Mastering Media: Knowing What Each Platform Does Best

Media platforms
Which media platforms do you believe will work best for your church? (Lightstock)

Too many people use media randomly, with no real strategic vision. Perhaps a friend recommended local TV, or a board member suggested billboards, or a church youth director likes social media.

All these platforms and others are important, but they question is: Why? While I could write many books on the subject, here is a short list of what differentiates some of the major media platforms:

Newspaper Advertising

  • An effective way to reach adults over age 50 since they are the primary readers of newspapers.
  • Newspapers are by definition a local media tool and can provide opportunities to create "newsworthiness."
  • Newspapers are good for more in-depth stories.


  • Research indicates the typical household watches over seven-plus hours of TV daily. (Other research says eight hours per day).
  • TV still delivers the largest audiences for specific programming.
  • Blockbuster movies get more publicity, but the truth is, a popular TV series reaches far more people.
  • The growing number of special-interest TV channels provides opportunities to target specific audiences and leverage their interests.


  • Despite what you might think listening to Christian radio, music is still the top reason that people tune into radio.
  • Drive time is still important. Seventy-eight percent of consumers listen to the radio on their commute to work.
  • Similar to TV, specific radio formats appeal to different segments (young/old/multicultural/faith, etc.)


  • Billboards and other outdoor advertising can be a powerful local tool.
  • We've had enormous success using it to drive people to churches.
  • It reaches a broad range of different target audiences and provides local geographic flexibility.
  • The recent growth of outdoor has revealed new outdoor advertising products like LED screens that reach and engage consumers throughout the day.
  • New media tactics like gas station advertising, stadium advertising, and health club advertising are examples of highly targeted media products that reach and engage consumers.

    Internet/Digital/Social Media

  • Digital advertising is still innovating as marketers look for the right mix that provides meaningful information and will then attract consumers to a website.
  • Similar to other media choices, consumers have the ability to opt in and choose what digital advertising they see and consume.
  • For churches, virtually 100 percent of new visitors will check you out on the web first—so why is your website so lame?
  • We're finding that your website is your "media hub." It can be the connector to your video, bookstore resources, social-media pages and much more.
  • The 55-plus audience watches as many online videos as the 20-plus audience.
  • Significant numbers of online viewers of videos want to find out more about the subject of the video.
  • With social-media platforms, you can start with "budget zero." It literally takes nothing to build a tribe, and start sharing your message with significant numbers of people.

There could be some powerful marketing and advertising tools you haven't even considered. Before you get in a rut, find out more about new platforms and consider how they could help your message reach a greater and more responsive audience.

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Phil Cooke is a filmmaker, media strategist and the author of One Big Thing: Discovering What You Were Born to Do. Find out more at

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