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5 Twin Cities Religious Orgs to Follow on Social Media

Social media has become a powerful tool for churches, synagogues, mosques and other religious organizations to connect with their communities. Below are a couple local orgs with great social media presence!

 1. Hindu Temple of Minnesota

social media

What they do well:

  • Up to date event postings
  • Colorful graphics
  • Lots of videos of community events & traditional dance performances

2. The Rock

social media

What they do well:

  • Youthful graphics that reflect congregation & mission
  • High quality event photos

3. Cities Church

cities church

What they do well:

  • Simple & clean graphics
  • Weekly sermon posts

4. Abubakar As-saddique Islamic Center

abubakar

What they do well:

  • High quality photos
  • Consistent graphics/branding
  • Regular video uploads

5. Wat Promwachirayan

watthai

What they do well:

  • Posts in dual languages
  • Videos for fun! Check out the monks shoveling in a recent snowstorm. 
why i love ctv north suburbs

Why I Love CTV North Suburbs

Ah February, it’s that time of year again, either everyone’s favorite or least favorite month. Here at CTV we were thinking everyone has a reason to celebrate love this year, no excuses, and you want to know why? Glad you asked. Here are 2 reason why you should love CTV North Suburbs this valentine season.

1. We are here for YOU!
When you need updates on what is going on in your city who has them? When you want to know what your community is up to and hear their cool stories who will tell them? When you need help with social media management or video production who will help you? The answer, CTV! We are always here for what you need.

2. We tell YOUR story.
CTV always has our ear to the door when it comes to our surrounding community. We are always on the lookout for who is doing something special and whose story needs to be told. With our cameras ready and our ears eager to listen we want to know who and what is making the community surrounding the Twin Cities one of the greatest places to live!

CTV is here for you to love in this season but not only that, we will be here all year long, lucky you!
Email us at info@ctvnorthsuburbs.org if you have a story suggestion!

6 Things I Learned in our website redesign

6 Things I Learned in Our Website Redesign

Over-simplified ads for creating a new website make the process seem like a weekend project. I’m sure the CTV team wishes it was just a weekend–we’ve been at this for four months. CTV North Suburbs’s previous website was over 3,000 links and pages and was running on Joomla. Yeah, I didn’t know what that was either. Now we have a streamlined site that is on the WordPress platform. Here are some thing I learned on the way:

  1. Keep the User Experience Top of Mind

Our website bounce rate was really high, which means people were coming to our site, freaking out because they didn’t know what to do, and “bouncing”. Through the whole process, we kept our key audiences in mind and navigated the site to make it as easy as possible for them. Our nine cities now have custom landing pages with curated content. There are buttons to quickly submit cable complaints as well as one click to watch live meetings. Our focus was to make it EASY, to drop that bounce rate down and get people to stay a while.

  1. Timelines are Great Suggestions

I wanted the website done in a week, insert laughter here. This was a complex, multi-phased project that took about 4 months with 7 to 9 people working on it at any given time. From re-directing links, to developing content, to professional photo shoots, we were developing this website at break-neck speed but it still took months. The launch date moved back a couple of times. First it was end of January, then it was February 1st, now the official launch date was February 14th, Valentine’s Day. Our Valentine’s gift to you!

  1. Slick Original Photos Are Necessary

The team had our very own professional photo shoot. We dusted off our best outfits and hammed it up for the camera. For a team of professionals that enjoys being behind the camera, it was a great change of pace, fun, and added excitement for the upcoming launch. Original photos on our site made our brand more evident and added to our authenticity. We also double downed on the use by creating social media content out of it. Squeeze as much value as possible out of each piece of content you create.

  1. Content Takes Time

Our designer warned us that websites slow down during the content creation period. Knowing that, the team prepared blogs, videos, and copy ahead of time, inputting it into WordPress within a couple of days. It was a flood for content, like a content tidal wave. If we developed the content as we needed to input it, it would’ve taken ten times as long. Get your content queued up so you don’t lose traction.

  1. People Like Us

We had to reach out to our clients for quotes about our core services and past projects. Getting happy client testimonials was a great experience! It pumped up our ego a bit reading all the positive feedback from our awesome clients. Thank you!

6 Tips for your next testimony video

6 Tips for Your Next Testimony Video

Your church community is filled with inspiring stories that should be shared. As church leaders entrenched within your community, I bet you can name four incredible stories off the top of your head. Great, now how about turning those stories into some great video content to continue to spread the message? Here are some tips for your next Testimony Shoot.

