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8 Key Ingredients of a Powerful Community Outreach
By: C. Michael Johnson

What are the main components every effective saturation media campaign must have?

1. The only communication that really works is incarnational.
What works well personally shows up even better in media. Make your communication thoroughly and completely an incarnational "withreach." Go for the God-dreams in people.

2. Speak with an authentic voice.
Be real, honest, affirming, and honoring. Inspire hope in a credible way. Don't waste money on clever gimmicks and worn-out clichés. They will fall flat. This is a challenge with today's media- savvy audience, but people will quickly respond to communication that has the ring of an honest conversation.

3. Have clear objectives.
Know precisely what your goals are and plan for each step in the response path. Does the mass media lead to a landing page on your Web site that: 1) looks like they are in the right place and, 2) has what they need to take the next step?

And, what are those steps: a phone call, an e-mail, a request for a free brochure or booklet, a bridge event, a link to your blog? Then, where do you want to go from there in the developing relationship?

4. Be truly audience-centric.
Determine from the start to see yourself and your message the way they see it. Would you respond? Make sure nothing is hidden and that your "offer" has no strings attached.

5. Marketing is conversations.
Before, during, and after, it's all about conversations. All media should awaken dreams and begin a conversation. The beauty of mass media is that you can literally start thousands of conversations. They won't all respond immediately, but those who are ready will.

Generally, the track of conversational media goes from mass to online to personal. But, you can't expect many at the end of the funnel if you don't keep the funnel wide at the start. Saturation media does that.

6. Let your audience design your media.
This is the purpose of research, to let your target audience tell you the best way to reach them. This can be done through casual focus groups and "community conversations," but also by reading existing research and immersion into the culture.

7. Invest wisely.
So that you can extend your reach, look for the lowest cost-per-impression (not distribution). Make sure it's really an impression; if they don't see it, it doesn't count. For example, while most media is highly fragmented, direct mail achieves true saturation because every piece is seen.

However, direct mail is only as good as its content, which is its highest factor for results. Carefully designed, responsive content completes the impression.

8. Begin a comprehensive plan.
Plan strategically and build your city-reaching, community transformation plans thoroughly and wisely. With intelligent planning, you will reach your objectives, and reach them more cost-effectively, with smoother coordination, and with deeper, more strategic insights, which can lead to leveraged, viral movement and exponential results.

Michael Johnson is president of Breakthrough Media, www.breakthroughchurch.com.

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