In my early teenage years, I worked two nights a week at a local community newspaper, the Belmont Herald, in Belmont, MA. They published a few papers in surrounding towns. Our tasks were pretty basic: to stuff the second section into the first section, label it, bring it to the post office, and clean up the plant and offices. Pay was $6.00 a night and dinner.
The paper merged many years ago with its competitor, and, for those of us from the Boston area, has such an appropriate website URL: belmont.wickedlocal.com.
That experience comes to mind oftentimes when I read my local weekly community paper today – with 3 sections instead of two – and when I read the multi-sectioned New York Times. But people today really consume news differently. The number of news websites has exploded, as people are going online to read all kinds of news. 82% of Millennials access news online, and the majority of them are using their smart phones to do it!
Years ago at this time of year, many synagogues were placing ads in local papers about their High Holy Day Worship. Some are still doing it. However, with people accessing news websites more than print media, I have been struck by the social media ads for synagogues I have come across recently.
Websites today also have to be “responsive”: to be mobile and tablet friendly as well as the standard site, which is what you see when you access a website on a computer. I learned this phrase – responsive related to websites – recently, which explains why a website accessed from a smart phone looks a bit different than the same website accessed by computer. Responsive websites makes viewing on a smart phone much less cumbersome, and easier on the eyes.
All of this comes into play when a synagogue is developing a local marketing strategy. I wrote last week about B’nai Keshet, the local Reconstructionist synagogue, offering for everyone, members and non-members, to join them at the High Holy Days. When I went on my smart phone to Baristanet.com, a local news website focusing news and events for several towns in Northern NJ, B’nai Keshet’s advertisement popped up after the first few stories.
I wondered whether B’nai Keshet’s strategy also included an advertisement for those accessing Baristanet via computer. Take a look at Baristanet.com on your computer and you will see that while the same advertisement is in fact on Baristanet’s home page, it seems to be rotating with a similar advertisement from Congregation Shomrei Emunah, the local Conservative synagogue, along with a number of other advertisements.
Not bad for $30 per month, Baristanet’s advertisement rates.
Having a presence on social media is really key. People who are synagogue shopping will look at your synagogue’s website. They will also look at the synagogue’s Facebook page. And if they are keeping up with local events and news, the “Baristanet” in your town (Patch, the website of the local newspaper are two other examples) where the synagogue should also have a marketing presence.