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 | By Marybeth Hicks

Synergy Sessions Share Expertise and Offer Networking

One of the great things about being a publishing partner with FAITH Catholic is belonging to an extraordinary network of editors and Catholic communicators,” says Anne-Marie Welsh, Director of Communications for the Diocese of Erie, Pa. “It’s one of those unexpected benefits that really makes a difference. There’s so much to learn from one another, and I appreciate the way FAITH helps us capitalize on those relationships.”

The company’s newest way to further its community of communicators is the launch of a series called Synergy Sessions. Why “synergy?” Because even though it is a jargony word, synergy is exactly what FAITH is all about — acting in cooperation and partnership with dioceses and organizations to fulfill the mission we all share: connecting people with Jesus and his Church.

Synergy Sessions are virtual meetings among FAITH staff, clients, and friends to share ideas, input, and inspiration. The format takes a topic of interest to Catholic communicators and offers expert analysis and advice. 

In the first session for 2022, participants learned how to apply principles of marketing for the purpose of evangelization. Marybeth Hicks, FAITH’s Director of Strategic Communications, walked attendees through an eight-step process to build a strategic communications plan, using as an example a plan to promote a Catholic women’s conference. The eight steps included identifying concrete, realistic, measurable (CRM) goals, identifying primary and secondary audiences and desired behaviors, identifying perceptions and barriers to the desired behaviors, creating messaging, developing themes and tactics, and measuring results. Also in this session, Elizabeth Solsburg, FAITH’s president and CEO, explained to participants the process for engaging with ministry departments to develop strategic content by reviewing an annual ministry calendar, identifying story ideas, and even brainstorming about specific story subjects that might serve to demonstrate the ministry’s mission. As an example, she used input from a diocesan Catholic schools department to show how to incorporate strategic communications in editorial planning.

In the second Session, Hicks, along with FAITH's Director of Web and Digital Services, Mike Jones, and Marketing Coordinator, Dawn Doerr, walked participanths through the Google Analytics dahsboard and helpt them to also understand metrics that indicate the success of digital strategies such as email and social media.

“Synergy Sessions aren’t meant to be one-way,” Solsburg says. “One goal is to provide the chance to open the floor for lively discussion among our extraordinary network of communications directors, editors, content producers, and graphic designers. It’s meant to be educational, but it’s also meant to be fun!” 

Video recordings and downloadable materials for both Sessions are available online. A third Session on September 7 will review the basics of publication production.