If you are going to succeed in marketing, then you need to know the difference between oysters and eggs.
Do you know this Aesop fable?
"Once a dog was walking along a beach, daydreaming of eggs, his favorite food. As he walked along, he caught site of a small oyster and assumed that this round item, too, was an egg. He gobbled it up. Later that night, as he was troubled by stomach pain, he thought, "I deserve this pain for thinking that every round thing is an egg."
Folks who move into professional storytelling from a "day job," dreaming of the delicious egg of self-employment, often make an assumption that can cause great pains: "Everyone should hire me. My passion (or experience or education or servant-minded intention) is enough."
That assumption as a marketing foundation is not going to help you. It is actually a hard oyster that is going to frustrate you and cause you pain.
No one owes you a booking. Take your eyes off yourself and think first about what your sponsors need.
When I was on the full-time pastoral staff of many churches, every few days some media kits or brochures would land on my desk. With few exceptions, every marketing kit used the same overworked and mind-numbing language, including words such as funny, passionate, prayerful, relevant, and experienced. From these generic kits, I might as well have selected an artist by drawing a name out of a hat.
So, what is the delicious egg of marketing? Try: "Iíd like to share with you why my niche, my gift, is unlike anything else being offered to your group and will move your company/school/church/etc forward."
Before you start concerning yourself with "how" to market, you need to know the answer to the question every sponsor subconsciously is asking: "If we book you, what will your presentations do for us?"
To answer that, you need to know: "What is my deep niche as a storyteller?" Do you stand out from all the other storytellers by what you say, how you say it, what you look like, what you teach about? "Stories for Everyone" or "Touching the Heart" does nothing to tell a sponsor why they should be spending their precious limited resources on hiring you.
Express your niche in this formula: " My name is ______ and I (help/show)(who) how to (do specifically this) by (unique performance quality)."
One of my niches is expressed like this: "I help men and boys (even jaded teenage guys) explore their purpose in life through unusual world stories told in edgy, contemporary language and staging."
Therefore, based on that niche, you would not hire me for your mother/daughter Formal Teas but if you have a tired menís ministry, father/son event or "boysí literacy group," I would be the choice for you.
I have coached hundreds of artists and I know that the idea of limiting oneself to just a niche or two will be met with resistance. However, there are ancient sacred writings that suggest that not everyone has every gift. Some folks build and some folks teach. Some folks do mother/daughter events and some folks take on the crabby teenage guys. I want to offer the best performance I can rather than trying to walk in the mediocre middle, chewing on oysters and missing the eggs.
Sean Buvala is a full-time professional storyteller and marketing coach. He is the author of the book "DaddyTeller: How to be a Hero to Your Kids and Teach Them Whatís Really Important by Telling One Simple Story at a Time".