Rabbi and your congregation.
- First, convince the Rabbi to publish the weekly sermon on your site (which may be your biggest challenge).
- Have the sermon appear on a dedicated webpage for sermons and also featured on the homepage.
- Tease the blog on your homepage with a good headline – like The New York Times does.
- Now that you have the foundation in place, announce it on your Facebook page and send out the Monday morning tweet to interest followers to read the blog.
- Use your e-newsletters to drive readers to the blog.
- Most importantly, provide readers with a way to respond to the blog online and offline.
- Then the Rabbi needs to follow through and continue building on that relationship.
2. Online Book Club. We all know how successful book clubs are in building connectedness and relationships. We also know the inconsistency of participation. This is why I suggest your community moves to an online book club environment.
- Start and end with real time gatherings, and let the middle be an online experience. This environment enables those participating in the book club to provide their thoughts at the times most convenient to them, like an online classroom.
- Use a dedicated, secured community page on your website to allow the questions and conversations to develop. You will be surprised at how many new members your book club may find.
3. Feature a Jvillage Content Channel. With over 15 different channels at your fingertips, you can easily create a relationship using Jvillage Network’s content channels, which are updated every week.
- Think of this content as just like the Rabbi’s blog (except that you don’t need your Rabbi to edit the blog and provide timely responses to inbound comments.)
- Find a content channel that features an article that you think is engaging, such as “66 Israeli Women You Should Know” or “How One Community is Conducting and Interfaith Yom HaShoah/Holocaust Memorial Day.”
- Feature it on your homepage, your e-communications, on social media, and even in your print communications.
- Perhaps even your Rabbi could share the headline from the bema.
You have many ways to drive your members to your site for relevant connections;
use them all!
And remember: Provide an opportunity for feedback. It is in the feedback loop that you nurture a relationship. Relationships are what keep members committed to your synagogue. Relationships travel in a circular path. Your opportunity is to keep connecting the dots of connectedness to become that circle of a relationship. In a world where it is harder and harder to have frequent face-to-face conversations, you must supplement those connections with online connections to create, nurture, and sustain relationships.
Yoram Samets is co-founder of Jvillage Network.