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This last year has been amazing for the seventy8 Productions blog. We began with nothing, an empty slate, and ideas to put into words. We have shared our favorite memories, but we did share the details of the stats that we have been so excited. Our first post received a whole three views and that month we had ten unique visitors. Now, we are averaging about 4,000 unique viewers a month, a 400,000% increase in a year… not bad.

The dream of blogging began simply as trying to provide some fun stuff for you and record some other thoughts and research for later use. The added benefit that came out of it is that I was able to better conceptualize youth ministry constructs as I prepared for the different relationships and events. When I added the student leadership program and had a summer intern, I planned everything out ahead of time, went through the feedback I received from everyone, and put it into action. I love to converse with great youth workers and tech people, both on the website and through other venues.

Here are the stats over the last nine months:

[easychart type="horizbar" height="100" title="Monthly Unique Pageviews" groupnames="Months" groupcolors="005599" valuenames="Apr,May,June,July,Aug,Sept,Nov,Dec" group1values="672,761,1202,915,1058,2172,3572,3311,4222" ]

While success is easily measured through pageviews, number of comments, and people who have subscribed to your RSS feed, that is a sterile approach to interacting with people. To measure success means more than cold numbers, instead you need to invest the time and energy that can build relationships, share wisdom, and find great resources to have better your own ministries.

We want to share some of the things that we have found to be success. Here are three things we have found to not only increase the number of people that view our website, but make for a better blogging experience.

  1. Give Away Free Stuff. This is by far the best way to increase the views and benefit others. In fact, three of our five top viewed pages were free resources that we gave out and the category of free stuff accounts for more than twenty percent of our traffic overall. At the same time, people offered up some great constructive criticism that will help make better material for the future to share. If you are not offering free stuff on your blog, you are losing out on what you have to share and the views that come with it.
  2. Content Is King, Always. Regardless of if you plan to write to make the money or just for the hobby, you need to know what you are going to write about and write it well. Success does not just fall into your lap. Writing a post may require experiencing something in life or ministry, taking the time to do the research and flesh out an article, or having some professional opinions of hot topics of the week. This will require using SEO techniques to know what people are searching for and viewing, writing about unique material that you are an expert on (or at least know what not to do), and putting in the elbow grease for your posts. If you do not put in the effort, you will not get the results.
  3. Guests Posts Give A Voice To The Audience We love our guest posts. The response to offering guest posts has been amazing and the quality of content was better than we could ever expect. In fact, we plan to make one of the guest authors a regular on the website this month. Not only do we give a voice to a group of people, that week of guest posts not only freed up a week for us at seventy8Productions, but it was the third most active week for us from viewers. Guest posts are a must for all bloggers! Make an event of it.

Here is a free PDF and WORD document download for you. We took a group of students to the mall and gave them an hour to get as many photos on this list as possible. The first person to get the most points after an hour wins.

WORD doc file (942kB file)
PDF file (74kB file)

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As promised, here are three postcard Photoshop templates for you to utilize and make very cheap, yet creative Christmas cards for family and friends.

Photoshop File Compressed (2.8 MB) – Download

Photoshop File Compressed (2.5 MB) – Download

Photoshop File Compressed (5.4 MB) – Download

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Here is a great tutorial and free motion backgrounds from the amazing website on After Effects, VideoCopilot.com.

Looks like we are having another free stock footage day that includes 15 new HD (720p) particle clips and a quick tutorial with some compositing tips & ideas. For tips on creating your own footage check out Flour Fusion show.  Sweet Deal!!

Example Footage

Watch Tutorial

FREE Particle Stock Footage:
Download Stock Footage (162 MBs)

Footage is in h.264 compressed MP4 files. Usage License. Enjoy!

Here is the fourth and final installment of our curriculum. In 1 & 2 Samuel, we will be looking at the life of David, where he started, how he came to be king, the mistakes that he made, and how he was redeemed through his lineage to the birth of Christ. There are so many good stories here to introduce to students all of which can easily be applied to the life of a teenager: knowing God loves you, trusting in Him, living the life God has for you, falling into sin, and yet knowing we can find salvation in Him (Matthew 1).

These lessons cover:

1 Samuel 16, 1 Samuel 17, 1 Samuel 19, 2 Samuel 7, 2 Samuel 11, Matthew 1

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 4)

Here is the third installment of our curriculum. Teenage life is radically different from what I was a teenager and that was only eight years ago. They are computer savvy, always “plugged in” to what is going on through texting, Facebook, and Skype calls. Teenage ladies are boy crazy about the latest pop stars, lead actors, and fashion. The young men are already talking about sports, YouTube videos, and who they think is “hottest” in TV shows and movies they watch. It is amazing they have time for school and family with everything that is going on.
Because of their unique experiences from our own teenage years, they have unique views of the world, some of which could probably challenge our own. Yet, they are still in a period of time of transition. Middle school students are hitting puberty and many times do not understand fully the physical changes that are experiencing. At the same time, they have probably figured out “who they are” in their own family and are trying to figure out “who they are” in their own little world at school, in sports, at the mall, and where ever else they go. As for high school students, they may have figured out who they are just in time to face the reality that they will soon be on their own in college or working right after high school. This means facing the unknown and even redefining “who they are” away from what they have known their whole life.

These lessons cover:

Relationships 01, Relationships 02, Relationships 03, Priorities, Integrity, Hurt, Game Day 03

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 3)

Here is the second installment of our curriculum. This method of youth ministry allows the Scripture and God to be the authority in the lessons, speaking truth into their lives, and hopefully making getting them excited about the Bible and their faith. This 6-weeks will still be topical and so we will not be progressing through a book of the Bible from week to week, but this will allow us to show them the different books of the Bible and allow those who have not read much of the Bible to become more familiar with it. (Note: The fourth 6-weeks we will progress through 1 & 2 Samuel, instead of being topical)

We will be providing an assortment of verses both as the main Scripture and the other relevant Scriptures. One great opportunity here is that we can connect the Old & New Testaments together to illustrate the lesson’s point. While we are currently under the new covenant that was established through Christ’s sacrifice, the text of the Old Testament speaks endless truth that is useful to us now, so we as leaders should make attempts to tie in both testaments into our lessons.

These lessons cover:

Bible Based, Shine Your Light, Own Your Faith, Home In Heaven, From Heaven To Earth, Jesus’ Life As A Leader, Death and Return, Game Day

Use it, rework it, just do not resell it.

High School Curriculum (part 2)