Engaging Culture

The Digital Future – What Are You Doing About It?

Our team at Cooke Media Group spends lots of time developing “big picture” ideas about where our clients are going in the media. We’ve been encouraging them to take more time and effort protecting their brand. No more half-baked book covers, print materials, TV programs, websites, etc. Everything we do needs to go to the next level. If you have a non-profit or religious media organization, or are producing media programming, here are some thoughts:

There are many big traditional media ministries who are way ahead of you. Joel Osteen, Robert Schuller, Joyce Meyer, TD Jakes, and others have been doing it for a long time and have a natural curve and momentum that gets them more publicity.

As such, creating a new program, or moving your program up the traditional, broadcast TV ladder is going to be tough (You don’t need me to tell you that). But don’t give up. Even in a tough environment, we need to think of where we can make an impact that will help brand you for the future.

To do that, we recommend you really start to focus online. I think there are amazing publicity possibilities here, and the church hasn’t taken advantage of them.

The truth is, you’re not going to make much money from this for awhile, but it’s about momentum, branding, and ubiquity. “Ubiquity” is being everywhere, and that’s the key to successful marketing. Joel Osteen and I talked about this the other day, and although it’s not making him any direct money, his podcast gets him incredible publicity, (last week #9 on iTunes) and along with books, TV, teaching DVD’s, and more, it increases his profile to the public and allows him to reach a much wider audience.

The fact is, the traditional TV media ministries are fighting for an ever shrinking piece of audience support. Whether they realize it or not, all the big guys are starting to see the beginning of the end for their traditional TV programs. Research indicates that the vast majority of teenagers today can’t even name the top four TV networks. Of course, it will take awhile for that to happen, and I’m not ready to give that up. But now is the time to make a stronger beachhead in the digital media world, because as one futurist recently said, “The future of TV is your cell phone.”

Simply put – today’s largest media ministries may have the advantage in a shrinking traditional media world. But you could have the advantage in the digital media world – the world of the future.

To do that, consider these priorities:

1. Continue developing the broadcast TV program and make it the best it can be. Broadcast TV has a long life ahead, and although there are major changes coming, don’t count it out yet. Traditional media is still in the game in a significant way.

2. Develop online possibilities right now. If you’re not podcasting, or running an online network, blogging, social networking, and more, you’re behind. Start speaking to the online generation, because they are the audience of the future.

3. Develop the kind of publicity that gets people talking about you outside your own media. You can’t pay for the kind of advertising you get through effective public relations. Get seen and heard in other arenas – from the local newspaper, online, and on TV and radio interview programs.

4. Get your book(s) in process, and think in terms of your overall writing career – not just your next book. I really hammer on this with clients, because a book is a legacy product. It will be on the shelf long after you’re gone, so we need a cover that we’re proud of, and content that expresses the essence of your ministry and vision.

Think about this stuff. It’s bigger than you might think…

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  1. This posting helps me to see just where media is headed and gives a blueprint of what we need to do to ride the wave. I agree, as Christians we have been behind for far too long. Personally, I am working on increasing my online presence while striving to remain genuine in my communications. A key quote for me was #3 “Develop the kind of publicity that gets people talking about you outside your own media.” Everyone doesn’t learn in the same formats, so we must utilize various mediums to develop a more cohesive netting that will be far more reaching and impacting. I plan on seriously looking into other mediums such as radio, etc… I also like #4 “…think in terms of your overall writing career – not just your next book.” I’ve got three books currently in various stages of production and another seven or so in the development phase. My writing covers several genres as well and Lord willing, will be repurposed into other interactive formats. Thanks Phil, for helping me FOCUS while living in the “big bad world of distracting possibilities.” 🙂
    Allen Paul Weaver III
    author, Transition: Breaking Through the Barriers

  2. Those are some great points..especially #2. The landscape of the online communities is changing and they are becoming more specific. I think myspace has outgrown it's orginal effectiveness and more communities of likeminded/similar interest groups are popping up. For example Shoutlife…mychurch, ect..


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