Church communicators have come up with a term called Vomit Marketing. Vomit marketing is the easiest way to kill momentum. What is Vomit Marketing? It’s vomiting out all of the information and repeating it for weeks. You may think that providing all of the information and repeating it over and over again is the best way to share information. But, in a world full of constant input and messages from multiple sources on multiple platforms it is likely that your message will not be heard.

So, what can we do to communicate effectively? Let’s start with these basic guidelines (this applies to  all kinds of announcements):

  1. If you are submitting announcements for the weekly email, printed announcement sheet, or other OUUC publications, please use our online submission form. Here is the direct link to the form: http://ouuc.org/getting-connected/submit-announcements/. You can also find the submission form (as well as other forms) on our website, ouuc.org on the Forms website page in the Getting Connected section. Or simply put “Submit Announcements” in the search box on our website, ouuc.org.
  2. If you are a member of a group, please designate one person from the group to submit announcements.
  3. Announcements should be submitted by 11:00 am on Wednesday.
  4. Please proofread your announcements. Check spelling, time, date, and any email links before you submit the announcement. Emailing the Administrator with multiple corrections is not advised. The Administrator is working with many announcements, not just the one you sent.
  5. Stop abbreviating (RE, UUSC, UUA, etc). Don’t assume everyone knows what you are saying.
  6. Short announcements are better – aim for up to 100 words (150 max – shorter is better!). If it’s an event, tell the reader what it is, when it is, and give them a compelling reason to show up. If you have a significant amount of information to share it can be posted to the website blog and linked to the short announcement in our publications. Remove words not needed to educate, entertain and inform. Think bullet points. Do you think the reader wants more? You are assuming a lot (but link to online content if they do want more). The Administrator reserves the right to edit announcements for length.
  7. If you would like to provide a photo, please do so. Make sure the photo is a good quality. Close-ups are better. If the picture is taken from a website, please make sure the picture is a royalty free stock photo. Please contact the Administrator for sources of royalty free stock photos.

Now, to Vomit Marketing and how to avoid it. (This is for events that need to be promoted in advance.)

  1. We want to avoid giving the reader all of the information at once and repeating it for weeks.
  2. The first announcement about an event (3-5 weeks out) should be a “Save the Date” announcement. Be general – promise more information the following week.
  3. Each announcement after that should provide NEW information about the event.
  4. The most important information you can provide to the reader is not a list of everything on the menu, what specific room they should go to, or every item on the agenda. The most important information is how attending the event will benefit them, how it has ongoing value, or how it will be a memorable experience. Move from providing details to creating engagement.
  5. If you would like to promote an event with a series of announcements, please take some time to plan those announcements and send the series to the Administrator.
  6. If you need more information, please ask!

Darlene Sarkela, liberalfaith@ouuc.org