Archive for August, 2010

Can your Blog bring Profits into your Ministry?

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That’s a great question.  The answer is, it depends on how you define what “brings” your ministry profit.  A blog rarely brings in revenue by itself.  Even the largest blog writers say revenue directly from their blog doesn’t represent the bulk of their income. 

So, why do so many bloggers equate blog success with their financial success?  A blog makes them popular, and brings fame, more correctly called “expert recognition” or “authority status” for a Christian.

If it’s purely a sales tool, it probably won’t have many readers.  If it’s a “sharing”, “teaching”, and “informing” tool, then it will attract more attention.  A blog should give value to the readers so they will keep coming back, and hopefully even subscribe.

A blog can be a great marketing tool for a ministry or church.  A great blog will be shared by readers to friends they believe will find it interesting or helpful.  A ministry or church that is helpful will usually have more visitors, clients, and referrals.  That’s where the financial benefit lies, in being valuable to others.

This Linked4Ministry blog is a little different, it’s not tied to any revenue seeking venture, except in the eternal kingdom benefits realm.  My motivation for Linked4Ministry began with the Holy Spirit’s leading to help other ministries reach more people for the kingdom.  It has evolved into research for my Master’s thesis and I suspect that was also part of His plan!  No matter what the goals for a blog are, it’s important to not only keep current readers, but to increase the number of readers.

Keeping current readers is easiest done with subscriptions.  WordPress offers e-mail subscriptions and RSS (really simple syndication) subscriptions.  E-mail subscriptions send your readers an e-mail copy of your new blog additions shortly after they are posted.  RSS feeds usually go to a RSS Feeds folder in your e-mail program (like Outlook), and are not as obvious to unfamiliar users.

Since we all know only so many people, we must rely on our current connections to share our blog with others.  WordPress just introduced several ways to make that much easier.  You can now add buttons at the bottom of a WordPress blog so readers can easily share your blog with their Twitter, Facebook, Press This, Digg, StumbleUpon, and Reddit connections, or just e-mail it to a friend or print it to share personally.  If you use WordPress, you can add the buttons to your blog on your dashboard by going to Settings > Sharing.  You can choose which of those services you want to display in a range of different formats. 

If you are new to this blog, please consider subscribing to e-mail updates at the top right.

As always, thank you for reading and I pray that this information blesses you and your ministry.  Please consider sharing this ministry with others you think it might benefit.  I’ve made it very easy to do with all the “share” buttons at the bottom!

Blessings,
Bill Bender

Anothen Life Ministries

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How to Use a Video to Extend Your Reach into the Kingdom!

This is a visual world.  Not just the “below 20’s”, or even the “20 something’s”, many people would rather watch a video than read an article or webpage.  One of the most powerful ways to share and promote your ministry is with a video.  It’s an entertaining way to share information about you, your ministry, your products, your services, and your ideas, in a format that’s quicker and more fun than reading!

If you don’t have a video yet, back in May I gave you some tips for creating a video, if you missed it, you can see it at http://bit.ly/94biw9 .

If you already have a video, you need to find ways to get it out there.  Of course there’s YouTube, but that might not be the only audience you want.  You can increase your chances of more people seeing it by posting it to additional sites, here’s a few more places to consider:

SlideShare is a great place to upload your videos, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint type presentations and documents, to allow others to view them.  SlideShare is also one of the LinkedIn applications so you can post your videos and presentations on your LinkedIn profile.  When you add a SlideShare presentation or video to your profile, all your direct connections see that you’ve added it in their Network Activity update lists, and everyone that views your profile can view it.  I am a strong proponent of customizing your LinkedIn Public Profile address so you can add it to all your correspondence encouraging everyone you communicate with to view your profile, and have an opportunity to see your video as well.  For an example, check out the Restoring the Foundations “Restoring Your Life” video I added to my LinkedIn profile at http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbender (scroll down past my Summary, just past my Amazon Reading List).  The video is also available on my SlideShare account.

