Basic Leadership: How You Win Matters!

Winning & Leadership

I love to win.  Its part of who I am. I know I’m not too different from you. At least, I don’t think I’m too different. Everyone likes to win. Professionally, personally, relationally, financially. “Winning” is a driving motivation for most of us.  Now, before you go all altruistic on me, this post is not about evaluating our motivations. Whether we are currently acting selfishly or selflessly, winning is a strong motivator to us living out our passions. Whether or not they are “good or bad”. (I would recommend evaluating your motivations) Over the next three weeks I will be writing about three basic leadership steps.

  1. Knowing Your Organizations Behavioral Values ~ How You Win Matters
  2. Knowing Your Personal Values ~ At Your Core, Who Are You?
  3. Vision, Vision, Vision! ~ What Story Are You Telling?

Knowing Your Organizations Behavioral Values

Clarity matters a great deal to me. So much so that I think some of my friends think I’m a little ridiculous on how much emphasis I place on clarity. This is especially true when it comes to organizational clarity. Currently, there are  a lot of conversation around the importance of vision and mission statements over the last decade or so.  In no way am I disagreeing with the importance of strong and compelling vision. I’ll actually be talking about this in a few weeks from now.  However, I want to start with an equally important conversation, and in my opinion, a leadership principle that is sorely overlooked by many organizations.  I believe one of the most effective ways of bringing clarity to your organization is by being crystal clear on your organizations behavioral values.

Behavioral Values Are Not:

  • Generic in nature
    • (I get it, of course you want an honest, hard-working and authentic work culture – BUT how will you achieve that? What are the behaviors that you will be able to measure to evaluate success? Those generic value statements, while true, are somewhat useless in the day-to-day tasks of “doing the work.”
  • A reflection of what culture says are “good/moral” values.
    • Be unique, be different, be yourself…if you don’t want to be a reflection of the median crowd, don;t be. Stop being general. Be specific, write it down and “own” who you want to be. It will be incredibly motivating to your team and you will retain like-minded individuals and become a much more compelling organization.
  • A copy of another organizations values statement.

Behavioral Values Are & Will:

  • Are Specific
  • Will set your organization apart from others
  • Will give instant clarity to your staff
  • Will empower your teams to make appropriate decisions
  • Will finally articulate some of those “unwritten rules” your organization has.

In the simplest form, behavioral values are the behaviors you want your organization and team to exhibit as they go about achieving their outcomes and goals.  You see, I believe that most conflict comes from unmet expectations. AND, in my experience, most people can achieve their outcomes with proper support and guidance. HOWEVER, achieving your outcomes and goals does not ensure “success” as defined by your organization. Success, for most organizations even if it’s unsaid, is defined by you achieving a goal and achieving it in a certain way.  Another way to say it is like this.

Reaching Goal ≠ Success

Reaching Goal + “In an approved way” = Success

By defining and declaring your organizations behavioral values, a leader releases clarity and brings empowerment to the who organization. Because, let’s be honest with each other.  No one is truly 100% outcomes motivated. How we win is important to most of us. in fact, it’s incredibly personal. No wonder then that there are times in an organization when conflict arises and people are at a complete loss as to why. they are at a loss, because the “how” was never properly defined and by defining and declaring your organizations behavioral values, you will be well on your way to creating an organization that truly makes a difference. Not just by your business outcomes, but by also releasing the potential of your team members.  Here is a simple example of how to apply this in your setting.

Application Steps

(Free resource below)

1. Where Are You Now:

In a faith-based organization used this PDF to highlight some of the “un-written” values they had in their organization. The leadership took time, as individuals, to mark down where they though the organization was at this current time in regards to these values.  Only instruction was, they could not choose the middle, you had to choose one side or the other.

This was tracked and documented. It was interesting to immediately see,  even in the evaluation and assessment of values, there was a broad spectrum of perception of reality.

2. Where Do you Want To Be:

The next step was to have each person mark their preferred future on each continuum. From there, the team discussed and then decided on what the organizations behavioral values would be going fwd.

Final Thoughts

Leadership is always a challenge. However, by adding clarity to your organization, not only will your organization achieve and accomplish more, they will be happier doing it.  Here are two quick resources.

