This will probably start a healthy debate. My intent in writing this is not to anger anyone, just to point out some things that we in the church can begin to improve on a bit. One of the main reasons that I got into graphic design was because I was working at a church and realized how incredibly cheesy our promotional materials were. I said to myself, "Y'know, self, I'm not a graphic designer or anything, but I'm sure I could do better than this". So, I sat down over the slower Christmas season and taught myself Photoshop. I continue to see the same things continue to crop up in church materials. That's why I've got "5 Ways Church Promotions Can Stop Being Cheesy".
1. Stop trying to copy exactly what everyone else is doing. This works in anything creative. If you try to do an exact duplicate of an ad or meme that you've seen it will fall on its face. You simply cannot do it as well unless you have the kind of talent and/or budgets that the big dogs have. Plus, as soon as something becomes a meme its imitators are frowned upon.
2. Be willing to spend some money on promotions. People respond to quality. You don't get quality unless you can spend money. It doesn't have to be thousands of dollars, or even hundreds of dollars, but get the necessary tools you need to create something classy. If you can't do it well then don't do it all. Better that than make your ministry a laughingstock.
3. Listen to the creatives in your church. In almost every church I've ever been to I've met creative people. Many of them are willing to volunteer their time if it's a cause they believe in. Ask around. You're sure to find designers, writers, painters, actors, and a million other people you never knew were there before. You may have a vision for your ministry, but that vision won't be communicated properly unless you find good people willing to help.
4. Be perfectionists. Ministry is full of imperfect people, but that doesn't mean that you have to settle for promotions that are less than extraordinary. If you finish a video just under deadline to be able to show it on Sunday morning and it doesn't seem quite right DON'T SHOW IT! It may turn more visitors off to your ministry than it will cause to stay.
5. Don't listen to the compliments of the encouragers. Compliments are great and there are plenty of "bucket-fillers" in the Church. It makes my day when someone appreciates what I've done, but I can't let their praise guide my projects. If you know that it doesn't live up to the standards of what the intended audience is used to seeing then scrap it.
Again, I hope this is helpful to those of you in the Church. I know that not everyone has big budgets (our ministry sure doesn't) or hundreds or professional creatives around, but if you begin to raise your standards you'll be amazed at what God does!