Monday, February 27, 2017

Answers to Your Questions: Promoting Your Resources

 

Happy almost-March, friends!

I want to continue answering your questions that you left via Facebook Live. You’ve led me to talk about some great content, so here we go.

How can you plug your website, offer or book without being tacky? Or is this a no no? ~Tammy

This is an area that has made me squirm too, but I say the answer is a definite yes, YES! However, it takes a shift in mindset to do it comfortably for you personally and for your audience.

In the past, I saw these kinds of promotions at my events as sales-y. I felt insecure in doing them because I didn’t have a clear view of how the resources benefited my audience. I saw it as a little self-serving and so it was self-serving. Yuck. Nobody enjoys that kind of promotion.

Things changed for me when I started really focusing on my audience and how I could leave something of value for them that would last far beyond the event itself. I started asking myself these questions:

  • What books that I personally have benefited from could I bring for my book table that would extend the lessons I shared during my message?
  • What free resources can I point women to that will benefit the whole group, especially the women with no money at the event?

Let me give you an example of how this started to look at my events and how you might fit it to yours.

Free Content

At each event I do an “in a nutshell” talk (less than 5 minutes) about Proverbs 31, and I let women know about our Encouragement for Today devotions as well as our First 5 app. Both of these are incredible content and free resources. I encourage them to download First 5 as I talk and to come to the book table to sign up for our devotions. I’m confident that everyone in the room can grow spiritually from these resources, so it’s easy to talk about them enthusiastically.

For you, you might tell people about your blog posts and give them an opportunity to subscribe. You could also develop a special resource to download on your website for the message you’re bringing. ie. scripture memory cards, a special prayer, a quiz to evaluate their growth, etc. You can put the link on your handout and mention it in your message. Giving away valuable content is generous promotion,so that alone puts most of us at ease and takes the smarmy-factor out of our promotion. It brings people to your website, but if you are faithfully shepherding your message there, that’s something you should feel confident in sharing.

Content to Purchase

I extend the idea of generosity even as I bring attention to my book table. I do a giveaway and let the winner choose between two or three books. I tell a little about each book and how it has impacted me personally to allow the winner to choose the one that’s best for them. That informs the rest of the audience too, so if they’re interested, they can visit the table and buy the book.

If you’re building your email list, have the audience fill out a card that has blanks for their name and email, and draw the winner of the giveaway from those cards. I always tell the audience that their name is the only thing required to win and what they’ll receive if they include their email. That way leaves room for everyone to be part of the giveaway and for the email opt-in to be optional. Again, knowing that what they’d receive via email (blog posts, devotions, a drip campain, a special offer) is  valuable content should give you great confidence as you ask!

One last idea to consider about your content with a cost… All the proceeds from my book table goes to Proverbs 31. Maybe you use your resources table to defray the costs of your ministry, and that’s completely ok. What about giving a portion to a non-profit that you love? You could let your audience know, and that gives you a chance to tell them about a wonderful cause, too.

What ways have you found to promote your resources that are comfortable for you?

Bonus: Last week, my dear friend Tara Furman, founder of Knowing God Ministries, came over for lunch, and she agreed to let me interview her on FB Live. Click here to hear about how she was led to start her own ministry. She’s got great advice! Don’t forget to like and follow Next Step Speaker Services while you’re there.

 

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Monday, February 6, 2017

Answers to Your Questions: Promo Videos

Hi, gang! Before I answer another one of your questions, I want you to know some exciting news…

Registration is open for She Speaks!!!

If you’ve been to She Speaks before, would you do me a favor and leave a comment today? Tell us what She Speaks meant to you for those who haven’t attended before.

If you haven’t been before, click here to check out the beautiful 2017 site. Once you’ve checked it all out, I have one more thing to do. Pray Fast!! The conference fills quickly, and we had over 1000 women on the waiting list last year. I don’t want that to be you, so if this is your year, go ahead and register today. If you think this is your year, read the cancellation policy very carefully and then go ahead and register. Better to cancel than to miss out.

Now… on to the question for the week.

Is a small time video (not a big crowd) better than no video? ~Kimberli

Yes! Every speaker should see a sample video as an essential part of your speaking ministry. A savvy event planner friend of mine said, “I’d never hire a speaker without seeing a video first.”