1. This is an example of some of the values the case study above used as a discussion primer: Download Example Values Here

https___www_darrenherbold_com_wp-content_uploads_2014_03_values-continuum-1_pdf

2. Here is a template you can use to begin a conversation on your organizations motivating values: Download Template Herehttps___www_darrenherbold_com_wp-content_uploads_2014_03_Values-Continuum-2_pdf

Make sense, or am I out to lunch? Does your organization have clear, documented values when it comes to the “how” you are supposed to work? Let me know and don’t forget to sign up to the newsletter below.

Stay Updated: I am in the final stages of releasing a premium ebook titled “Go Live Your Life Already!”  Subscribe to the newsletter to stay informed.  Subscribe with one click below.

Hybrid Connect Error : Connector could not be found

A Change To DarrenHerbold.Com

directions

One of my values is transparency. So, this post is all about updating you, my reader, on some upcoming changes to DarrenHerbold.com. Change is a funny thing. Some people love it, while others strongly dislike it. I’m somewhere in the middle. However, with that said, change is coming to this website. I’ll explain the specifics below, and if you’re interested you can read even further on why I’ve making these changes.

The Changes

Into the future weeks, this blog will begin to focus on three key areas.

  1. Publishing Resources & Books
  2. Refocused Blogging
  3. Consultation & Coaching

Publishing Resources & Books

This means I will be starting to take more time creating content and resources that will be offered, for purchase through the website. A new product package will be offered in the next few weeks based on the “Go Live Your Life Already” book. Stay tuned, I’m excited to be able to start offering these new resources. You will notice the book is no longer a free giveaway. It will be part of the published resources in the very near future.

Refocused Blogging

My blogging will begin to take on a new focus based on three primary areas. Life, Leadership and ______(Sorry, the third category is still a secret…but not for long) You can already see these reflected in the menu headings on the blog. However, overall there will be a greater emphasis on leadership, marketing and business principles. I believe these are all transferable to any organization, but they won’t be exclusively focused on a church/faith-based context.

  • Life
    • Family
    • Faith
  • Leadership
    • Personal
    • Business
    • Ministry
  • A Secret Topic (Sorry, can’t quite announce this topic yet)

Consulting & Coaching

To be incredibly blunt and truthful. I enjoy working with like-minded people. This means I wont work with anyone, but I will work with people and organizations with like-minded values and goals. I am forcing myself to become much more focused in where I spend my extra time. So, if you feel you resonate with the content on this blog and the book, I’d love to connect with you and see what may come.

That’s the gist of the changes to come. I know some may be happy and some may be a little disappointed, but I do appreciate your engagement through this site and hope you will continue to stay part of this community. If you like details, I’ve shared more of my thought process below.

My Thought Process

On my best days I struggle with knowing clearly who I am and what I am supposed to accomplish with this life God has given me. Yup, that’s the honest truth. I have so many competing passions and even gifts that I’m often pulled in way too many directions.  Don’t get me wrong. I know I’m called to be engaged in full-time ministry. That much is obvious to me. It also currently relates to the privilege of working at Beulah Alliance Church.  I love that place. I love Edmonton.  However, when it comes to my free time, this blog and my other projects, how do I best spend my time?  Here is where I’ve landed.

While writing the book, “Go Live Your Life Already,” I was again challenged to refocus how I spend my time and ensure that my time is spent ruthlessly focused on my vision statement, or as I call it, my Driving Primary Purpose. My DPP is this:

Breaking chains of mediocrity and oppression so that people can live the life they were called to live, and change the world.”

Here are a few realizations I had.

  • Business & Marketing ~ A lot of my background has been in marketing, business and sales, I find that I am often drawn to those areas and how they can impact and create exponential growth, regardless of industry.
  • Church & faith ~ I’m passionate about my faith. It is after all the bedrock and foundation for everything I do. However, I have decided not to blog exclusively about this area. It will of course always be the lens through which I view people and the world.
  • Personal development ~ I truthfully enjoy helping people reach their goals, regardless of their background and faith perspectives. I do believe God has a call on each and every one of us, and I feel privileged to be able to reach a wide audience.
  • Justice & Compassion ~ This has been an area I hope to look at more in the coming months. In many ways it started with our adoption process and journey and continues to grow.
  • Leadership Scope ~ I believe there are different “Scopes of Leadership.” A city focus, regional, national and international.  My natural tendency has always been national in scope, but this has shifted significantly in recent months to a more international pull. Clarification: Scope of leadership is not hierarchical. One scope is not better than another. They are all great and needed. ‘m also not implying I have an international audience. However, this is an intentional area I am looking to build into.
  • Strategic Partners ~ I’m an entrepreneur. I actually fight that sometimes, but at my core, I love starting projects, companies, etc. However, I have chosen not to be the driver of these initiatives. I believe much of my entrepreneurial itch will be scratched through strong relationships that develop into strategic partnerships.  This is what happened to a new venture, soon to be released, called Flowtrics.com  I am a silent partner in this endeavor. A significant friend, much smarter than myself is the true brains behind the project.

