The Communications and Evangelism Committee report to the 2014 Convention of the Episcopal Diocese of Fort Worth is submitted by Katie Sherrod. You may download a PDF of this report here.
The Communication & Evangelism Committee’s goal is to keep the people within our diocese connected to news and activities, to provide church leadership with relevant information to assist them in ministry, and to reach those not yet in our churches with the Good News. Our diocese has wonderful opportunities to show our faith to the world through our website, various social media sites, the Common Purpose print newsletter, and email.
Who is responsible for communication? Two part time independent contractors: Katie Sherrod, communication director; and Susan Kleinwechter, social media coordinator, plus, in mid-September, a fulltime staffer, Tracie Middleton, who joined the diocesan staff as Ministry Support and Communications Officer. She is expected to spend about a third of her time on communications work.
This has been a year of many transitions. The departure in May of Adam Wood, the director of digital design, and Nikky Wood, who had donated much of the graphic design work for the website, for diocesan branding, and for various diocesan events, made it necessary to reallocate tasks between Katie Sherrod and Susan Kleinwechter. Kleinwechter took up much of Wood’s work in addition to managing the diocesan social media networks, Google Apps, administering edfw.org mail, reviewing and updating GeoLocation listings [Google, Bing, YahooLocal [and others], creating website forms, doing basic WordPress user administration, etc., while Sherrod began handling most of the publishing of stories and updates as well as continuing the creation of almost all content for the website, including providing photos, videos, and stories. As Middleton settles into her job, she is expected to take on some of these tasks.
The pace of change in technologies of the last decade has turned communications on its head globally, landing everyone in the middle of a communications revolution and a paradigm shift for all religious organizations. The diocesan communicators recognize a tension between the Church that wants to move forward in communications and the resistance to better utilizing newer technologies and methods of communicating. Still, amid this tension people are finding us and hearing the Story we have to tell.
- More than 800 people have listened to Bishop High’s sermons on the diocesan YouTube channel so far in calendar year 2014. Since late 2009 the communication staff has created 78 videos on the channel that allow people to visit our congregations virtually, and to see and hear Episcopalians worship, sing, and preach. There have been 13,456 views since late 2009
- Our publishing rate has nearly doubled after launching the new website in late 2012
- From August 2013 – August 2014, our website had nearly 50,000 visits and more than 105,000 page views
- Nearly a quarter of website views coming from internet searches are from general Episcopal terms & beliefs and prayers, cementing our insight that good content and good search engine optimization works for evangelism
- Almost a quarter of the clicks off our site from stories and church listings are to our congregations, but only 2% of referrers to our website are from our congregations
- The #2 thing that people do when they click away from our site is look at our photos on Flickr
- Our Facebook marketing brings the second-highest number of referrals to our website; Google search is first. Wikipedia brings more people to us than episcopalchurch.org
- We have an increasing number of website users on smartphones and tablets, and visits from desktop and laptop computers dropped 10% in a year.
- The top things that bring people to our Facebook page are posts from our website, searches on google.com, our General Convention blog site we haven’t published anything on in 3 years, and episcopalchurch.org (yes, in that order).
- Our Twitter marketing brings almost as many people to our website as episcopalchurch.org; the next most significant referrer after Twitter is standfirminfaith, followed by stmartininthefields.org
- Our Facebook audience has 415 fans, overwhelmingly geographically close to our diocese, 54% women. Our women fans are much more engaged.
- The diocesan Flickr photo gallery remains popular. Since 2011 we have published 2,656 photos in 77 galleries, and have had 104,892 photo views.These are photos of diocesan conventions, bishop visitations to congregations, ordinations, and other diocesan and congregational events.
Into the Weeds!
For those interested in much more detail, visit the Tech Blog for analytics and insights on the website and our social media sites. The link is: https://episcopaldiocesefortworth.org/communications-analytics-and-insights-2014