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Behold, the Power of Words!

As an editor, I certainly believe that language is powerful. The right words, in the right order (with the right punctuation, of course) can truly inspire people to do all kinds of things.

One of the most powerful ways marketers can harness the power of words is through a clear, direct call to action. This is no easy feat. So when I came across this blog post from WordStream on “7 Ideas for Upgrading Your Call to Action,” I thought immediately of the marketers we work with at Christianity Today, and how these tips might help craft even more compelling calls to action.

Sometimes it’s as simple as changing one word. They suggest changing the word “your” to “my”—this conveys ownership on the part of the reader. In one experiment described in the post, a marketer at Unbounce found that making this simple change on one client’s account led to a 90 percent increase in click-through rate.

Other times, applying a mental framework helps shape the words of an effective call to action. A great one, they say, could be prefaced by the words “I want to…” This leads to strong action words that immediately connect with the target audience’s felt needs.

For more ideas, check out the full post here.

Laura Leonard is managing editor of IgniteYourFaith.com, ChristianCollegeGuide.net, and SeminaryGradSchool.com, as well as the special advertising sections in Christianity Today magazine.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Email Marketing, Online Advertising


It’s Time for Truth, Love, and a New Website

Sharp and hurtful words jump off your screens. Unloving conversations are becoming the norm.

When you take a look at the world today, you see a turn toward ugly orthodoxy and attractive heresy—truth spoken in shrill and unloving ways, falsehood spoken in winsome and compelling fashion.

And you’re discouraged by the direction of the cultural conversations from both outside and inside the church.

All of the negativity has left the world in desperate need of truth, goodness, and beauty. In need of hope.

Christianity Today is taking the lead to reverse the trend by communicating the breadth of the true, good, and beautiful gospel. We call it Beautiful Orthodoxy.

And now through our new website, BeautifulOrthodoxy.com, we’re calling leaders, partners, and friends to join the cause by living out Christ’s love and truth in their jobs, ministries, and communities.

Take a few minutes to explore BeautifulOrthodoxy.com. Watch a new video featuring our president and CEO, Harold Smith. Read stories and quotes by leaders who are committed to this cause. See how Beautiful Orthodoxy is at work in the articles across our various ministry brands. And find out how you can join with us in reflecting Christ’s love and truth.

 Beautiful Orthodoxy logo

Posted in Beautiful Orthodoxy, Company News


Advertise for Long-Term Effectiveness

When gauging the effectiveness of a campaign, most advertisers are concerned about the numbers. Results are crucial to demonstrating the effectiveness of an ad campaign. However, my more experienced marketers know the importance of a long-term campaign rather than a one-time, or one-month, campaign.

“It’s critical for marketers to understand how advertising affects brand value over time, as well as how it’s connected to brand loyalty,” said a recent Nielsen report. “Most advertising models show that loyalty is the largest driver of brand choice. The data from a recent study by Nielsen Catalina Solutions (NCS) makes it clear that the higher the loyalty, the higher the future brand sales will be.”

Advertising that builds strong consumer connections typically drive sales long-term, but also drives brand loyalty and total brand value. By connecting with the Christianity Today ministry for your advertising, you are reaching highly-educated, faith-centered, influential decision-makers, from pastors and church leaders to lay people within the church. We help to create a niche audience that is responsive and engaged over the long-term. Because our audience is loyal to our publications, our stats are typically better than the industry standard. We represent a trusted voice in this world.

Explore the advertising possibilities Christianity Today has to offer and talk with your Account Executive today to help you craft a long-term advertising plan and start seeing the benefits of advertising with a Christ-centered ministry and connecting with like-minded Christians.

Posted in Advertising Tips, Online Advertising, Print Advertising


An Award-Winning Year

It was a good year for Christianity Today’s publications; the company took home a total of 49 awards at the 2015 Evangelical Press Association’s annual convention, which was held April 8-10 in Denver, Colorado. Nine brands received recognition for their work over the past calendar year, including Christianity Today, Christianity Today Online, Leadership Journal, Books & Culture, ChurchLawandTax.com, ManagingYourChurch.com, Church Finance Today, Today’s Christian Woman, and The Behemoth.

The awards honored excellence across many aspects of editorial and design, as well as overall publication quality.

Here are just a few of the award-winning articles honored:

Youth Ministry Roundtable Series,” ManagingYourChurch.com

When the Eyes of the Blind Are Opened,” The Behemoth

The Great Giver,” Today’s Christian Woman

Awareness: Raised,” Books & Culture

An Open Apology to the Local Church,” Christianity Today

When a Pastor Resigns Abruptly,” LeadershipJournal.net

For a full listing of CT’s awards, see the press release here. Follow the links for a complete list of the Higher Goals awards and Awards of Excellence winners.

Posted in Company News


Mobile-geddon: Have You Run Out of Time to Go Mobile?

Last week Google rolled out a new mobile-friendly search update; this long-awaited and much-hyped update has been designed to boost the search rankings of mobile-friendly pages on mobile search results. Back in November 2014, Google rolled out the mobile-friendly tag on mobile search results, and this new update follows in a similar vein. In their latest announcement, Google described the new update as helping searchers “more easily find high-quality and relevant results where text is readable without tapping or zooming, tap targets are spaced appropriately, and the page avoids unplayable content or horizontal scrolling.”

With only one week passed since the update launched, it’s hard to say how much of an impact the change has had on search rankings. Google has said that the update may take time to reach full effect, but there are a few details we already know:

  1. Google will now use the “mobile friendliness” of a page as one of the signals that are used in search ranking.
  2. The update only applies to searches performed on mobile devices.
  3. The update applies to individual pages, not entire websites. So, if the single page or article is mobile-friendly, it can still get the boost, even if the rest of your site is not.

So, what does this update mean for you?

First, don’t panic if you haven’t yet built a mobile site. There are still over 200 signals other than mobile friendliness that Google uses when ranking pages. Remember, this update only applies to mobile users and doesn’t impact desktop searches at all.

Next, check how your site looks to a mobile user. Google has tools like the Mobile-Friendly Test that can help. Make sure you weigh the potential costs vs. benefits of developing a mobile site. For some, it may only require a few adjustments to current settings or templates, but for others it might mean a completely new site design.

Regardless of how your site is designed, what your market segment is, or what your online strategy looks like, Google is sending a strong message with this update: they view mobile search as a different experience from desktops, and are going to give mobile-friendly sites an advantage.

As the team’s “stats guy,” Luke Schoenrock is our go-to staff member for analytics and reporting—as well as witty remarks.

Posted in Web Analytics