Creating channels and sending news

Creating Channels and Sending Posts

 

The News module is designed to allow you to keep your congregation up-to-date with important news. Here are some of its key features:

 

  • Create news channels to broadcast news about different topics (announcements, prayer, missions, etc.).

  • Congregants can subscribe or unsubscribe from these channels.

  • Send news to subscribers using the mobile app, email, SMS, or MailChimp.

  • Sync your channel subscription lists with lists in MailChimp.

 

Introduction


Let’s begin by defining some terms:
 

Channel: a channel is something congregants subscribe to and something through which you send news. The idea here is to create different channels for different news topics: announcements, prayer, missions, etc.
 

Subscriber: a subscriber is someone who has subscribed to a channel.
 

Post: posts are created in channels and sent to all people subscribed to that channel. Posts are different to a normal email in that a single post can be sent to the mobile app and via email without you needing to duplicate your content.
 

Message: Posts aren’t the only way to send news to a channel. You can also just send an email or SMS to a channel’s subscribers. These kinds of messages will not be broadcast to the app.

 

How to create a channel


All databases come preloaded with three default channels: News, Announcements, and Church Planting and Missions. You are free to use/edit/delete these channels. 


You can have an unlimited amount of channels, but we recommend not creating too many.

 

To create a news channel:
 

  • Open the main menu and click Messaging >> News.

  • Click New Channel.

  • Fill in the name and a short description of the channel.

  • If you wish to have people auto-subscribed to this channel when they are added to your database tick “Auto subscribe people to this channel”. 

  • NB: click Save.

 

How to send news through a channel


There are two ways to broadcast news using the News module:
 

  1. Create posts that are sent to both the mobile app and via email.

  2. Send emails or SMSes to everyone subscribed to a channel (these do not get broadcast to the app).

 

Creating posts


Posts differ from normal messages in that they get sent to both the mobile app and (if you want) via email too. It’s one post, but it gets sent in two ways. This is a real time saver. 

 

To create a post:
 

  • Open the News module and click New Post.

  • Page 1 of 3:

  • Fill in a title for your post.

  • Select a date to make the post go live. Posts will show on the app from 12AM on the day you select. So if you select today’s date the posts will go live immediately. We cannot currently schedule the email part of a post. Please read ‘How scheduling works’ further down for more info.

  • Page 2 of 3:

  • You can upload images or videos to posts if you would like to. If not, simply skip page 2.

  • Uploading an image: You can either upload an image from your computer or paste in a link to an image hosted online.

  • Images should ideally be 16:9 or 4:3 ratio (though square images also work), and should not be larger than 1 MB. 

  • Uploading a video: we currently only support videos hosted on YouTube. Simply copy the video's link and paste it into the URL text box.

  • Page 3 of 3:

  • Type out the body of your news post here. 

  • When you are ready click Done.

  • Your post will now appear in the list of posts for that channel. 

  • If the post is scheduled for the future the Send email button will be greyed out and the post will be labelled as 'Scheduled'.

  • If the post is active it will be labelled active (i.e it is live on the app), and the Send email button will be green. 

  • To send your post as an email, click Send email. This will open a preview of the post. You will notice posts sent via email automatically include the unsubscribe link at the bottom.

 

How scheduling works


Scheduling posts are very helpful in that it allows you to set up all the news posts for a week or a month, all in one go.


NB: At the moment only the app side of a post can be scheduled; the email side of a post needs to be sent by clicking the Send email button. This means that if you schedule a post it will be automatically posted to the app on the scheduled date, but you will need to manually press the Send email button next to the post to send it via email. 


Posts that are scheduled for the future have their Send email button greyed out. When a post becomes active on the app, the Send email button will be activated and you can post it via email too.

 

Who will be able to see posts on the app?


Importantly, only people who have subscribed to a news channel will see those posts on the app. If a person is not seeing posts from a channel on the app, then it means they have not subscribed to the channel.


Congregants can use the Subscriptions page on the app to manage which news channels they wish to subscribe to.

 

Sending news using email or SMS


A second way to send news to a channel is to simply send it as an email or SMS.


To send an email or SMS to all subscribers:
 

  • Open the News module.

  • Click More next to the channel.

  • Click New email or SMS.

  • This will open the Messaging module from where you can complete the sending of your message.

  • NB: when sending an email to a channel this way the ‘Unsubscribe URL’ is not automatically included at the bottom of the email like it is with posts. You will need to copy and paste the unsubscribe link into each email you send. 

 

Using a MailChimp template


Another great option is to utilise the built-in MailChimp template feature when sending emails. This option allows you to design your template in MailChimp (don’t forget to paste in your unsubscribe URL), import it into GoDoChurch, and then use it each time you want to post an email to a news channel! You can read more about using MailChimp templates here.


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