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  • Writer's pictureDarrell Stetler II

How We Used the Gospel Trunk or Treat to Get Our Church Mentioned in Local Media

Updated: Jul 1

If there's anything we pastors know about outreach events, it is "Just because you plan it, doesn't mean people will come." The truth is, no one yet ever came to a church event they didn't know about!


So how can churches promote their fall outreach events such as Trunk or Treat?


One way local churches can promote their work and community events is in local media. If you're a Christian who is deeply suspicious of the media, just hear me out.


The Benefits of Using Local Media to Promote Outreach Events

Local media is a powerful tool for promoting church events. When our Gospel Trunk or Treat was featured in The Oklahoman, it significantly boosted our event's visibility. Besides, you may also wind up with good quality backlinks to your church website as well.

screenshot of a news article about our church trunk or treat

If you want to plan a Trunk or Treat worth attending and advertising, you'll want to download my 23 page guide to planning a church trunk or treat right here.


Here are some key benefits we experienced:


  1. Increased Community Awareness: Being featured in a local newspaper or news website reaches a broad audience that might not be aware of your church or its activities. This can attract people who are looking for family-friendly, faith-based events.

  2. Enhanced Credibility: Media coverage adds a layer of credibility to your event. When people see your event mentioned in a respected publication, they are more likely to view it as legitimate and worth attending.

  3. Broader Reach: Local media extends your reach beyond your immediate congregation. It helps you connect with people in your community who may not be involved in your church but are interested in community events.


Why Using Local Media Works for Events Like Your Church Trunk or Treat

"Does it actually work?" Sure! People actually do still read the paper, or follow the local blogs or magazines.


Here are some reasons why it works.


  1. Community Engagement: Local media thrives on community stories. Events like Trunk or Treat are perfect because they offer a family-friendly, community-centered activity that aligns with the media’s mission to cover local interest stories.

  2. Newsworthiness: Events that offer something unique, like a church Trunk or Treat, are inherently newsworthy. They provide a wholesome alternative to traditional Halloween celebrations, which can be appealing to many families.

  3. Human Interest Angle: Stories that highlight community involvement, family activities, and faith-based initiatives are often of high interest to local media outlets. They showcase positive community interactions, which is a key focus for many local journalists.


How to Reach Out to Local Media Members

Building relationships with local media members is essential for getting your events covered. Here’s how you can do it, based on our successful experience with Carla Hinton, editor of the religion section of The Oklahoman:


  1. Serve as a Source: Offer to be a reliable source for stories. I reached out to Carla Hinton and offered to provide quotes or insights for articles related to faith and community events. This established me as a helpful contact.

  2. Share Newsworthy Items: Regularly share newsworthy items with local media contacts. Over time, I kept Carla updated with newsworthy events and stories from our church, including the Gospel Trunk or Treat. This kept our church on her radar.

  3. Cultivate Connections: Develop genuine connections with media members. Understand that you are serving them by helping create content. It can be exhausting for journalists to continually come up with new ideas. By providing them with stories, you are making their job easier.


A Real-Life Example: Connecting with Carla Hinton

Over time, I cultivated a relationship with Carla Hinton by occasionally connecting and offering to be a source for faith-related stories and sharing newsworthy items from our church. Here's a key fact: By helping her create content, I was serving her needs as much as she was serving ours by providing coverage! Realizing this gave me the courage to ask!


This mutual benefit led to our church being featured in The Oklahoman's article on Halloween events, significantly boosting our event's visibility.


More resources on promoting your Trunk or Treat

If you want to save over 100 hours of planning, consider checking out the Gospel Trunk or treat. I'll send you all the info via email right here:





Conclusion

Each pastor should cultivate some contacts within local media over time. Reach out and introduce yourself. Offer to be a source or a quote if they ever need one. By building these relationships, you can significantly enhance your church's ability to promote its events and increase community engagement.


Getting mentioned in local media doesn't happen overnight, but with persistence and a genuine desire to serve, you can make it happen. Your events will gain the visibility and credibility they deserve, leading to greater community involvement and a successful outreach.

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