I just returned from teaching at the Blue Ridge Mountains Christian Writers Conference where I taught a continuing class, How to Develop a Speaking Ministry to Women. I first taught this class about six years ago at Blue Ridge and have continued teaching it every year at writers conferences across the country. This program eventually led to the creation of the Christian Communicators Conference, a 5-day, in-depth conference offering ongoing training, marketing, and community to help educate, validate, and launch women in their speaking ministries.
One of the topics women are always interested in is the marketing aspect of speaking. How will they know about you? How will they discover your ministry, your books, and all you have to offer?
The first way is by simply letting others know through word of mouth.
- Offer to speak in your own church. My very first speaking event was a women’s retreat at my church. Although the Lord had taken me kicking and screaming into that event, I returned from that weekend knowing what I had been created for! For the next several months and years, I spoke as often as they’d let me at monthly meetings, special events, and Bible studies. Soon I had a list of programs already prepared and ready to share with others.
- Admit to your friends and co-workers that you’re a speaker. Let’s face it, that can be a hard thing to do. We don’t want people to think we’re bragging or boasting. But how else will they know if we don’t tell them? I told the ladies at work that I was a women’s event speaker, and that led to the privilege of speaking at a co-worker’s church–and soon I was invited to speak again! Other opportunities happened because I spoke up when I ran into an old friend at the grocery store and when I offered to speak at my cousin’s church. Don’t be afraid to share what God has called you to do.
- Ask your friends and family to tell others. I asked my daughter to share my ministry with the leaders of her church and that led to doing a full-day women’s event in another state.
- Contact other churches in your area. If possible, obtain an endorsement from your pastor and/or women’s ministry leader and contact churches within your own denomination. I was able to get quite a few local opportunities by doing this.
- Introduce yourself as a speaker at conferences and social or business gatherings. Before I was on faculty at Blue Ridge, I introduced myself as a speaker when I met other new conferees. One woman was a women’s ministry leader in Virginia and she invited me to speak at her church. She told her friend who had moved to Pennsylvania, and that friend invited me to lead her women’s retreat. A woman from another church was at that retreat and told her women’s ministry leader about my ministry. All told, I ended up with four events in two states from that one introduction at Blue Ridge…long before I was teaching at conferences.
There are many more ways for you to share what God has called us to do. But the first way is simply word of mouth. It’s free, it’s always available, and it doesn’t take a technology degree to execute it!
Now that’s my kind of marketing!
Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. I Peter 3:15
And if you’d like more information on how to participate in our specialized training, community, and outreach, I hope you’ll check out all the details about our third Christian Communicators Conference, coming up at the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove, August 29-September 2, 2012.
Grace and peace,