Thankfully, in our digital world, it’s not difficult to have a sample video. Here’s some advice I’ve received mixed with what I’ve learned along the way:

  • Sample videos should be short. Contrary to what I originally thought, three to four minutes suffices.
  • You should use the best snippets from your message(s), highlighting your range and strengths. Show some funny and some serious. Some Bible teaching and some story-telling. Some loud and some quiet. You’re trying to give event planners a feel for who you are as a speaker.
  • Get the best video possible. Shoot for having something with a high resolution. If it’s shown on a large screen, you don’t want it to wash out.
  • Crowd shots are something your videographer can purchase and add. I wouldn’t ever be deceptive about the size of crowds you’ve spoken in front of, but in my case, the camera was only on stage.
  • Let your creative person create. Both of my sample videos were done by the pastor at my church who produces video for our church. The first time we worked together, I tried to micro-manage him, and the result was dismal. The success of the two videos I actually use on my website is due wholly to giving him what he asked for and letting him go. You might want to provide things like– extra photos, focal scripture, quotes from your blog posts or books, ideas for focus. I ended up loving mine because of the story my videographer told.
  • Don’t worry if it’s not “slick”. Have it produced at the level where you are. If you’re a new speaker, a less produced video is fine. If you’ve been speaking for years, you probably need to save a budget for something a little more.

Here’s the video I just had done. It’s not perfect :), but I tried to put all these principles into practice.

Here are some other sample videos that I think are well done:

Chrystal Evans Hurst (it’s embedded in her home page)

Lynn Cowell

Dale and Jena Forehand

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

17 Ways to Grow Your Speaking Ministry in 2017

 

2017 has begun! Do you feel the anticipation of a fresh start? Or the dread of feeling overwhelmed by the possibilities?

I loved Melanie’s post last week on choosing one resolution. I felt myself relax and sigh in relief at the weight of self-imposed expectations lifting off of me. I hope it gave you a sense of hope too.

One of the ways I have to approach growth and change is to make a pray-oritized (prioritizing under God’s direction) list, and I’d love to give you some ideas that you may want to put on your list this year as you seek to grow your speaking ministry. Having a list helps me to keep me from being overwhelmed as a work on one item at a time.

Speaking is a never-ending learning curve of always stretching to communicate in a clearer, more compelling way. No matter where you are in your speaking–a beginner or a seasoned veteran– you can take tangible steps to grow your speaking ministry. Here are my top seventeen tips for 2017:

  1. Spend a day (or as much time as you can carve out) in a quiet place with just your Bible and a journal. Worship, pray, and read God’s Word. Ask Him to speak to you about His agenda for you for the year. Write down what God shows you and ask Him to help you pray-oritize your steps. Read this blog post for more details about a retreat with Jesus.
  2. Pray before you speak, “Lord, help me to love You first and to love these women as you love them.” Watch your focus change and your nerves subside.
  3. Lay aside a percentage of each of your speaking fees for reinvestment back into your ministry.
  4. Purchase a book that will challenge you in your speaking and implement at least one new idea in your next message. My top two suggestions are Communicating for a Change by Andy Stanley and Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath.
  5. Schedule time each week to work on your speaking ministry–studying, writing new messages or working on marketing tasks. Put it on your calendar and protect the time!
  6. Seek out someone who lives very differently than you as a friend. One of the ways God is expanding my horizons and teaching me new things is through some friends who do ministry in different arenas as well as two friends who live with significant handicaps. These friendships and the lessons we learn through them impact our messages significantly.
  7. Start saving your pennies and attend She Speaks. It’s a feast for your mind and soul! Registration will open early March. You can go the website today to sign up for an email alert when registration opens. Last year there were 1,000 women on the waiting list, so if this is your year, please, please register early so that you don’t miss out.
  8. Prayerfully set a goal for how many times you’ll speak this year. Be open to all kinds of venues for speaking (including making announcements, emceeing events, teaching Sunday school, etc), and speak as often as possible. Pray for chances to share God’s message and exercise your “speaking muscle”.
  9. Record yourself (smart phones make this super easy) and ask to be recorded each time you speak. Then, listen to yourself. I know it’s excruciating, but you’ll identify more needs for improvement by doing this than by any other single thing.  Video is even better (worse?). Watching yourself will alert you to areas that need work.
  10. Create an updated sample speaking video for your website this year. I went years and years without a video on my website until a friend of mine who is an event planner said, “I would never hire a speaker without seeing a sample video!” It should be short and contain your best moments. Click here and scroll down a little to watch the video produced for me last year. I’m in the midst of working on another one this year. It’s that important!!
  11. Subscribe to blogs that will give you information about being a better speaker and getting the word out about your ministry. We’d love for you to subscribe here for our free weekly speaker tips, of course!  We also have additional information posted on our Facebook page.   Also, I recommend Micheal Hyatt’s blog as well as signing up for Rob Eager’s Monday Morning Marketing Tips.
  12. Listen to great speakers and analyze the structure of their messages.  A few of my favorites are any of my Proverbs 31 sisters, Jennifer Dukes Lee (a former coaching client), Andy Stanley and Ravi Zacharias.
  13. Watch TED Talks to fill your mind with challenging ideas and the opportunity to listen to some fabulous speakers. Here are a few of my favorites: Reshma SaujaniDiana NyadBill GatesJane FondaAmy Cuddy, and my all-time favorite, genius TED Talk by Jane McGonigal.
  14. Choose 12 of Tracie’s marketing ideas, and implement one each month this year.
  15. Get out and live a bigger life. Take a day-trip. Ride your bike. Play with children. Cook international food. Break out of your rut, and do something different! Not only will it energize you, it will give you material for your messages.
  16. Listen to podcasts for communicators. Communicator Academy by Kathi Lipp and Michele Cushatt has shows on topics for both speakers and writers. I don’t miss an episode!
  17. And last but not least…use Next Step Speaker Services to help you individually with message development, editing your writing, message evaluation, developing marketing pieces. If you’d like to schedule a FREE CONSULTATION CALL click here

