Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 5

As I was reading through the information that Tracie Miles has written for the next few weeks, I was again overwhelmed with thankfulness for all she’s sharing with us.  I also was feeling badly that I am editing her amazing material to make it “blog length”, so I came up with a plan.  Let’s have a contest!  I’ll print Tracie’s info in its entirety in a booklet to give away on Dec. 17th as we conclude her series on marketing.  Each time you leave a comment through the 16th, it will enter you in the contest to win this valuable information.  I’ll randomly pick a winner and send you the booklet as our Next Step Speaker Services Christmas Give Away.

Now, here’s Tracie…

Last week I talked about step one, which was focusing on building your personal, professional image and coming up with some branding ideas that depict you and your ministry.

Today, we will focus on the next two steps, which focus on deciding what messages you will share, how to package those messages, and creating bullet point statements that clearly state the benefits of your message for the listeners.

Step 2: Create Your Messages & Message Titles

  • Determine the messages God has specifically called you to share.  Remember that just because you like a certain topic or Bible passage, does not mean that you necessarily are called to speak about that.  Pray about the topics that God would have you speak about, or the messages that He has specifically equipped you through personal experience to share.
  • If you are unsure what messages you should share, but you are confident God has called you into speaking, then there are a couple things you can do.
    • One – PRAY! Ask for God’s leading and guidance about your messages. 
    • Two – BRAINSTORM!   Start making some lists about things you could create messages about, and get your creative mind working. Consider how your own personal stories can grow into an inspiring and life changing message for your audience.

A few questions to kick off your brainstorming session could be: 

  • What areas of life are most important to you?
  • What are your favorite Bible verses and why do they mean something to you?
  • What personal experiences have you had that can relate to certain Bible stories?
  • In what ways have you seen God intervening in your life?
  • What difficult experiences or situations have you encountered where you saw God working supernaturally?
  • How has God performed miracles in your life?
  • What prayers has God answered in your life?
  • What new twists do you have on commonly known passages or verses?
  • What cultural issues do you feel strongly about that relate to faith?
  • What mistakes have you made in your life, but known you forgiven for?
  • How did God work in your life through that forgiveness?
  • What are your favorite movies? What lessons/morals come out of them?
  • How can you share your testimony in twenty minutes or less?
  • How has God transformed your life?

 Once you have narrowed down your main message(s), based on how God has equipped you and prepared you in life to deliver them, begin to develop organized outlines for your messages.

Step 3:  Formulate Your Topic’s Value Statements

  • After your topics are decided upon and your titles have been created, consider writing three to four ‘value statements’ for each topic. 

A value statement is essentially the intangible things that the event attendee will walk away with after hearing your message. When people know how they will benefit from your message, they are more likely to be interested in booking you to speak. Remember to focus your value statements on what the attendees will derive spiritually from your message, and how your message will change their life, as opposed to the points that you will be sharing in your message.  

Suggestion: Visit some P31 speaker blogs to review their topics pages for examples of inspiring topic descriptions and value statements. Reading through the speaker’s topics pages will give you a much better idea about what value statements are, and to begin developing your own value statements.

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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 4

Thank you Tracie Miles for this series on Marketing Your Message!  If you’ve missed any of the past posts, make sure to catch up!  Take it away, Tracie…

Today we are going to focus on laying more groundwork for marketing your ministry, with respect to building your professional image and getting off on the right foot.

Before you begin thinking about marketing your speaking ministry from a physical standpoint, it is important to remember to prepare from a spiritual standpoint as well.

I would recommend that you do these two things first and foremost, before you venture out on the marketing trail: 

1)      Recruit a team of prayer warriors, if you do not already have one, to pray for you and your ministry, as you pursue God’s call on your life.  Having a team of people behind you, or at least one true Christian friend, who will continually lift you up and support you, is crucial in helping you stay committed and passionate about your calling.

2)      Ask God to help you commit to making private worship, quiet time and prayer a priority in your life.  As you seek God’s guidance, clarity, and wisdom on this exciting journey of speaking, continue to listen for His voice at every stage of your journey and in every decision.

If you are unsure about how to begin a devoted daily walk with Christ, consider purchasing a chronological Bible (available on the Proverbs 31 shop page). It has been a huge blessing in my life, and transformed my walk with Christ this year. It is a commitment you will not regret!

