Last week I wrote a post going over my speaking/blogging/writing schedule. A number of you said you found it helpful, but then someone asked on Facebook, “Can you write a post just listing all the extra apps and web things you use to make this easier?” And so here you go!
I use a hosted WordPress site, which you can get for $18.00 a year. WordPress allows you to have a blog, but it’s also the easiest way to organize your website when you don’t know very much HTML.
HostGator for hosting
A number of sites offer really inexpensive hosting for your web domains (that means that if you want a domain in your name, like sheilawraygregoire.com, you have to buy it and host it somewhere. That’s where you’ll put your WordPress blog). Hostgator can talk you through this.
Wonderful for helping you plan your blog posts!
Great for scheduling speaking engagements. You can also upload files there. I find the easiest way to keep track of my contracts/talks, etc., is to upload them to my calendar. That way I just need to open a particular speaking engagement and all the contracts and my script are right there. You can also share your calendar with an assistant who does your booking, so that he/she can have access to all the files, too, or you can share your calendar with family members so that you can see what dates you have free and what dates you have family commitments.
Google lets you save your events in different colours, so I colour code everything. If it’s just tentative, it’s green. If it’s confirmed, it’s blue. If it’s family related, it’s purple.
I don’t know why I’m putting this under “speaking scheduling”, because I use Evernote for EVERYTHING. I can put notes in there. I can send emails to myself there so that I save all my invoices for tax purposes and can find them at the end of the year. I store everything for each speaking engagement in there. Evernote makes it so easy to search, so instead of saving things in Word document after Word document, I use Evernote. Then I can search for a particular speaking engagement, and everything I’ve ever written is there.
I also keep copies of all of my talks in there, in case I’m ever away without my computer and can’t access them. Evernote is an online program that syncs with all of your devices, so that it’s always up to date.
Allows you to schedule Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, and posts to your Facebook Page in advance, so that you can upload all your posts for a week at a time (or a day at a time, or whatever works best). It’s free for up to 5 social media accounts, I believe.
Allows you to set times that tweets will appear. I use 10 different times throughout the day. Then when I want to tweet something, I post it to buffer so that my tweets are spread out, instead of coming all at one time. This way I don’t have to enter in the time over and over again.
If you’re a speaker, you need a newsletter! Collect email addresses everywhere you go and send out a newsletter on a monthly basis to keep people updated. Don’t make it just about you; feature other articles as well.
And the best newsletter program I have found is:
Design gorgeous newsletters, keep track of all your subscribers, and keep amazing statistics on who opens, who clicks, and who are your biggest fans!
One of the best features for speakers: You can send out a newsletter JUST to people who live in a certain area. So if you’re wanting to plan a speaking tour in Ohio, for instance, you can tell it to send out a newsletter to everyone who lives in Ohio, announcing that you’re coming to the area, and asking them to pass your information along to their church (or to send you the email of the contact person).
Once your tour is booked, you can then send an email to people who live in a specific city, saying, “I’m speaking next week! Come on by…” or whatever it may be.
Flickr now lets you have a terabyte of free storage! Upload all of your speaking photos to flickr so that people can find you. If you upload them in the original quality it will take a while, but you’ll never lose them. Then if you ever need to send a high quality photo to someone for a poster, you can just send them a link to the photo and they can download it themselves. It’s really easy!
I use Dropbox to store photos and videos, too. Let’s say that I’m at a speaking engagement and someone is taking tons of pictures. How am I going to get those pictures? I simply ask them to send them to me via Dropbox. It lets you share large quantities of files without having to email them. And it’s free–for a while. But the free space lasts a long time! You’d have to fill it with lots of photos before you have to start paying.
I also store my speaking talks and my PowerPoint on Dropbox (I store the notes on Evernote, too, but I like to put them in a variety of places in case something goes wrong).
Then, about a week before I speak, I simply “invite” the church to my folder with my PowerPoint in it, so their tech guy can upload the PowerPoint, make sure the video and audio is working, and have it all ready to go before I even get there. I find this reduces the stress on everyone.
It’s very easy to use–just like another folder on your hard drive. The only difference is that once you save files there, it syncs them up online so that you can always access them anywhere. Join Dropbox! It’s awesome.
You need two things when you speak: something to record your voice, and something to keep you from going on too long.
It can be your best friend! Get a magnetic one and it will stick to the music stand when you’re speaking. You can either count backwards or count up. Some people try to rely on the clock on the back wall, or on a watch, but I’ve never found that works well. If you rely on a clock, you have to remember to actually look at it and remember what time it was when you started speaking. If you don’t do that, how will you know when 45 minutes are up? It’s easier to just have a timer that you can see easily!
Don’t ever forget to record yourself speaking! You can turn those recordings into video clips, audio promos, and even CDs you can sell.
The best quality one that I’ve found is the Olympus recorder, that also connects to your computer via a USB port, so you can easily transfer the files and edit them. You’ll need to also buy a separate microphone that hooks onto your lapel, but this is such a great tool. Ipods and iPhones will also record now, but the sound isn’t as good quality. I wish they’d come out with better microphones!
I hope that list helps! If you have any other questions about what I use for something, ask away, and I’ll keep updating this so it’s a great resource post.
Growing your speaking ministry means investing in great tools and great training. See Sheila’s download Treating Speaking as a Business to learn how applying professionalism to your speaking will actually give you great spiritual rewards for the kingdom.