So, with all that said, this blog will change. As with all things, one never knows how it will all turn out, but for this aspect of my life, I’m excited for the future and the potential to be part of a thriving online community of people wanting to make a difference and literally change the world.

Be blessed and be a difference maker.

The best is yet to come!

Photo Credit: photographer padawan *(xava du) via Compfight cc

Subscribe to our mailing list

* indicates required Email Address * First Name

How To Create An Inspiring Organization: Start With Why? [VIDEO]

Organizational Clarity

I believe a defining characteristic of inspiring organizations is the ruthless focus on defining and guarding organizational clarity. Simon Sinek in his book “Start With Why” links clarity directly to inspiration. His premise is this:

Inspiration comes in a variety of forms, but the root of it grows from a fundamental question asked by those who are able to inspire others. The most important question of all, according Simon, is: Why do we do what we do? 

I believe most successful organizations share two qualities: they are smart, and they are healthy. An organization demonstrates it is smart by being able to clearly define “what” services they offer or “what” feature benefits they provide. Examples would include clearly defined strategies, marketing plans, product features, and financial models that lead to competitive advantage over its rivals. Organizations demonstrate they are healthy by eliminating confusion on “why” they exist. This leads to higher morale, lower turnover, and higher productivity. Virtually all healthy organizations avoid confusion by having pinpoint clarity on their driving primary purpose. Their big goal AND their non-negotiable values that drive behavior.

Guarding and creating ever increasing levels of clarity around the “why” of your organization is one of the primary responsibilities of every leader. However, beyond a responsibility, it will bring freedom for you to work in your area of passion and simultaneously gather other like minded individuals to your cause. It is the sum of all these people working together, impassioned by a common goal, that will make possible the exponential impact that everyone seeks but few attain.

Simon Sinek, in the video below, discusses  some of the science and powerful results that can come from focusing ruthlessly on organization clarity…and the inspiration that results. This is a great 15 min video.

Disclaimer & Next Steps:

I think after watching something like this there is a temptation to quickly rank one’s own organization and potentially become frustrated. Instead of becoming frustrated and not doing anything, I challenge you to watch this video with your team and discuss some of the principles. No organization is perfect, but being part of an honest and transparent organization brings  a lot of freedom.  I know I have been thankful that I am part of a team that is willing to discuss these principles and constantly refine how to continually learn and grow.

So, what stuck out to you after watching this?  I especially found the discussion around our limbic brain and neo-cortex interesting.  Also, the law of diffusion of innovation was particularly interesting, especially in light of ministry and non profit work. I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Darren

PS. If you would like to receive an advance copy (once released) of my new eBook on living the life you were called to live, you can sign up below to my newsletter. I focus a lot on achieving clarity on your own driving purpose in life and how to execute and live the life you’ve always wanted.

2 Steps Towards Creating Inspiration

Inspiration

I love being inspired!  Don’t you?  I was thinking about inspiration this week and how tricky it is to define. So, I wondered, to myself,  how one could create moments of inspiration.  I thought about times that I have been inspired and asked myself what the common denominator of each experience was.  An often recurring theme was that there was a compelling experience, of some kind, each and every time. I was musing over how much I value compelling experiences. I don’t think me saying, “I crave them” would be an overstatement. For me, compelling experiences are vital for inspiration to take place.  The challenge of course is how relative our definition of compelling experiences can be. For me, I landed on 2 key components that help create a context for inspiration to happen. Impactful Information &  Wow Environment’s

Impactful Information + Wow Environment = Compelling Experience

Compelling Experiences = Opportunity for inspiration to happen.

 

Everything starts with an idea. If your information is going to be received by me it must be impactful.

Impactful Information…
  • …addresses a felt need
  • …may highlight something I do need, but don’t yet realize – (Often the case around evangelism)
    • However, to keep me listening, you need to be addressing a felt need of mine. After all, since I don’t know I need your information, why would I keep listening?
  • …calls people towards action. It’s impactful, because it asks us to change our behavior
  • …it tells a story that inspires
  • …it creates a picture of what my story could be
  • …let me say it again…it asks us to change and be better

Supporting your information matters. Wow environments prepare me to listen and encourage me to act.

