Not only are we changing the ways we communicate our message, but it seems as if each time we master a platform, a new one springs up, or the one we’ve been using changes—again. The pace of change continues to increase. How do we remain open to these dynamics, and deft enough to respond?

Episcopal Communicators, a diverse professional group of paid and volunteer individuals whose ministry is devoted to communications within the Episcopal Church, will offer their annual conference, “Changing Channels,” April 19-22 at the Netherland Hilton in downtown Cincinnati.

This is a great opportunity for individuals in our diocese who hold responsibility for communications in their congregation or faith community to attend one of these annual conferences and see up close what a membership in Episcopal Communicators can do to help you with your ministry. Non-Member rates for the entire conference are $500, but one, two and three-day commuter rates run $150 – $325.

The keynote speaker for the conference is Jana Reiss, author of The Twible: All the Chapters of the Bible in 140 Characters or Less. Conference workshops include:

ReContent: Refresh and Revitalize Your Content Strategy
Content is a gift. It should be thoughtful, planned and focused on the person you’re gifting. Oh, and re-gifting is perfectly acceptable in this case. Explore ways to develop content that fits your organization and resonates with your target audience. In this empathy-based workshop led by the team at dooley media, you’ll learn how to tell a great story well by sharpening your content creation skills.

How to Identify and Nurture Advocates
Establishing a page and pushing out content is half of the battle. The other half is putting your organization’s brand in the hands of people who are better connected, oftentimes better at telling your story, and carry more trust with the people you want to reach. Matthew Dooley, a social media expert and owner of the brand-building agency dooley media, will show you how to research what and who influences someone’s decision-making process and then how to invite and nurture a growing list of socially connected brand builders who are ready to recruit your next wave of visitors.

Transforming Communications through Asset Mapping
The Episcopal Asset Map is a grassroots-populated website that collects information about Episcopal institutions. Since all U.S. dioceses have signed on to the map, the project is entering a new phase. Expansion for all Episcopal communities is slated for 2017. The map is not just a website; it’s an opportunity for us to engage Episcopalians at all levels of the church. This workshop is an opportunity to see the new site design and share feedback as well as strategies for populating the map. This map can address multiple needs of a diocese and make your job easier. If you are a communicator for a diocese, congregation, school or an affiliated Episcopal institution, these strategies will give you new, yet tried-and-true, tools for engaging your audience, obtaining content and sharing the amazing ways we are living Christ’s love in the world.

Video on the Fly: How to Make Quality Video on a Tight Budget
In the digital age, video can be a wonderful tool to engage seekers and new audiences (and energize current members). Churches and dioceses often suffer from generalized, low-production-value videos that do not reflect the life and vitality of the parish. Through interactive exercises, Trevor Black and Christian Anderson will lead attendees to identify and clarify their church’s brand and develop a tangible game plan to create industry standard videos on just a smart phone and free editing software.

Planning Your Special Event
As communicators, we’re often tasked with anything involving engagement, including special events. Whether for a one-night performance, diocesan conference, or a weekend retreat, this workshop will cover attendee recruitment, staff and volunteer management, timelines, and program evaluation (so you can do it all again). We will discuss managing expectations and the pros and cons of different types of events, while sharing success stories, and maybe a few utter fails.

Storytelling for a Millennial Audience
If you want to reach millennials, you have to go to them—and you have to communicate in authentic, compelling ways that invite them into the conversation. Learn how to engage millennials through storytelling and peer-to-peer communication. Learn where to communicate with millennials without seeming like a poser. Which platforms—from print to social media—should push out which content?

Jesus’ Blood Is Thicker than Water: Latino/Hispanic Evangelism in English
Although it is true that most Latinos speak Spanish at home, we often forget an important fact: most of them understand and speak English proficiently—and in fact 35 million of them (65 percent) were born in the U.S. This presentation will demonstrate ways the church can communicate culturally meaningful messages and celebrations that resonate with English-speaking Latino audiences whether they are first-, second-, or third-generation Latinos.

When It Feels Like Work, Not God’s Work
We’re overworked and often underpaid (and probably feel under-appreciated). But for many of us, our work as communicators is not only our job but also vocation and calling. How can we keep this calling in perspective when deadlines and demands loom? What are concrete ways that we can incorporate and re-energize our faith as it is lived out in our work? Ultimately our own spiritual vitality is not only good for us as individuals but benefits our organizations as we feel revived and refreshed to do the work God is calling us to.

To learn more, visit http://episcopal-communicators.wildapricot.org. Several local communicators from diocesan staff, Forward Movement and Christ Church Cathedral are members and will be acting as hosts for the conference, and would be happy to speak with you if you have any questions or want to know more. If you are interested in attending all or a portion of the conference and the cost is prohibitive, the diocesan communications department will offer some scholarship assistance. Contact Julie Murray at jmurray@diosohio.org for scholarship information.

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