People will often do some online research before they show up at the doors of your church.
Having a good website that includes the most relevant information and a sampling of your livestream service is helpful. But a well-crafted virtual tour video can serve as a warm greeting and be a valuable tool for reaching new people in your community.
Tour videos that give visitors key information can create a great first impression. Use this step-by-step guide to start creating your compelling virtual tour.
1. Record the video on a big Sunday
Avoid shooting your video in an empty facility in the middle of the week. Show potential visitors that there are people ready to welcome and engage with them.
Schedule your shoot on a Sunday morning when you expect to have a good number of people in attendance.
Announce the video shoot to your congregation several weeks in advance. Invite everyone to be present as a part of the church family. Remind members of the importance of their participation. Leading up to the filming, highlight the filming in services and member correspondence.
2. Don’t worry about the audio
Don’t worry about getting good audio of someone talking in a busy area. Instead, have a person narrate via a voiceover that you record later, in a quiet place. A professional recording studio isn’t necessary. You can use the same camera/smartphone that you used for the tour shoot to record audio of someone reading a script.
Video editing software (iMovie or Davinci Resolve) can place your narration audio/video on a layer below the video you want to see. You also can separate the audio from the video and add it as its own audio track.
3. Create your video piece by piece
You don't need to film one continuous shot as if a person was taking a physical tour. Focus on short clips that highlight what happens in each area of the building and/or ministries.
If you want to give a sense of a tour, get your clips at each location and record the transition from one location to another as their own independent clips.
4. Get shots that visitors care about
Visitors don’t need to know where the hymnals are or what the numbers on the wall in the sanctuary mean. Every church is different, but most would do well with a video that has these shots in a logical order:
- Show the location of your visitor parking spots.
- Have one of your best greeters opening the door.
- Guide them to the information desk.
- Film one of your nursery workers greeting a family. Follow that with a scan of your very clean and fun-looking nursery area with kids in it. (To ensure privacy, video any children from behind.)
- Showcase a Sunday school teacher greeting a family and welcoming a child into a classroom.
- Visit the youth room and show teens interacting with each other.
- Show the sanctuary with people worshipping and then transition to the pastor preaching. (Keep in mind that if you first upload the video to YouTube and share from that, it may strip out the music because of copyright issues.)
- Do a child pick-up after the service and share information about the safety protocols and check-in/out process.
- Close with a greeting from the pastor and then back the camera away to offer a sense of leaving the campus.
5. Keep it close to two minutes
Though you may have a lot of compelling information to share, keep things brief. This video should be about giving visitors a quick overview of your church. You want to make them feel comfortable about visiting your church in person and seeing how they might connect with the congregation.
Make sure the end of the video refers viewers to the visitor section of your church website. This visitor webpage should feature links to detailed information. Think of it as a frequently asked questions hub for potential new members. You can address things on the page or link them to other pages with specifics on the topic their seeking. (i.e. dress code, child check-in process and safe sanctuaries policy, etc.)
A church tour video can communicate vital details and extend a spirit of hospitality. Show potential visitors that you care and want to them to have a good experience at your place of worship.
While greeting strategies may begin online, have plans to welcome guests on site and to follow up after visits. Having a multifaceted hospitality plan will help you avoid missing out on repeat visitors and future new members.