  1. Pick a Great Testimony

We all have those fantastic storytellers with incredible presence. Pair that person with their awe-inspiring, life-changing testimony and you have a surefire way to a rock solid video

  1. Write It Down

Something about writing down a story creates a clearer picture for the storyteller rather than “winging it”. It reduces the need for rambling, and can help you as the director, keep the testimony clear and concise.

  1. Light it Up

Pick a well-lit area if you aren’t familiar with studio and field lighting techniques. Outside on a slightly overcast day can be an excellent light source. Avoid shooting in front of a window, which will create a silhouette of your subject. Use large, diffused sources of light for your subject. If you would rather a moody, noir look, give our pros at CTV North Suburbs an email to help you out, info@ctvnorthsuburbs.org.

  1. Mic it Up

A testimony will only have impact if you can hear the story clearly. Use professional microphones, if you have access to them. Get close to the in-camera microphone if you don’t use pro mics.

  1. Shake the Sillys Out

People are scared of being in front of the camera. Get the camera rolling way in advanced and have a conversation with your subject about the football game last Sunday before jumping into the real content. Get them comfortable before you pull out that incredible story.

  1. Back up Shot

At least two shots of the testimony should be rolling at the same time. This will give your editor options. I prefer the “behinds the scenes” shot where the second shot includes the camera, and parts of the crew. Make that shot black and white, and you have a very edgy look that will increase the impact of the testimony.

These are great tips to help you on your testimony-creating journey, but if your hands are full with spreading The Word, reach out to us to help create inspirational content for your church community. Contact us at info@ctvnorthsuburbs.org if you are interested in content creation. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

5 ways to market your church with video

5 Ways to Market your Church with Video

“Marketing” isn’t a dirty word when it comes to your church. The goal is to have your community understand your mission, purpose, and overall philosophy to increase engagement.

As a church leader, include a marketing plan with a video component. Here are three ways to use video to engage your parish community to boost engagement, retention, and overall understanding of your church.

  1. Video to Encourage to Serve

Videos that are shared across social media typically invoke a strong enough emotional response. to have the viewer interact with the content (like, comment, share). Sunday sermons are full of stories that create an emotional connection. At the end of your series, complete it with a video that hits the heart strings of your community, complete with a call to action to volunteer or spread the word. Give your parish the tools to share about your church, through video.

  1. Record your Services

Being in community media for 18 years, a big portion of what we played on our channels and website was religious content. Many people aren’t able to attend their service if it’s cold (like Minnesota cold right now, hello? -27 degrees?), or ill. Make your services available on your website, YouTube, or through your local community media center to increase your reach. Here is a full sermon example: YouTube Sermon Can you magnify your sermons to over 2 million views?

  1. Promo, baby!

Many church organizations have camps, classes, or fun events to encourage camaraderie. Create a short video to highlight how awesome summer camp is for the tweens. Send the video link out with your spring newsletter and via social media to encourage signs ups. Here is an example of a Tampa-based church that brought their A-game in  their Church Promo Video

  1. Testimonials

When I found my church, it was via word of mouth. Amplify that word of mouth by video recording your members with their stories about what brought them to the church. Hearing direct accounts from your members can encourage new members, but also strengthen your church core. Here is a powerful testimony example.

  1. Digital Sermons

Over 80% of all internet content will be video by 2020. Be part of that space by recording a one-minute mini-sermon for your community. It will give perspective members an understanding of your style as a church leader, but also an idea of the content being preached.

Wearing many hats is part of any church leadership position. Let CTV North Suburbs help with the content generation. Contact us at info@ctvnorthsuburbs.org if you are interested in content creation related to promoting your church. Also join us for Points of Light, a free studio show where local church leaders can speak to our nine cities LIVE about their church and its’ mission. For more details about the event, check out our Facebook page.

IT Intern Experience - Wade

My IT Intern Experience – Wade Arendsee

My name is Wade Arendsee and I’ve been part of the IT intern program since early 2017, I joined the program through Rasmussen college were I am finished up my bachelors in Information Technology Management.

When I was first presented with the opportunity to be an Intern at CTV, I imagine the experience would be filled with a lot of menial tasks such as making cables and cleaning out files, but it was anything but that!  Interning at CTV is probably one of the greatest opportunities a person just getting into the IT industry can have. In my time here I’ve completed some huge projects and implemented solutions that people our partners use every day! Some but not all of these include.