Wow Environments…
  • …get me to focus, immediately, on the here and now. They are so compelling they help me forget about the hundred other distractions competing for my time.
  • …engage my senses. What I see, smell, hear, touch all have a powerful influence, not only my mood, but also my ability to retain information. Involve my senses
  • …act as a guide to a wonderful journey.
  • …They don’t assume I know what they want me to think and experience. They guide me to experience a truth or story. They are very intentional
  • …members and guests have clarity on what they can expect, beforehand. Not specific elements, but the philosophy of why we do what we do.
  • …they reinforce and never distract from the “Impactful Information
  • …they surprise us
  • …they leave us wanting more
  • …they cause us to not be able to stop talking about them and telling our friends

Obviously, in my world, this applies to weekend services.   What do you think? What would you add to the list?

The Truth About How Many Hours You Work [Graphic]

Truth winnond freedigitalphotos

You Work Less Than You Think

 

Not only that, but the more hours that people work, the more they exaggerate. Americans who say they work 75 hours a week tend to be exaggerating by 25 hours. Did you read that. “Twenty – five Hours”.  Are you kidding me.  (The average American work week in September 2012 was 34.5 hours, according to the BLS.)

overestimated work week

Thoughts on Why People Overestimate?

There are likely a lot of reasons for this. Here are a few that come to mind.

  • People don’t want to seem lazy.
  • People are lazy and they want to inflate how much they actually worked.
  • Social Desirability is listed as one reason by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, especially if they are part of a social class that places value on working too much
As A Supervisor, What Should You Do?
  •  Look at yourself first. Examine your values. (Be honest, there is no right or wrong answer)
    • Do you place a premium on working long hours?
    • Is there a disconnect between what you say publicly and believe internally? (This one is easy to diagnose. You say that people should have a healthy balance between work and family, but you immediately question how much time someone is putting in when you don’t see them around?)
  • Be honest with the organization
    • Be clear with your values and live them out.  If you want people to work 45 hours, kick them out when they hit 45. If its 60, keep them accountable to 60. Just be clear with your expectations and celebrate people working to those expectations.
  • Create a Culture of Trust
    • Assume the best of your team members. Make sure their goals and responsibilities are in proportion to the working hours expected of them every week. After that, you won’t need to count the hours, you’ll only need to hold them accountable to their outcomes. It will give them freedom to be all in when at work, and “all there” when at home with family without any guilt.
My Opinion

Whatever you do, please stop boasting about how much you work. I personally think that 40 hours of hard work is a lot of time that will get a lot done every week. This is what I expect of myself and y teams. Put your head down and rock it for 45 hours every week.  Then go home.

You may not look like you’re working as hard as everyone else, but….

  • They’re likely exaggerating anyways
  • You won’t have to lie to your co workers about how much you work. (Yes, exaggerating is lying in my books) 45 hard work hours is something to be proud of.
  • Most importantly, your kids will tell their friends they want to grow up to be just like you.

your kids will tell their friends they want to grow up to be just like you

If you liked this article consider sharing it with others. (Tweet This)

(freedigitalpictures.net | winnond)

Secret Studies On How To Email Strategically

Email

Ok, so perhaps these aren’t secret. But they are a secret if you are never made aware of them.  Below is a list of some of the best, current, studies and research I have found that are both current and applicable to churches and non profits.  If there is anyway I can help you or your organization achieve your goals in communication, send me an email.  Now, on to the secrets. I’ve included a potential action item that you our your team may consider.

 How to Build Large Email Lists

Having the ability to communicate your message to your audience is key to any organizations success. In an ever-increasing online world, it is important to be able to reach your audience through email. people are on the go, not always able to attend a live event. The importance of building large and effective email lists is now a must for any organization. Here are some tools you may consider using to help build your email lists. Again, I’m not endorsing any strategy, but these are options that have proven effective. As always, your content should be good enough that people will want to read it.

  • How To Quickly Build Your Email List with Social Media Contests
    • This is a great resource on how to use contests to increase engagement and newsletter subscriptions. An important take away is your contest,while offering a potential reward, should also somehow help offer some type of tool or service that is beneficial to the participant.

