Media platforms
Which media platforms do you believe will work best for your church? (Lightstock)

Too many people use media randomly, with no real strategic vision. Perhaps a friend recommended local TV, or a board member suggested billboards, or a church youth director likes social media.

All these platforms and others are important, but they question is: Why? While I could write many books on the subject, here is a short list of what differentiates some of the major media platforms:

Newspaper Advertising

  • An effective way to reach adults over age 50 since they are the primary readers of newspapers.
  • Newspapers are by definition a local media tool and can provide opportunities to create "newsworthiness."
  • Newspapers are good for more in-depth stories.


  • Research indicates the typical household watches over seven-plus hours of TV daily. (Other research says eight hours per day).
  • TV still delivers the largest audiences for specific programming.
  • Blockbuster movies get more publicity, but the truth is, a popular TV series reaches far more people.
  • The growing number of special-interest TV channels provides opportunities to target specific audiences and leverage their interests.


  • Despite what you might think listening to Christian radio, music is still the top reason that people tune into radio.
  • Drive time is still important. Seventy-eight percent of consumers listen to the radio on their commute to work.
  • Similar to TV, specific radio formats appeal to different segments (young/old/multicultural/faith, etc.)


  • Billboards and other outdoor advertising can be a powerful local tool.
  • We've had enormous success using it to drive people to churches.
  • It reaches a broad range of different target audiences and provides local geographic flexibility.
  • The recent growth of outdoor has revealed new outdoor advertising products like LED screens that reach and engage consumers throughout the day.
  • New media tactics like gas station advertising, stadium advertising, and health club advertising are examples of highly targeted media products that reach and engage consumers.

    Internet/Digital/Social Media

  • Digital advertising is still innovating as marketers look for the right mix that provides meaningful information and will then attract consumers to a website.
  • Similar to other media choices, consumers have the ability to opt in and choose what digital advertising they see and consume.
  • For churches, virtually 100 percent of new visitors will check you out on the web first—so why is your website so lame?
  • We're finding that your website is your "media hub." It can be the connector to your video, bookstore resources, social-media pages and much more.
  • The 55-plus audience watches as many online videos as the 20-plus audience.
  • Significant numbers of online viewers of videos want to find out more about the subject of the video.
  • With social-media platforms, you can start with "budget zero." It literally takes nothing to build a tribe, and start sharing your message with significant numbers of people.

There could be some powerful marketing and advertising tools you haven't even considered. Before you get in a rut, find out more about new platforms and consider how they could help your message reach a greater and more responsive audience.

Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media strategist and the author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do. Find out more at

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