How Much Should I Spend on Promotional Materials?

It’s a rule of thumb that speakers need one sheets, right? A glossy, 8 1/2 x 11 sheet with a picture of you, a list of your topics, your tagline, and some testimonials. Google “Christian speaker” and “one sheet” and lots of examples will come up.

And if you’re just starting out, and you want to seem professional, it can be tempting to have some made up.

I think, though, that that may be jumping the gun. I had my first one sheets made up a little early: before I knew all my topics, before I had a good, professional picture, and before I was well-established. What I’ve found over the years as I’m speaking is that promotional materials, like one-sheets, are secondary to the process of hiring a speaker, not primary. What we need to do is work on the primary methods that will encourage venues to hire us.

And what are the primary methods?

Word of mouth. Word of mouth. And did I mention word of mouth?

The primary way that speakers are hired is by word of mouth. Often the promotional materials aren’t even necessary! For some of the bigger venues, they’ll hear of you first, and then they’ll ask you for your one sheet or for a demo CD or DVD. But the word of mouth comes first.

When you’re starting out, then, the main thing you should be concerned about is how to generate word of mouth. The professional promotional materials come later, once you have some experience under your belt and you’re looking for the really big engagements.

And how do we generate word of mouth? First, we have to be excellent. When we speak well, when we lead people on a journey where they open themselves up to what God has to say, then they will remember us. We will have an impact. If you get up to speak and you try to come off as an expert, rather than coming off as genuine, you lose the opportunity to generate needed word of mouth. When you touch people with humour, when you touch them with your story, then the next time they’re in a situation when they hear of someone who needs a speaker, they’ll mention your name.

When we want to get the word out, then, the idea is to help those who have already heard you or who have already read your articles and books make it easy to recommend you. For that, you need at least a basic website, you need to have some sort of a regular newsletter that you send out so they keep in touch with you, and you need to be excellent. Even if you’re only doing small venues, do what you can to let others know how they can find you again.

It can take money to keep a website, but a blog is free, and if you use a WordPress blog, you can have a separate page where you put your speaking topics and your contact information. And the more you collect email addresses, the bigger your list will eventually be.

Once you’ve spent some time doing small engagements, you’ll eventually want to invest in “real” speaker promotional materials, like a demonstration CD and a one sheet and some artistic business cards, but don’t jump the gun too early. It’s better to spend the money, at the beginning, on training, on a website, and on recording some of your talks.

If you want more information on this strategy, I have an audio download available of my teleseminar that I recently gave that helps you learn how to build this word of mouth early, how to find small speaking engagements to start, and how to collect testimonials. It’s a great way to build your ministry systematically, bit by bit, so that you build your professional image and learn to do it well.

Learn more here.

I know it will help you as you build your ministry, and build buzz for what you have to offer!

Enjoy your summer!

Launch Your Speaking Ministry Teleseminar!

This Thursday, at 9:00 p.m. EST, I’m doing a one hour teleseminar that will help you launch your speaking ministry!

You’ll learn:

* The Key Difference Between Speaking and Teaching
* How to Develop a Life Changing Talk
* How to Tell Your Story!
* How to Generate Bookings
* How to Create Promotional Materials
* How to Record Yourself (and edit your recordings!)

And lots more! Find out more here, and I hope you can join me!

Summer Speaking Reflections

A speaker’s ministry priorities often change with the turning of the season.

I find that I’m very busy late September to mid-November, and again mid-April to early June. The rest of the year is for reflection, rejuvenation, and talking to God.

And so I always welcome the summer. It’s when I do two things: strategic planning, and lots and lots of meditating.

We will never have anything to share if we don’t first fill ourselves up. I find that even my typical talks, the ones I give year after year, change each year anyway, because God is talking to me about different things. It’s not that the talks are necessarily better or worse, it’s just that when I am able to share what God is teaching me, I get more excited, and there’s a freshness and a genuineness that is present because I’m speaking out of my heart, and not just out of my memory.

If we go go go all the time, we won’t have those times to talk to God.

And meditating, I think, means more than just doing daily devotions. We can do that even when we’re in the midst of a busy period. I think it’s when we take time to just think and pray and listen–time that we can’t normally dedicate because it’s time that we don’t have. When the quiet summer months come, we have to seize those opportunities to go for a walk with God, to sit on a rock with a journal by a lake and write what He is saying. To pray over our schedule for next year and ask for guidance. And to renew our souls.

Last week I was vacationing in New Brunswick, in the Bay of Fundy, home of the world’s largest tides. It wasn’t warm, but it was breathtaking, reminding me of God’s creation and magnificence. We need those times, but they don’t happen if you don’t let them. Here are some of the scenes I had before me:

But I also do strategic planning in the summer. It’s not really so different, because I need God to be the author of that strategic planning. I need to do it when I am able to listen to Him. So I ask what direction I need to go in, what topics I need to focus on more, what engagements I should take, and when I need sabbaticals or time off in the coming months and years.

I also use this time for professional development, reading books on speaking or taking teleseminars. And if you’re interested in some professional development, then this Thursday, July 16, you’ll want to join me for my teleseminar on How to Launch Your Speaking Ministry. We’ll cover how to generate bookings; how to develop a life-changing talk; and how to create promotional materials. Learn how to tell your story and share what God has given you. Find out more right here! I hope you can join me.

So how are you spending this summer? Are you listening to God? Are you rejuvenating your spirit? Are you letting Him minister to you and being a good steward, using this time to become a better speaker? I hope so. And remember, all of that is done best when we sit out on the deck, enjoy the sun, and put our feet up! Have a great summer!


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