How are you driving engagement through your website and/or email. Have you even considered creating engagement. Sit with your team and create some options that you feel may add value and engagement to your subscribers. Tip…Ask them.

  • The (Easy) Secret To 1,375% More Subscribers
    • This is all about using a pop up subscription box.  Some people hate these, some people put up with them. (I’m currently testing one on this site) Regardless of philosophy, pop up subscription boxes have been shown to increase newsletter sign ups.

I have yet to see a church incorporate this feature, but teamed up with a great free resource, I think it would work!

Important Studies about Email You Should Know

  • The Science of Email Marketing: The Evolution of Email
    • This is a long slide share, but it is well worth the read. I would recommend communication teams highlight which slides are relevant to their organization and make necessary changes. He addresses everything from using an ampersand (&) in your emails, to what words provide higher click-through rates (CTR), to timing of emails, to the impact that adding a visual to your email makes.  This is a thorough document, well worth the read…and take notes.

Have you or someone on your team recently studied your email newsletter CTR, subscription rates and what type of headlines have generated the best responses?

  • How To Email Your List
    • A super helpful email dissecting how often one should email your subscribers and the impact emailing frequency has on unsubscription rates and sales. In the non-profit world, unsubscription rates to people responding to some kind of a call to action.

At the cost of a few unsubscribes, would it be worth it if a few more people signed up for that important church event? perhaps think about emailing two reminders out on the day of an event.

A/B Testing

I think this is something almost every church and non-profit could learn from.  Here is a great visual to get you started on A/B test and in the process learn about what makes a great landing page.  By the way, i think landing pages are a great tool for launching sermon series. Don’t just add a generic page ob your website, create a new page completely dedicated to your new series.

Think about what exposure and effectiveness your organization could gain if you had a volunteer or staff person help you run some A?B testing on your website.

More on A/B Testing

I love testing and finding just the perfect marketing approach. However, I love taking action even more. The danger with A/B testing is that many organizations get stuck in the minutia of details and they keep testing, testing, testing and never end up doing.  Here’s a good reference for how what you should test/change when you start your next round of A/B testing.

On Building Trust

Many organizations give away some sort of freebie to entice you to sign up to their newsletter.  They assume the goal is to get you to sign up. They’re wrong. In fact, the main reason is to build trust with their audience.  Example: If I give away something for free and you find it useful, it helps you to trust my opinion and my product (if I were to sell something) It’s the law of reciprocity at work. Check out more below.

How would giving away a free, useful, resource to your city help your church or organization build trust?

On Writing Content

Write From Their Perspective

It’s so easy to write content from your perspective vs your clients.  Take for example a company writing sales letters trying to sell all the reasons why company A should hire their services. This rarely works. In this article, even though it’s a sales based letter, it relates well to all non profits as well. W

What is a common pain that society is facing in your city. How are you acknowledging it. How are you highlighting the “real” problem” How are you addressing it?

More on Great Content

Another great resource on what to consider when writing good blogging content. However, these best practices transcend just blogging they should also inform what and how you write when sending a church email or newsletter.

Create a standard template when sending out church or department newsletters. Ensure that you and/or your team are asking the appropriate questions when writing any content. Example> How to capitalize headlines, how and when to use sub headings, do we include introduction paragraphs or not, what about pictures and visuals, etc.  What is your list when sending out an email? Does your team know?

Some good Old fashion Online Resources

Some known and unknown resources you may consider when helping you launch a new online presence/business.

For churches, think about how you could use these in the context of spreading the good news of the Gospel to your city. For instance, what are some of the emails you should or could send after someone subscribes or sign ups to an event or training at your church. (The confirmation email doesn’t count)

Do you have some other resources you have found helpful in church communication? Please let me know, but even more importantly post so that our peers can learn as well. What did you think of some of these articles? If there is anyway I can help you or your organization achieve your goals in communication? send me an email.

If you liked this article, would you consider sharing it on Twitter? Share it here

(flickr|smemon)

When is the Prime Time To Send Your Church Newsletter?

Email Timing?

Timing is Everything?

Ok, you have started using an email newsletter for your church.  Does it really matter when you send that important email?  What if your open rate could jump by 20% and your conversions by 65%?  Let me pause and ask a question.  Do you know what your open rate is for your newsletter? At churches across the country we are passionate about sharing the Gospel. Sometimes though, I don’t think we are as effective as we could be and being a little more intentional with our newsletters could be a great place to start.  What would an increase of 20% to your open rate mean to your church? How about a response increase of 65%? It should mean you are able to do more for your vision.Below I’ve listed some of the most current research on the importance of timing when you communicate your message. Here are two articles that I have found informative.

