Saturday, September 23, 2017

Greater Purpose

Since I was a child I have wanted to make a difference in the world. I grew up watching cartoons about superheroes who devoted their lives to the service of others. Having strong Christian parents, I leaned about Jesus, and his life of sacrifice to save humanity. I saw my mom and dad's (often thankless or even unnoticed) sacrifices and service to others. All of this combined to instill in me a desire, almost a need, to make a difference. I knew I wanted to be a part of something bigger than myself, and I believe I'm far from alone in that desire.

As Christians we believe God has a plan. We believe that God is doing a great work that started before the foundations of the earth were laid. And we believe that some people are helping in that work.

I remember several years ago my friend and pastor Cameron McDonald was preaching about God's plan for our lives. I'm paraphrasing from memory, but he basically said that God has a plan for the world, and it's going to happen. What we have is an opportunity to be a part of that work, but don't be confused. God doens't *need* us, we *get* to be a part of it. If we choose to reject our part of the plan God will simply give someone else the opportunity that was first offered to us. 

That's some pretty heavy stuff right there. God is letting us have a hand in His work. I used to love helping my dad work on the truck when I was little. He could have done the job much quicker and easier without me "helping," but he allowed me to be a part of it. And you know what? I was better for it. Surely God's plan works the same way. We'll be better if we find our part and do it.

But so many Christians are confused as to what to do. They want to serve God and do a good work, but aren't quite sure exactly what that is. And, at least to some degree, I think most fear that God's plan involves missionary work to some remote, third-world country where they'd have to eat bugs and sleep on a dirt floor. As a result, most of the Christian life in America consists, almost exclusively, of going to church on Sunday morning. But there has to be more, right? Surely God didn't call us all to be pew warmers. How do we get in on God's work?

A passage of scripture recently jumped out at me. I love the way it is phrased in the Message translation: 

"Jesus said, "Throw your lot in with the One that God has sent. That kind of a commitment gets you in on God's works."
‭‭John‬ ‭6:29‬ ‭MSG‬‬

Throw your lot in with Jesus. Commit everything to Him. Go "all in" with Jesus. It makes me think of his disciples. They left their jobs, and opened themselves up to great risk of reputation and life, to follow Jesus. All but one of the disciples died unnatural deaths. Most were tortured and killed for throwing their lot in with Jesus, and not backing down. 

Here in America we don't have to worry about being tortured and killed for being a practicing Christian. By comparison we have it very easy. I have had the opportunity to talk to several missionaries, and Christians from other countries. They all say that America should be the easiest place to be a practicing Christian. In so many other countries they are concerned about their physical well being that it monopolizes their thoughts and time. In America we are safe and well fed. What else do we have to do but praise God for our blessings, and study and learn more about Him? 

What is keeping you from throwing your lot in with the One that God has sent?

Friday, February 24, 2017

Podcasting and You - A Primer for Incorporating Podcasting into Your Marketing Strategy

Podcasting has become all the rage, it seems. Businesses, churches,
non-profits, and even individuals are investing in studio setups, and
making their voice heard in a way once reserved for the select few on
the radio or television. You may be wondering if this new media is for
you, and how you can leverage it to build your brand and grow your
business. While it's true podcasting can be a great benefit, the
reality is it's not quite as easy as just buying a microphone, and
suddenly you're a star. Let's take a look at some of the common
perceptions versus the reality of podcasting.

It is true that you can buy the necessary equipment for a podcast, and
produce it on your own for a very minimal investment. But this is
where you really need to be careful. Just like buying a good set of
surgical tools doesn't make you a surgeon, owning fancy equipment
doesn't make you a good producer. This is your professional image
we're talking about. It's best to get support from a professional to
help you select equipment, setup a studio, and probably edit for you.
Video is far more complicated than audio, but in both mediums
experience and expertise really show. Make sure you're putting out the
best quality product you can. You only get one shot to make a first
impression.

Once you have a quality podcast to share with the world, you need a
way to drive traffic to it. You can have the word's greatest show, but
if nobody knows it's there what have you really accomplished?
Unfortunately, it's not as easy as many people seem to think. Sure,
getting listed in an index like iTunes or Google's Podcast Portal is
important, but you're just one of hundreds, if not thousands, of
podcasts. Posting on your website is a must, but how much unique
monthly traffic do you have already? Not all of those unique visits
are even real people (there are many automated "bots" on the internet
that often show up as hits or page views which artificially inflate
your stats), and not all of the human visitors are going to be
interested in your podcast.

Really, when you boil it down, it all comes back to the age-old
question of how to market your product. It's the same question
entrepreneurs have been asking for centuries, "How do I tell people
about the awesome product or service I offer? I know they'd love it if
they just knew my business was here." It's the same question whether
you are an auto manufacturer, restaurant, amusement park or have a
brick-and-morter store front, lawn care service, website or podcast.
Believe it or not, the answer has been the same since 1920: Radio.

I won't delve into it here, but study after study has come out showing
radio is still the best advertising ROI, and listenership is not only
staying strong, it's growing. NAB, RAB and plenty of others have
written volumes on this topic if you wish to research it on your own.

So how can radio help your podcast? I'm glad you asked. For the sake
of time, I'm going to use a church as my example, but really the same
is true of just about any podcast. Let's suppose you are a small- to
medium-sized church, and you're looking to get more people in the
seats on Sunday. You have a website and Facebook page, you've heard
about podcasting being "the next big thing," you post your podcast to
your website, and nothing happens. This is where your local Christian
radio station comes in.

Each radio station is going to be structured a little different, but
they all specialize in mass marketing. By contracting their services
to market your website, your message is delivered to an audience of
active listeners who are interested in your service. A good message
will drive traffic to your website, and then the rest is up to you to
retain your internet audience.

A good radio station is never content with their current listenership
numbers. They are constantly marketing the radio station to the public
through any reasonable means. Most radio stations employ at least one
person, if not a whole department, whose job it is to market the radio
station. They have vehicles with brightly colored signage, billboards
and t-shirts. They sponsor concerts and events all just to build and
maintain a loyal audience. You, the advertiser, benefit from the
marketing efforts of the radio station because when people see that
radio station logo and tune in, they hear your message. So, in effect,
you have a team of marketers working around the clock to help grow
your brand for pennies on the dollar versus doing it all yourself.

Podcasting may be the new frontier of marketing, but don't go it
alone. Use an experienced guide, like your local radio station. After
all, they make a living creating and marketing professional,
compelling content.

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

New Job in the New Year?

Do you love: Organization, Spreadsheets, Calendars, Schedules, and Marking Items Completed on a To-Do List?

Are you a positive person? Do you take pride in a job well done? Are you good with computers? Can you tell time on an analog clock? (Seriously, you'd be surprised at the number of people who can't.) Can you work on a deadline in a fast-paced environment? Do you want to be a part of something bigger than you? Do you want your daily work to make an eternal difference?

You might be the person we're looking for to join our team.

Ideal candidate will possess strong technical and organizational skills. 9
to 5, M-F, and 24/7 on-call.

Radio experience preferred, but not required. Full time, salary with
generous benefits.

Resume and cover letter to: CBSL, 501 Darby Creek Rd, Suite 62,
Lexington KY 40509 or email jobs@ckcradio.com No calls, please.

CBSL is an equal opportunity employer. Women and minorities are encouraged to apply.