  • Building a new city meetings web server, from the hardware level all the way up to editing web pages.
  • Deployed and maintained multiple file servers.
  • Setting up new virtualization solutions to replace legacy systems.
  • Migrated a database and directory server to a new system.
  • Provide tech support to employees and our partners.
  • Build multiple servers and machines for CTV and its partners, some of which are used for our city hall partners.
  • Maintain web pages for our shiny new website.

I’ve also had the opportunity to branch outside of my career field and learn more about TV and Media production as well as audio and video engineering skills. CTV is a place that always encourages you to take on more and challenges you to learn more.

4 Reasons I wish I volunteered more in college

4 Reasons I Wish I Volunteered More in College

Ah yes, it’s another bitter post grad here to tell you what you should be doing with your life. As double humanity major in college I had plenty of people and think pieces giving me advice, some of it good, some not so much. But for all the Forbes articles I read about the top 20 companies I should be applying for internships with, volunteering was never really on my radar. Now two years out of school, and two years into public service, I’ve come to see how valuable volunteering can be for college students, and young people in general (current self-included). Here are four reasons why you should consider volunteering:

 

It’s an easier time commitment than an internship.

In a world where student loans are common and paid internships are rare, it can be hard to commit your time to an unpaid internship over a part-time job while you are in school–I worked all throughout my college years and didn’t have the time for an internship until my last semester. Volunteering is a great alternative way to experience different organizations and learn about the jobs that are out there without overloading your schedule.

 

It gives you an in for jobs that are not posted yet.

Oftentimes jobs will be posted internally before being listed publicly. This is especially true if you’re volunteering for a political campaign and looking to get hired as a legislative aide or other government position post-election or post-graduation–something I learned when I finally got around to phone-banking for a campaign my senior year.

 

It will give you a well-rounded CV.

Part-time jobs and internships are standard for college students these days, but volunteering experience outside your major or industry focus is a great way to showcase your other interests (and skills) to employers and grad schools. A unique volunteering experience can be the thing that sets you apart from the other piles of candidates.

 

Volunteering matters in the nonprofit world.

If you’re looking to go into Americorps like me, or the nonprofit sector in general, volunteering experience not only looks good, it gives you something to talk about in job interviews. Many nonprofits engage with volunteers in some form, so it’s not hard to see how it can be a pipeline to employment. I have personally recruited multiple volunteers who then ended up getting jobs with the organizations I worked for later on.

A Guide to CTVs New Mission

A Guide to CTV’s Mission

Okay, there have been a lot of changes at CTV. The budget has changed, leadership has changed, the organization has been restructured, and now we have a new mission. There is a lot going on at CTV, and we are excited you are here for the ride.

The North Suburban Cable Commission adopted CTV’s new mission on October 25th at the NSAC meeting (link here). Now that it is in place, we are inviting our community members and volunteers along to help move forward in this new direction.

Let’s take a deeper dive into the mission itself. We’ll break down the language to understand how this will impact our volunteers.

We Produce Community Focused

Digital Media for the Purpose

of Education and Engaging our Citizens.

Group shot, Dale Irving, Maureen Anders, Mike Freeman, Dana Healy, Pat Cook, in front of TV

We Produce

“We produce” means CTV is taking ownership of the programs being produced in the facility. We are moving away from the traditional public access model.

The traditional public access model allowed for any community member to come into the facility, take courses, and create any kind of programming they wanted within the nonrestrictive policies.

Don’t get me wrong, WE LOVE FREEDOM OF SPEECH! We also love CREATIVE PEOPLE MAKING CREATIVE PROGRAMMING! But, unfortunately due to drastic cuts in our funding (link here to NSCC meeting), we had to make difficult decisions.

Since the technology to create video content is so much more advanced than 30 years ago, we believe the need for the community itself was not in the actual equipment usage, but rather in creating quality local programming. By eliminating public access, we will have more tools to create programming for our communities.

“Great, but what about my show? Can I still make it?”

With CTV taking ownership of the programs, we can decide to continue your show. Many of the current volunteer shows are perfectly aligned with our mission. We will continue to work on those programs. For future program, we are asking volunteers to pitch proposals to us, just like a Hollywood studio would! So keep those pitches coming, so we can keep making great programming.

Community Focused

“Community Focused” means we are producing content related to hyperlocal events and relative content pertaining to our 9 cities: Arden Hills, Falcon Heights, Lauderdale, Little Canada, Mounds View, New Brighton, North Oaks, Roseville, St. Anthony Minnesota.