A major part of marketing is preparing YOU, which simply means, getting yourself ready for professional exposure.

I know you are anxiously awaiting the tips for actually kicking off your marketing plan with some concrete ideas, but before we get into that, I want to share some important foundations that need to be laid first.  You never get a second chance to make a first impression, so I want to help you be prepared to make the best first impression possible!

Below you will find the first of six steps to building a strong image for your ministry. Keep in mind, that these things will take time. In fact, I recall a few years ago, getting frustrated with myself and the slow process of trying to get all these foundational things completed, however, I soon realized that it was well worth the wait. Patience truly is a virtue!

Step 1:   Build Your Image

  • In order to make an excellent, positive first impression on others, and especially on church leaders and event coordinators, you need to establish yourself as a professional – not only in experience and what you have to offer, but also by your own personal image.
  • Having a professional image will help put your ministry on the right track from day one, and begin building a memorable and lasting reputation for you and your speaking ministry.
  • Review your personal image. If you are in need of an updated look, consider having a makeover! Get an updated hair style, a fresh new look, and buy a new outfit if needed.  Clothing in photos should be trendy and depict your true self, but also very modest, professional, and not too flashy.  Just make sure you look your very best, and be proud of who you are!
  • Have some professional pictures taken, either by a family member or friend, or from a professional photographer, depending on what falls into your ministry budget.  Insure that whoever takes the pictures is using a high resolution camera. Personal digital cameras take excellent pictures; however, the photos will not have a high enough resolution in order to have quality photos on websites or printed materials.

The primary goal is to have excellent quality, professional pictures that depict who you are and your level of professionalism. Your picture is the first impression that people will have about you, so you want it to be recent, professional and complimentary.

  • Consider creating a branding look for yourself ( life verse, specific colors, personal design, etc., that will be consistent in everything that you present to the public). Your branding is what helps people remember you. Try to create a branding look that really portrays who you are and things that you like. Just a word of caution, though – try not to get too quirky! You want your image to be as professional and clean and memorable as possible, while giving people a little glimpse into the real you.

Thanks, Tracie!  We’ll come back to Tracie’s important steps, but I hope all of you have a Happy Thanksgiving!!  All of you who have joined with us here at Next Step Speaker Services are cherished and we are thankful for YOU!

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Monday, November 15, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 3

Before I hand it over to Tracie Miles today, I wanted to celebrate a little with you.  I am very excited to announce that a handful of the Next Step Speaker Services Clients have finished their time with us and are on their way to building their ministry.  I’m so proud of their hard work and commitment.  Please visit our home page to read some of the things that they have to say about the service.

Now…take it away Tracie!

Today we are going to talk about something crucial in regards to building the foundation for your ministry, but something that often gets inadvertently overlooked – GOALS! 

 Goal setting can easily be the determining factor in your success.  In fact, I read once that the simple act of planning can put your ministry in the top five percent of ministry marketers. 

When our hearts are on fire to see God making a pathway for our success, we often forget that we need not only need to pray and seek His guidance, but also that we need to get a little “business-like” in our thought process about setting attainable personal and ministry goals. 

If you are groaning, and thinking that you don’t need to set goals because you already know that your goal is to be a speaker, then let me know give you something to think about!  

Try to view building your ministry as you would if you were building a house. You wouldn’t consider building a house without having a blueprint, right? In the same way, we should not consider building a ministry, without having a detailed plan and some desired goals. 

I want to encourage you that when you begin putting your goals down on paper, that you immediately put them to the test… the SMART test, that is. 

The SMART test is not just being smart, but setting SMART goals. Setting SMART goals simply means setting goals that include specific criteria which are more likely to insure success in your ministry and your marketing efforts.  If each of your goals can stand up to each of these criteria, then you will be on the right path for making them happen. 

The word SMART stands for the following: 

S – Strategic

M – Measurable

A – Attainable

R – Realistic

T – Time Managed 

Consider, for example, that an aspiring speaker had a goal such as this:  “To become nationally known and have an active speaking schedule.”  

Let’s face it, that is a very ambitious goal, and it sounds good, but it is really not a very a realistic goal. This goal is not taking into consideration any of the criteria that may need to be in place for this goal to happen. This goal is probably not realistic, making it unattainable, and there is no time frame for when it might happen. 