Melanie and I are here to be your cheerleaders for all of 2017! We’re in this growth process right along with you, so let’s take some next steps together.

I’d love to hear your thoughts if you’re planning your speaking year! Which of these tips will you add to your pray-oritized t0-do list? How about copying this list and putting it into your own Word doc so that you can add, delete, and change the order according to your pray-orities?

Amy

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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

When You’re Facing an Empty Calendar

 

Happy Tuesday, friends! I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving and are treating yourself tenderly in recovery week. Christmas is coming, but it’s ok to take a nap today if you need it. You have my permission! 🙂

I’m going to write a short-ish post today because I really need your help with some problem-solving. I hope we’ll pull together here in our community to share some ideas that will help us all. Please read and then share a comment–it won’t be the same if you don’t add to the conversation!

Here’s the problem I’m facing that I’m guessing you’ve faced from time to time too:

My speaking calendar is almost empty for 2017.

First of all, is it safe to confess to you that I felt a little shame typing out that statement? Eeeeekkkk! Here I am part of a national ministry with a huge platform of its own and a speaking coach, but nobody is currently asking me to speak. Seriously, y’all. It’s pretty much crickets.

Have you ever experience this kind of season?

I want to go ahead and call it a season because I’ve seen it before and have lived to tell about it. Before I launch into ideas about how to solve “the problem”, let me first acknowledge that it might not be a problem. It might be God’s grace.

For example, during the whirlwind year that I wrote, edited, launched and promoted my book, my coaching clients were almost non-existent. One day when I expressed my concerns to Barry that my speaker coaching seemed to be “dying”, he said, “Really, Amy? When would you have time to coach anybody? I think this is God’s grace for you.”

Sure enough! The book stuff has slowed way down, and the coaching has picked back up to record speeds this year. I’m thankful that God knows me better than I know myself, and He always provides my portion. Nothing more. Nothing less.

If your calendar is empty too, prayerfully consider this. God may know what’s coming in 2017 and know that we won’t be able to meet the expectations of a busier schedule. He may want us to pull away for a time of rest. Maybe He wants to do a work in us that He couldn’t accomplish if we were speaking.

But there’s another thing that might be happening. He might be waiting for us to take steps of obedience. My wise and experienced friend says it this way:

I’ll keep my eyes open for what God’s doing, but I’m feeling led to take some pro-active steps to build my speaking calendar. Here’s what’s on my list:

Create a new sample video— I had one produced last year, but I’ve got another message videoed that is begging to become a sample. I want it to look fresh and to be a second tool I can use on my website and social networks.

Have some outsiders look in— Based on some great advice my savvy friend Lisa Allen gave in a Compel training, I am going to schedule two people to look at my website and give me advice about how to highlight my speaking more effectively. One friend is the founder of Vend Raleigh, a networking group for mompreneurs, so she’s genius at connecting through social networks and media. She’s also an event planner, so she’ll be able to look at my site from that point of view. She does this professionally, so this coach will be paying for some coaching. My other friend is a speaker who has been taking some classes on building your blog. She’s innovative and will help me up my game, and she’s bartering her services for mine. (Just wanted to give you an idea on a budget but to also say that a monetary investment is sometimes needed.)

Contact event planners from my past events— I feel a deep connection to the event planners I’ve served, so I’d love to get to minister with them again. I’ve already built trust with them, so an update with an expressed desire to come back will (hopefully) be received well.

Now it’s your turn! What kinds of steps have you taken to fill your speaking calendar? Please share the good, the bad, and the ugly. We’d love to learn from what’s worked as well and to save time by knowing what hasn’t.

Amy

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