Video Promos:

You’ve seen thousands of them

Every time you watch TV, you see promos. They go something like this:

Deep voice announcer: Tonight…On Survivor Zimbabwe! A double-cross leaves the Aoki tribe in turmoil.

Brenda: They stole all our water!

Eric: This ends NOW! You are voted off the Island!

Announcer: Tonight on CBS. 8 Eastern. 9 Pacific

Fishing for viewers? Promos are bait.

TV stations are always fishing for viewers – and promos are their favorite bait. The purpose of a promo is to entice you to tune in to watch a particular show. They also raise awareness of the TV station or network, so you’ll be more inclined to watch all their programs.

Here’s a vintage :30 promo from WTTV, the CBS affiliate in Indianapolis. The promo aired back in 1993:

Why pastors should produce sermon promos

As a pastor who posts his sermons online, you too can produce a promo that helps people discover your messages.

A sermon promo can achieve four goals:

  1. Encourage people attend your church
  2. Entice people to watch your sermons online.
  3. Raise your profile as a well-established local pastor
  4. Raise the profile of your church, so when people are ready to visit a church they’re more likely to choose yours.

Familiarity is important. The more familiar viewers are with you and your church, the more likely they are to attend a service in person. They won’t be “coming in cold” — they may already feel as if they know you, having heard your sermons online.

Your TV studio is in your pocket

Pastor cutting promo

Back when that M*A*S*H promo ran in the 1990s it cost hundreds or thousands of dollars to air a commercial on TV. It required expensive equipment and an experienced video team. Today, you can produce and air your promo for free. Your TV studio is sitting in your pocket: your smartphone. And your TV station is social media.

Encourage your followers and members to share the promo with their unchurched friends. And just like that you’ve launched a basic evangelism campaign that draws eyeballs to your sermons.

If you want to spend some money (as little as $50) you can turn your promos into targeted ads that are directed to people who live near your church. You can even target people who have recently searched for a church or other Christian content.

How do I create a sermon promo?

First, decide what type of promo you want to produce. Sermon promos can take many forms. Here are three:

  1. Sermon excerpt. This is the most common form of promo. After your sermon is recorded, go back and snip out a particularly compelling clip that runs 30-60 seconds in length. Post the clip to social media, with a link back to the full-length sermon. The goal is to intrigue people to watch your entire message.

Excerpts have one big disadvantage, though. Because they are snipped out of your sermon itself, they can’t be used to promote an upcoming sermon or series. Unless you’re willing to pre-tape your excerpts, that is. Which brings us to our next type of promo:

  1. A custom promo. It’s not taken from your sermon material – you shoot it separately. It doesn’t have to be a slick production. In fact, research has shown that young adults trust video content that looks homemade. It’s perceived as being more “real.” Promos don’t have to be uber professional, but they do have to be visually engaging so be sure to include some sort of visual if possible
  2. Use your bumper as a promo. Many churches produce video bumpers for their sermon series. Why not use your bumper as a promo? Just add your church’s address and service times to the end. Link to your church’s website or landing page. Buy a few targeted social media ads and see if they bring more people into your church.

Four reasons to post a promo instead of your sermon

A lot of churches simply post their sermons (or the entire worship service) to Facebook or YouTube and call it good. Why go to all the trouble of making a promo?

  1. A better chance of being watched. People who are swiping through social media aren’t likely to watch a 40-minute sermon – but they might watch an intriguing 30 or 60 second promo. Once they’re curious they’re much more likely to follow the link back to the entire message.
  2. Promos are shareable. People will more readily share short things than long things on their social media feeds. Short is especially important on TikTok, the fastest growing video platform on earth.
  3. Promos can contain a strong, specific call to action. For example: Join us this Sunday. Click here to learn more. Join a small group.
  4. Promos should link back to your website. Put your promo on social media, but the sermon it links to should be on your website. That way potential visitors can learn more about your church: where it meets, service times, ministry programs you offer, etc. The more they know about your congregation the more comfortable they will be to recommend you or visit in person.

You need a coach who understands video

Sign up for my free online mini course The Nine Commandments of Great Online Preaching. In less than an hour I will teach you how to make your sermons more watchable, memorable and shareable.

Go ahead. It’s free.

Published On: March 18, 2022 / Categories: Church, Church growth, Media, Online Preaching, Outreach, Publicity /

David Murrow, The Online Preaching Coach, is the author of Why Men Hate Going to Church and many other bestselling books. David is an award winning television producer whose work has been seen on ABC, NBC, PBS, CBS, Discovery Networks, BBC World Service and dozens more. His Online Preaching Cohort trains pastors in the art of on-screen communication.

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