  1. Timing Is Everything: When You Should Publish Your Content
    1. This is a great article because it differentiates between Facebook, Twitter and Email. People use these services at different times, so it is helpful to know when you should communicate your message on each medium.  For instance, I always knew it was “better” to publish blogs in the morning.  What I didn’t know was that there is a greater likelihood that people will read and RT you on Twitter if you post in the afternoon.  Check out the study from Aweber.
  2. Six Case Studies and Infographics on the Optimal Time to Send Emails
    1. I’m a sucker for infographs. Love them!  Here are a series of great infographs from various companies highlighting some of the best, feedback on the importance of timing your communication.  It would be a worthwhile discussion with your communications team to think about what your ideal client is, what their average week looks like and when they are most likely to need and read your emails.

What other research have you found helpful in regards to email marketing, timing, branding, etc?  Please share so we can all learn together. if you are involved your churches communication strategy, I’d love to hear what analytics you track on a consistent basis?

Gmail Promotions Tab And Your Church Newsletter

Gmail Promotion Tab

Over the next week or so I have decided to explore some of the current conversation happening in the world of online marketing.  Specifically, I will be looking at email and how it impacts your church communication strategy.  Here are some of the topics I’m already researching.

  • The New Gmail Promotions Tab and Your Church Newsletter (This article)
  • Forget Social Media – Don’t Stop Emailing
  • Some Tips and Tricks on Improving Your Online Communication
  • Why it matters when you hit send on your church newsletter

If you want to keep up to date with these articles, don’t forget to subscribe to my newsletter. You may even find a new blog you haven’t yet subscribed to.

The New Gmail Promotions Tab

You may have noticed, that Goggle, quietly rolled out a revamped version of their popular Gmail service.  One of the biggest changes is the new “Promotions Tab”  (see below).  This has had many online marketers frustrated and nervous. In fact, it’s been a huge topic of conversation in many blogs and news articles recently. Why? Marketers and business are nervous their newsletters will now be automatically added to a persons “promotions tab” and lumped together with the sleazy junk mail we all get.  Even worse, their email may never be opened at all.

If businesses are concerned they are losing exposure, I think it’s important that churches are also aware how this may impact them.  Below is a list of some articles regarding the topic. Instead of regurgitating what everyone else has said I’ve instead made a brief commentary on each one as to why and how this could impact your church newsletter

gmail promotions tab

 

Open Rates Have Lowered:

Mail Chimp studied 12.5 billion emails and determined open rates for Gmail users have declined. Don’t freak out, it was only marginal.  Approx. 1%. However, that 1% is very significant for churches. It’s significant, because 1% could mean the one family you have been praying for or inviting does not get the invitation to your event or service. Every number has a name and because of that, even 1% matters.

~ http://blog.mailchimp.com/how-gmails-new-inbox-is-affecting-open-rates/

How To Remove The Promotions Tab in Gmail

As with most change, it is very often met with scrutiny and a sense of doom. Human nature is often to protect the status quo. Now, it remains to be seen whether this is a good change for Gmail or not, it is creating string reactions. Some of which may turn out to be true. Regardless, as a church communicator, it will be important to know the potential impact this may have on your organization.  Kikolani, in this blog, highlights some of the tension and frustration many people are feeling.  They also offer a simple tutorial on how to turn off the promotions tab in Gmail.

~ http://kikolani.com/new-gmail-inbox-tabs.html

Take A Deep Breath

I tend to fall in this camp.  It’s almost never helpful to freak out.  The funny thing is that many churches won’t even know that Gmail changed anything and if they did how it could impact them. However, anything that adds clarity and effectiveness to my day is a worthwhile addition. If nothing less, it forces churches to offer more helpful content that people will want to read.

Why Email Marketers Can Relax

The Great Gmail Freak-Out Of 2013: An Open Letter To Email Marketers

Content is King.

I subscribed to a few church newsletters. I’m often on the lookout to learn from others and simply, to be inspired by the good things happening around the world. Unfortunately, most church communication is advertising based. I completely get this. We have services that we need to advertise and make known. After all, the average church goer only attends 1 or 2 times every month and won’t be able to know about all teh great things they could participate in.

