How To: Market Your Church | Why I started a niche podcast

Honestly, I never planned to launch a podcast. And if I HAD thought about it, it wouldn’t have been about how to do church marketing.

But God has a funny sense of humour, and so here we are.

It’s taken more than a decade of preparation to get me to this – let’s just say unique? -blend of digital marketing and church ministry experience.

Here’s the roadmap that led to me launching How To: Market Your Church podcast with Rhema in 2023.

In 2015, after working in publishing, higher education, communications and social media, all my job contracts ended. There were no prospects on the horizon. I interviewed for numerous positions but was never the preferred candidate. With a mortgage to pay and three kids to feed, I had to register as unemployed with Centrelink. I felt very, very disheartened.

In that pit of despair, I knew I had a bunch of transferrable skills that people needed, so I decided to start a business helping business owners with social media. I had nothing to lose, and any money I made would be better than none, and so the fledgling business The Marketing Side was born, even though it didn’t have a name yet. I had just one client, but it quickly became two and then three as word of mouth got around.

Then my pastor asked to meet me for coffee

I poured out my tale of woe, but Paul just sat there with a smile. “I know you’re upset, but we’re really happy you don’t have a job. Would you come on staff and work with us part-time at New Vine as the Communications Pastor? We have a big gap and we think you’d be a great addition to the team”.

I was gob-smacked. Like, actually speechless.

Never in my life had I considered working for a church or in a ministry. All of a sudden, a new pathway was opening up in front of me and it wasn’t something I’d even thought about before. The new role would combine everything I’d learned over my career in communications and marketing, and gave me the chance to promote our church. I could put my skills to use building connections with people in our community who wanted to find out more about faith and a life with Jesus.

So I said yes. As my communications role was part-time, it meant I’d have time to work on my micro business on the days I didn’t work, but I’d still have the God-given security of a regular pay-check.

And so I began the bi-vocational juggle: working out how to run a marketing business and learning how to care for people, gather a team, train, mentor, disciple and encourage people who were dedicated to living a life that honours God. Plus help plan and promote weekly Sunday services, causes, mission, youth camps, marriage courses, playgroups, the list goes on. We had banners and flyers and postcards printed for Easter and Christmas carols service, ran Facebook ad campaigns, email newsletters, built a website, set up Google Business and more so people could engage with our church online before they ever set foot in the door.

For three and a half years, I served as Communications Pastor at my church

At the same time, slowly built a client base of service-based businesses who needed a range of digital marketing services. I offered social media help, website development, photography, logo design, videography, Google Ad campaigns, SEO, you name it.

In 2019, the balance shifted.

After doing the incredible Clifton Strengths assessment with the team from church, I understood exactly why I loved being in business so much. I made the decision to leave my role at church to focus on business full-time. On April Fool’s Day- ironic, really- I was fully self-employed in my own business. New Vine Church was still my spiritual home and faith community, but I was no longer on staff and part of the team who make things happen. It was uncharted territory, but I felt like I needed to focus my energy on being in business and serving my clients well.

I worked with IT companies, physiotherapy clinics, start-ups, cafes, not-for-profits, schools, community groups, councils and more, building a wide network of connections, a broad portfolio of work and learning new skills along the way.

At the end of 2022, I got a phone call 

Then at the end of 2022, my friend Laurel McCulloch called me. With decades of experience in radio and tv, she thought I’d be a good guest for her radio show at Rhema FM. She asked if I was interested in coming on her show.

It’s been said that I can talk underwater with a mouthful of marbles, so I was pretty sure I’d find plenty to talk about on-air.

And I did. The feedback was positive, and it was fun and energizing, sharing my knowledge and chatting through marketing tactics for small businesses.

It was a Monday after one of our monthly segments that I was chatting to Rhema’s CEO Ben Kiujian in his office. Ben asked me “Have you got a podcast? I think you’d be good at it”.

I laughed in his face. Pooh-poohed the idea immediately. Pfft. No I didn’t have a podcast, I’d never considered a podcast, there were too many podcasts, it was a crowded niche, blah blah blah. I. Shut. Him. Down.

Then God woke me up at 3am

And then on Wednesday morning, I was woken at 3am with ideas whirling around my brain. Because I am stubborn and not a morning person, I laid there until 4am and then got up after arguing with myself and the thoughts just intensifying.

I sat down with a cup of tea and a notepad and started writing. By 6am I had scrawled eight pages of notes outlining a podcast that would use everything I’d learned in my role at New Vine Church with the knowledge and skills I use every day helping business owners develop clear marketing that inspires action.

I had a dream guest list, topic ideas, a messaging framework and a deep conviction that I was supposed to start something new.

The same thing happened the next morning at 3am. I argued with God for an hour and then got up and wrote out the ideas He was pouring into my head and heart. I called Ben Kiujian back.
“Okay, so I think I have a podcast idea for you.  Wanna hear it?”

Dear reader, he listened. And agreed.

In 2023, I launched How To: Market Your Church podcast

how to The Marketing Side

All the things happened that took us from a simple conversation to creating, recording and launching a podcast with the deep desire to share real-world digital marketing knowledge with church pastors, ministry leaders and communications teams. ‘How To: Market your Church’ exists because I believe every church should have authentic, effective communication that impacts their community.

The goal is that every church in Australia is able to leverage digital platforms to communicate and connect authentically with people in their community who are interested in discovering more about a life of faith in Jesus.

How To: Market Your Church podcast is a limited season of 9 episodes including:

  • How to Get Your Church Found Online with Steve Fogg
  • Easter & Christmas: Why a Culture of Invitation is Vital with Luke Reed
  • Does a Church REALLY need a brand? with Emily Bell
  • 7 Ways Churches can use Christian radio with Ben Kiujian
  • Crafting Digital Strategies for Hyper-Local Impact with Dave Adamson
  • Smart IT Tips for Churches with Glenn Chapman
  • Crisis Communications & PR Disasters: Why Churches Need a Plan with John Watson
  • Low-Cost Ways to Promote a Church Plant with Paul Whiting

You can listen to How To: Market Your Church wherever you get your podcasts, and if you have any digital marketing questions I’d love to hear from you and help any way I can, so shoot me an email.

How To: Market Your Church
How To: Market Your Church