Thanks to all who joined us for the January 16 publicity workshop at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Salinas! Titled “Awaken Your Publicity,” the Winter Conference delivered an interactive day of learning and sharing about websites, social media, e-newsletters, news writing, media relations, and more.

More than 65 attendees represented 29 churches in the Diocese of El Camino Real (roughly two-thirds of the diocese). Elrond Lawrence, ECR communications specialist, drew from his 25 years of experience in public relations, communications, and professional writing to lead the lively event. He shared tips for hosting effective websites and newsletters, explained how to make them attractive and useful for both members and visitors, and stressed their benefits as marketing tools that tell a congregation’s story to the community and those seeking a church home.

The volume of website questions from the audience underscored a critical need among churches throughout the diocese. Challenges shared by attendees included maintaining their websites, modernizing obsolete sites, ensuring continuity with volunteer webmasters, and finding good sources for writing and photography.

Social media was the next topic of the workshop, and attendees’ familiarity with media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram ranged from beginner to advanced. Many attendees reported their churches had Facebook pages, but no other social media. Lawrence explained the benefits of social media, such as the ability to unify a congregation by sharing successes and milestones, the ease of launching a social media presence, and the need to present a contemporary image.

If you missed the workshop, Elrond’s updated presentation slides are now available as a PDF — view and download here. Individual follow-up sessions are being scheduled and another workshop may take place in the summer. Thanks to the many volunteers who helped make this workshop a success! For communications support or questions, contact Elrond Lawrence at elrond@realepiscopal.org.

Top: Elrond Lawrence leads the publicity workshop at St. Paul’s (Scott Kindred photo) Below: A breakout session allowed attendees to share the successes and challenges of their church websites. (Elrond Lawrence photo)