Thursday, September 6, 2007

Are You a Selfish Speaker (or Writer)?

When was the last time you reviewed your bio, back book cover, or description of your keynote speeches? What did it say? If you’re like the average Christian speaker or writer, your marketing text may be working against you.

After reviewing the websites for over 100 Christian communicators, I’ve noticed a strange pattern. Most marketing text focuses on self-praise of the speaker or a self-centered look into the writer’s life. Granted, many of these people are just copying what they see others do. However, if you make this same mistake, you could turn off website visitors, influential leaders, and potential customers.

Here’s the point: Your audience doesn’t care about how great you are. They care about what great things you can do for them. If someone visits your website and never grasps the results you can provide, they might never visit again (or spread crucial word-of-mouth).

Telling people that you’re a certified speaker or an award-winning author can lend to your credibility. However, accolades by themselves are empty descriptions that make your audience say, “So what? Who cares?” Worse, filling your bio with words, such as “authentic, hilarious, and sought-after” is so cliché that it makes you look like an amateur.

All human beings are self-centered, but Christians should be more “others-focused” than secular communicators. If we’re indwelt by Jesus Christ (the most selfless individual ever), then our marketing should make it apparent that we think about our neighbor’s needs.

How do you transform your marketing from selfish to selfless? Explain up-front how your message benefits other people. Why? If someone pays money to buy your book or hear you speak, then you’re obligated to give something beneficial in return. The benefit could be new wisdom, new motivation, an emotional release, or specific answers to a problem.

Yet, most speakers come across as if the audience should feel privileged to sit in their midst. Don’t make this marketing blunder. Instead, describe the tangible benefits you offer people, and build that information into your bio, website, and media brochure.

To determine the benefits you offer people, consider why you started writing or speaking in the first place. Then, ask yourself these questions:

1. Has God truly given me something unique to say? What is it?
2. Have I experienced the benefit of my own message? Would a skeptic believe me?
3. Who stands to gain the most from what I have to say? Why?
4. If someone applies the message of my book, how will their life be different?
5. What result do I want people to experience after they hear me speak?

Don’t be a selfish Christian speaker or writer. Make yourself sought-after and award-winning by marketing yourself as someone who meets the needs of your audience.

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