TubeMogel is one of those great sites that allows you to make one post and have it automatically shared with other social media sites.  TubeMobel also offers analytics so you can see how many times your video has been viewed, how long it was watched, when people stopped watching, streaming quality, viewship by geography, new versus returning viewers, time of day your video was viewed, and a whole lot more.  This site offers a free version so you can take a test drive.

There are hundreds of individual sites where you can post your video, among them are Google, Yahoo Video, Vlmeo, Viddler, Break, MetaCafe, iTunes, Dailymotion, and Hulu.  Don’t forget to post them on your own website!

If you are new to this site, the best way to keep up with new posts is to subscribe in the e-mail subscription box at the upper right.  As always, I thank you for reading this blog and ask you to share it with others that you think it might help.  I’ve made it easy to share by just using the “share this” buttons below.

Be blessed,
Bill Bender
http://www.LinkedIn.com/in/billbender
http://www.AnothenLife.org

Does Your Ministry Need a “Cloud” Computer?

Does your ministry need a “Cloud” Computer?  Yea, I know some of us believe computers should be in the clouds but seriously, we’re stuck with them, so why not take advantage of them by learning all the things they can help with?

A “Cloud” Computer is simply a computer (actually a file or application) that doesn’t exist on a single computer so it can be shared by you and others if you desire from anywhere.  Here are a few questions that will help you determine if a cloud computer might help you:

  • Ever leave an important file or document on your computer when you are away from home and need it quickly?
  • Ever try to coordinate a calendar with several other people and wish everyone could see it?  This one is great for scheduling counseling or conference rooms.
  • Ever need a contact list that everyone in the ministry could utilize and keep updated?
  • How about sharing a large amount of photographs, documents, or spreadsheets with others in your ministry?

There are lots of other uses for “cloud” computers but that gives you some popular uses that you will probably find common in your ministry too.

Now, the important part.  Computers can cost big bucks right?  What I’m going to suggest is totally free.

The first is called AirSet.  It allows you to store files, contacts, calendars, lists and more.  If you choose to set up a “cloud” computer for a group, you can share any or all of those things with others in your ministry or even friends and relatives.  You’ll find it at http://www.airset.com .  It’s easy to figure out but there is a help button at the bottom, go to the user manual.  We use it to schedule our counseling rooms with the ministry staff so everyone knows who is using the room at what times & dates.  We’ve also stored some of the ministry intake forms on it so everyone can get to the latest version.

The second one is called SkyDrive.  It’s sponsored by Microsoft and it totally free.  All you need is a free Microsoft (live) e-mail address.  You will find it at http://www.live.com.  It allows each “live” e-mail address holder to have 25GB (that’s gigabytes as in a huge amount) of free storage space for files, documents and photos.  You can share photos and files with others by sending them an e-mail link.  It’s a great place to store a copy of your important files so you will never lose them!  I’ve used mine mostly for photos and then I can send a link so family members and friends can see and even download my photographs, or share them with others.  If you sign up for Microsoft live, also check out their free Windows photo gallery, it’s actually quite good for simple cropping, color adjustments, and eliminating red eye.

I hope you’ll find a use for your computer, yourself, and your ministry in the ‘clouds’ soon!

As always, thanks for reading this blog, please consider sharing it with others who might find it useful.

Be blessed, Bill

How is Your Ministries Web Exposure?

Is your ministry easily found by those searching for you on the Web?  It’s a challenge to get your ministry listed in all the right places in the right ways so you will be found, but it’s critical to your ministries success.

Here’s some tips to get you started:

Go to http://getlisted.org and enter your ministry name and zip to see your ministry’s “Listing Score”, and get help in finding new places to increase your exposure.

Here’s a couple you will definately want to sign up for:

Google Places: http://www.google.com/local/add 

To find out more about Google Local Business Center that has now become Google Places go to: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/04/introducing-google-places.html

Hotfrog: http://www.hotfrog.com

The “Get Listed” page will also give you links to list your ministry on:

  • Yelp
  • Bing
  • Yahoo
  • Best of the Web

It’s sometimes tricky to get through the hoops but well worth it.  These are all free and offer exposure to your ministry and links to your website.

The goal is to expand your reach into the kingdom!

Thanks for reading this blog, please share it with others that might benefit.

Blessings,
Bill

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