Unfortunately, this type of goal, although inspiring, will put us on a quick path to discouragement.  Not to say that one might not get lucky, hit the big time and become an overnight sensation! If that is God’s plan for you, then it will absolutely happen, but for most of us, it’s a bit unrealistic! 

Here are a couple examples of a typical ministry goal, verses a SMART ministry goal. 

Example 1: 

Typical goal: “Contact 3 people to ask if I can speak at their church.”

 SMART goal – “Make a list of potential contacts and addresses, and contact at least three people by mail by November 1st, followed up with a phone call on November 10th, inquiring about the possibility of speaking at their church in the spring of 2011.” 

Example 2:

Typical goal: “Create a professional bio sheet”

 SMART goal: “Have a professional photo made by November 15th, while researching designers for price comparison by the end of the month and have the completed project by January 1” 

See the difference? The first goal in both situations is fine, however, the second goal is empowering, motivating and action-oriented. 

The SMART goals not only state the function you are going to carry out, but it includes parameters and even dates that will help you meet the desired outcome.  Setting expectations for ourselves can greatly boost our success, because it gives us a way to hold ourselves accountable. 

 Take a few days to consider and pray about your personal goals for ministry. Then, try to put those goals into the format of a SMART goal, where you specifically describe not just the goal, but the plan for meeting that goal, in addition to time frames, how you will measure whether or not you are staying on track, while making sure it is realistic and attainable for you at this stage of your ministry.

 Once you have answered the 4 W’s, determined your target audience, thought about your niche, and set some SMART goals for yourself and your ministry, then you are ready to move on to the next step!  

Next Week’s Tip:  Laying the Foundation/Part 3 – The Importance of Building Your Image

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Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Marketing Your Message Part 2

Tracie Miles is our guest for 8 weeks while she shares some of her rich experience in marketing your message.  This week she talks about beginning to refine and narrow your calling to the specific people and places that God is preparing for your message.

 Welcome back to our marketing series! 

Last week we discussed why God calls us to invest our talents, and invest in ourselves. But, even when our heart’s intent is to do just that, it can still seem extremely overwhelming and mind-numbing to determine where and how to get started.  So today, we are going to begin the focus on laying the foundation of your ministry, before we begin outlining how you want to market your ministry. 

Before we even start thinking about marketing methods, we need to focus on the four emotional W’s of marketing: 

  1. WHY you are doing what you are doing (your spiritual calling)
  2. WHAT is it that God has specifically called you to do
  3. WHEN do you need to do it
  4. WHERE can you begin investing your talents

 If the answer to all of these questions are based on your relationship with Christ, your desire to be obedient to His calling on your life, and your quest to further your ministry to glory His ministry, not your own, then you are on the right track!  Make a commitment not to let the enemy fill your head with worries about pride, and stay focused on the motivator for your efforts through spending time in God’s Word and private worship. 

Wherever you find yourself today, take some time to pray about God’s leading in this area. If you feel led to narrow down your focus and try to find your niche, consider doing these further steps: 

  • Make a list of the main things you feel qualified to talk about, which will normally stem from a result of personal experience and your own walk with Christ.
  • Make a list of the subject areas you would like to talk about, and that you feel most comfortable and knowledgeable about.
  • Consider how these two lists compare to each other; see if there are any commonalities.
  • Think about the stories you may want to tell in your messages, which should primarily be personal stories (if you use another person’s story or something you read about, just be sure to give credit where it’s due). Try to narrow down what type of audiences you think would be most receptive to the story.
  • Consider if this list of stories you want to share, falls into one of the general categories of people mentioned above, or another category that you can think of, and see if seems like your niche.
  • Pray for God to make it clear to you what your primary target audience is, and to confirm in your heart what your next steps should be.  

Truly narrowing down our focus and discovering our niche, all the while trying to understand the why/what/when/where’s of ministry, can seem a little intimidating, and may even cause us to feel confused and unsure of exactly what we are called to do. 

But take heart – this is a process that all new speakers go through, and although your reassurance and confirmation may not happen overnight, in time and through private worship, you will feel God’s nudging in one direction or another. 

If you are listening, God will be speaking.

Thanks, Tracie for those words of encouragement and wisdom!  To get to know Tracie better, make sure to visit her at her blog.

Tomorrow’s tip: Laying The Foundation/Part 2 – The Art of Setting Goals For Your Ministry

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