Content you will see from us will be coverage of our city parades (link to Roseville parade), state of the city addresses (link to arden hills state of city), public service announcements for fire or police departments, magazine shows like North Suburban Beat (link), concerts (link), sports games (link), LIVE studio shows enriching our community (link), as well as paid-for productions (link to services).

Content that we covered in the past that is outside of our 9 cities, will not be covered now unless it is a paid-for production. For inquiries about our video production services, check out our services page (link).

 

Digital Media

“Digital Media” is a beautiful blend of technology and content that is created or digitized on a computer. Prior to the internet (can we even think back that far?), information was delivered to audiences via print, then radio, then television. With the rise of computers and technology, the power to distribute content is accessible to almost everyone.

Although we have a responsibility to deliver content via cable to our residents (link to cable contract), we understand the trends of technology and are moving in the digital direction.

Whenever available, we will be creating content on high definition equipment and moving our volunteers in that direction as well. This will include our production truck usage.

 

For the Purpose of Education and Engaging

“for the Purpose of Educating and Engaging” helps define the type of content that is important to our community members. We want to deliver content that will be consumed, watched, and shared by people. In order to do that, we need to inform and teach people about things going on in their community.

For example, we provide a platform for candidates running for office to appeal to their voters and talk about their platforms during our Speak Out series (link). This type of education and engaging aligns with our mission.

Another example would be municipal meeting coverage of your government meetings. CTV covers many of our 9 cities meetings (link). If your city is interested in our video services related to municipal coverage, check out our service page (link).

We also offer coverage of local sports (link), and community events that wouldn’t be covered by network news station. We are your hyper-local    source for community information.

 

 

Our Citizens

“Our Citizens” means we are here for the citizens located in our nine cities. We need to hear from you the content that educate and engages you. We need you to share our content with your friends, so we can help all of our community be informed about local happenings. Let’s start here, SHARE THIS ARTICLE with your friends, council members, coworkers! Let people know the awesome changes happening at CTV, and we look forward to experiencing those changes with you.

WATCH our Mission Video

7 Things to Look fo rain a Social Media Manager

7 Things to Look for in a Social Media Manager

A social media presence is a necessity for businesses. For a lot of businesses, there is a lack of strategy behind their social media posting. “Hey, take a picture, put that up! Looks good!”

The truth is, to be successful at social media strategy, there needs to be an actual strategy, a plan, and someone who can design or communicate that plan to you.

Are you ready to engage with a social media manager? Here are some key things they should be bringing to the table to successfully guide your business’s’ social media campaigns.

 

1. Communications Strategy

A Social Media Manager needs to have a strong understanding of your core competencies and services, as well as your intended goals. They can map out how your social media strategy will support those goals and bolster your services.

2. Metrics

Clearly defined goals and timelines can help convert leads and expand your social media fan base. SMART goals, Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic and Timely, are helpful for defining your social media metrics. When engaging with your Social Media Manager, ask for specific goals to measure success to be defined. Social media comes with a battery of analytic tools.

3. Graphic Design Skill

Many Social Media Managers utilize graphics tools like Adobe Photoshop or Canva to create eye-catching content that represents your business. Skill in graphic design is a necessity to engage the customer. If posts are not composed properly, it can reduce engagement or follows.

4. Customer Service Orientated

Social media is now the go-to option for upset customers. A customer-first attitude is important to mitigate any situations quickly, and moving any problems offline. Your brand is represented in every comment and post on social media. A poorly thought out reply to an upset customer can devalue your brand. Ensure that doesn’t happen with a customer service orientated person in place.

5. Writing Skills

The majority of social media interaction is written. Whereas there are plenty of photos and video to strengthen the message, it is important for your Social Media Manager to be able to articulate your brand message accurately.

6. SEO and Marketing Knowledge

SEO, Search Engine Optimization, and marketing knowledge are necessary to drive visitors to your website from your social media accounts. They may not be an SEO expert, but they should have an overall understanding of how social media content fits with blog posts, and how both of them support your business’s marketing funnel.

7. Paid Advertising

Your Social Media Manager should have experience with developing audiences, designing ad campaigns, and executing the ads. Paid for advertising needs to be specifically targeted to the correct audience based on behaviors. Ask them about their experience with designing ad campaigns to your particular audience.


Social Media Coordination is an aspect of your business that will enhance your communications to your customers and clients. If you have more questions about Social Media Coordination, check out our service page to see what CTV can offer you.

What other aspects do you find important in a Social Media Manager?