What if…our email marketing and online presence was more about adding a service. creating content that helps the families we serve, not just advertises the next church program? I’m all for advertising the nest church program. Its likely important. But, I  would love to see and dream what it could look like for a church to create and provide additional value to their community by providing great content through their online presence and church newsletter.  Here’s a “how to” to help with your email engagement…however, is your content worth reading?

7 Ways to Survive Gmail’s New Promotions Tab (Copyblogger)

 

Have you seen or receive a great church newsletter? I’m on the lookout for some of the best church newsletters/blogs in North America.  Let me know.

You Are Invited To Write For My Blog

Write For My Blog

I want to hear your story and share it with others! 

Please Consider Writing For My Blog If:

  • You love writing and want to expand your platform and experience.
  • You’re curious about blogging and want to “try it out” before you start your own
  • Have a story that you want to share but not sure how.

Content

Your post must be on one of seven topics:

  • Faith (What has God been teaching you recently?)
  • Leadership
  • Productivity
  • Team Development
  • Personal Growth
  • Technology posts that relate to the above.

Your post cannot be an advertisement for your product or the equivalent of a sponsored post.

Content Guidelines

Important: For me to consider your post, it  must meet these content and formatting guidelines. Please proofread and double check your work before submitting.

  1. Your post must be original and not previously published either on the web or in print.
  2. You agree not to publish it anywhere else, including your own blog or Web site. You may, however, post a brief “tease” or summary on your site that links to the post.
  3. Please provide: (if applicable)
    1. Your Blog or website URL
    2. Your About Page URL or similar
    3. Your twitter account (if applicable)
  4. Your post should be at least 500 words long and no more than 800 words.

Style & Formatting

  1. Use H4 tags for sub-headings.
  2. Max of two outbound links. All outbound links must open in a new tab.
  3. Cite your source at the end of your post in this format: [via LINKED-SOURCE-NAME]
  4. For acknowledging someone for bringing something to your attention: [HT: LINKED-NAME]
  5. Add [Infographic] or [Video], respectively, at the end of the title if a video or infographic is central to your article. . If a video or infographic is only a peripheral to the piece, then do not.

Submission Guidelines

If your post meets the above guidelines:

  • Please email it to me for consideration. I usually respond within 2–3 days.
  • Please include a one to two-sentence byline that includes what you do, along with your blog address and your Twitter and/or Facebook address.
  • Please confirm that you are willing to engage with my readers in the comments about your post. This is hugely important and a non-negotiable. I value my readership and want to provide high engagement with them.
  • You agree to promote your post through social media and your blog. (You may post a teaser article highlighting your guest post on DarrenHerbold.com)
  • Please include the post in the body of the e-mail. DO NOT include it as an attachment. Also, please do not include HTML coding.

Editing & Disclaimer

  • I may or may not use your content.
  • I will proofread your post for grammar, punctuation, etc.
  • I may provide an introduction to you and/or your post as appropriate.  I’ll make sure to distinguish my comments stylistically from your content.

Guest Post Blogging Tips:

I’m looking fwd to receiving your email. You can email me here. I usually respond within 2–3 days.

I want to extend my thanks to Michael Hyatt and Daniel Scocco for laying the groundwork for some great guest posting guidelines.

Integrating Feedly and Feedburner

Feedly and Feedburner

By now, if you use an RSS Reader you know that Google Reader is officially dead.  And perhaps in the near future Feedburner may be as well. However, I still like using it as a service to my readers.  Currently that’s the service people use to subscribe to my blog. I’ve switch ed to Feedly as my go to reader of choice. There are basically two important steps people need to take:

  1. For those that have used Google Reader as their primary RSS reader. You need to change to a new RSS Reader before July 1st to not lose all your subscriptions
  2. The other step is for bloggers who use Feedburner and want to incorporate Feedly as a subscription option for their readers.

#1 Choose a New RSS Reader

  1. If you are a reader and use Google Reader, make sure and change to a different RSS reader before July 1st.
  2. I recommend Feedly as a great alternative to Google Reader

#2 Incorporate a Feedly Flare With Feedburner

  1. If you use Feedburner, you will need to add Feedly as a subscription option. This is a great tutorial on how to do that for your blog.
  2. I want to credit Visuex technologies for a great tutorial and also the ability to self host the feed flare if you want to. Currently they are hosting for free.  Here is the website

[Image via Rafael Faria| flickr.com]