One of the main goals with the idea of evangelizing your search engine is to have your church appear like it is everywhere online.
You want to make it hard for people to search for anything in your local area without finding you!
One of the components to this strategy is local community calendars, newspaper websites, community blogs, radio and TV stations and more. Awhile ago I spent some time on Google searching for all of these types of free promotion tools that I could find in my area. I not only found the main sites, but clicked through to the actual submission page and put all of the links to them in a document on Google Docs.
Each month I put together a monthly events and information sheet with every event from every department in our church. I am also responsible for the weekly bulletin. The monthly sheet allows us to keep the weekly info to a minimum focusing only on the main things for that week.
The key to the community calendar strategy is to have all of the info for a given month in place a couple of weeks before the new month begins. If your church currently operates more on a weekly basis this will be more of a challenge. If people are not thinking ahead with information in your church, this will be nearly impossible. It would be much more difficult to keep up with if you were constantly getting info throughout the month. Get the info ahead of time and it will be much more effective!
The best part of this submission strategy is that a volunteer can easily handle this for you if you have the info together. You simply forward the events and information sheet to them and they submit it to the sites. The volunteer will probably need to restructure some of the information as each site has different requirements for length of submission. Be sure to find someone who can write succinctly and clearly. But you will have the main content already written so most people should not have too much trouble adapting it.
A couple of things to remember. You will probably not have that many new people come to your church men’s breakfast because they saw it on the radio station website. But, that is another contact with your church. When they see you in another place online or see your sign or promotion they will know who you are. But, you never know. People may show up.
On a technical note… do not put email addresses in the submissions. That email address will most likely get spammed. Send people to your website, Facebook or Google Places page.
Sending them to your website has another huge benefit. Links. The more times your site is linked to from other websites the better off your site is. Always include your website in http://www.yourchurchname.com format in every listing!
We have a volunteer in place doing that for our church now. I have Google alerts setup for our church name and website. Our church events are showing up everywhere. Get started!