I am Tony Doland. I am a nationally recognized anti-bullying speaker. I speak to thousands of teenagers every year all across the country. But 4 years ago I didn’t have a clue on how to get my speaking ministry off the ground.
4 years ago I knew I was a good speaker. I had been working in churches for years as a youth pastor and I had spent countless hours honing my skills in an attempt to become great.
These countless hours coupled with a natural gift to speak made me into a good speaker. Nevertheless, me being a good speaker didn’t mean my phone was ringing off the hook with people wanting me to come speak for them.
Can you relate? Do you know you’re a good, maybe even great, speaker but no one outside of a select few seem to care?
I am going to give you 7 steps to launch a public speaking platform/itinerant ministry.
Here is the thing: I am not going to give you them all at once because each step takes time. However, if you follow these steps you will be well on your way to using your gift of public speaking to help more people in a greater capacity.
Step 1: Define Your Market
Answer these 3 questions to define your market:
1) Who are you going to speak to?
For the anti-bullying side of my speaking ministry this means “middle school and high school students in the U.S.” For the Christian end of my speaking ministry this means “youth, young adults and young churches”.
This is a huge market; some might even say it’s too big and I need to narrow it down. The important thing here is to make sure that you do narrow it down. No matter how great of a speaker you think you are, your ministry will suffer if you don’t carve out a niche for yourself.
Find a specific audience and become the best speaker for that audience.
2) Who are you not going to speak to?
This might be hard for some of you but it will greatly help you going forward. You need to realize that if you’re going to take your public speaking ministry seriously you need to clearly define who your ministry is for and who it is not for.
For example, I don’t speak at elementary schools. I have designed my anti-bullying message for an older audience and it simply does not work for elementary aged students. Knowing who you don’t speak to doesn’t make you any less of a good speaker, it just makes you a better speaker to the audience you do speak to.
3) Who do you market to?
I see a lot of speakers, both Christian and secular, market their business to the people that they speak to and not to the people who are going to book them.
Market to the people who are going to book you!
For the anti-bullying side of my speaking ministry I speak to teenagers but I market to principals.
Principals are highly educated adults who don’t have a lot of time to waist watching long videos of speeches from potential guest speakers. Principals are typically going to be looking at my website on a school owned computer with slow internet.
You need to get into the mind of the person who is going to book you and market to them. Don’t market to your peers or your audience; market to the people who are going to book you.
Once you have created some marketing material run it by some of your potential clients. Let them tell you what they are looking for and once they do, adapt your marketing strategies.
Spend some time answering these 3 questions as you define your market. Once you have defined your market write it down and begin tailoring your ministry from that point.
For some of you, defining your market will be easy; for others, it will be difficult. Either way it will be worth it. Defining your market will give you a solid base to build the rest of your speaking platform on.
Question: What have you found to be extremely helpful in your early stages of building an itinerant ministry?