You have a great idea… to take your speaking and books/products on the road!
The questions that quickly arise are:
- Where do I start?
- What will the route be?
- How do I fund this tour?
- What about sponsors… can I get sponsorship?
- How will I market this tour?
- How long will I need to plan this?
And the questions go on… and on… and on.
One that you MUST answer is...
"WHY!" WHY am I doing this tour (and what impact should the tour have)?
Sometimes the details can deflate an entrepreneur’s passion and motivation to keep the planning on track and moving forward. We can relate.
We have both led a number of big projects and events. Charmaine has led several different speaking and book tours. Charmaine’s first tour covered two provinces over several weeks. The second tour visited three provinces over six weeks. And her most recent tour? Six weeks, 10,000 miles, 54 communities, 40+ events and presentations, 49 sponsors and 40 business champions… a huge success.
What made it a success?
Five Musts of a Speaking and Book Tour:
#1: Have a plan.
Have a good plan, which also means having a budget. Your plan and budget should answer these questions (and many others… this list just gets you started):
- Where will the tour start and finish?
- How will the tour be financed?
- How many communities/stops/events are doable?
- What is the WHY? (What’s the purpose of the tour?)
- Who is the target audience(s)?
- When will the tour begin?
- What format will the tour take (live events, virtual tour, or combination)?
- What community champions can you engage?
- Where is the potential for sponsorship?
- Who do you know that could support the tour?
- How many people do you wish to reach through media, social media, and live events?
#2: Find and involve community champions.
Charmaine discovered that having community champions for every event, stop, and presentation is essential. Communities where her team had champions created better results and more media. It was easy to book events and there was a high level of community excitement about the tour stopping in their region. In communities where the team did not have contacts or champions, it was extremely difficult to achieve the same level of success.
#3: Secure sponsors and business support.
Sponsorship and business support was one of Charmaine’s biggest wins on the Million Acts of Kindness Tour. From having the 32-foot motorhome sponsored by Fraserway RV to having all Petland Canada stores supporting the fundraising through theirs stores, to 13 hotels providing complimentary stays for our team.
#4: Build in philanthropy.
Every tour Charmaine leads has a strong philanthropical component. Not only do sponsors like having a philanthropic component, so do the communities. Charmaine was able to provide more than 500 books to schools, provide schools and youth groups with presentations, make donations to charities, and more.
#5: Reach out through media and social media.
Media and social media were necessary and so powerful in helping share the Million Acts of Kindness message, build engagement, and ultimately build a movement around kindness. Traditional media was a powerful way that we could recognize our partners and sponsors as well as share the story behind the movement.
The ultimate learning? It takes a village to build a successful tour. Your team is important.
And never lose sight of your vision.