(Note: This blog post is an abbreviated written transcript form of the audio podcast)
THE MARKETING SIDE OF PUBLIC SPEAKING
You can have a great marketing plan to market yourself as a fantastic speaker however that won’t mean anything if you don’t know your stuff. It is very important that you research not only your topic but you should also know the audience; what are the people like who will be attending the event. Not only should you know your topic you should also have a passion or at least a strong desire to speak about a particular topic.
Now that you’ve picked a subject that you love and have researched it and know that it is the best that it can be then the next thing to do is to present it at a venue before a jam packed crowd…..right? Well not so fast. First you’ll need to get the crowd to come out to the venue.
PROMOTE and MARKET yourself as a speaker
Before this can be answered you first need to know will the event be sponsored or self sponsored. By sponsorship I mean who will be primarily responsible for marketing and promoting the event.
For example; if you will be speaking and/or presenting to a corporation then they will be sponsoring the event.
Perks and advantages of corporate sponsorship:
To start let me say that some people may associate corporate sponsorship with speakers who will be presenting a seminar or workshop however corporations and organizations will sponsor all types of speakers/speaking events. What’s nice about corporation sponsorship is that your main job in terms of advertising is to promote and or/pitch yourself; your skills to the organization that will be sponsoring the event.
Keep your ad dollars in your pocket because it’s all on the house or should I say it’s all in-house
Most Corporations and organizations have budgets that allow for speaking engagements especially those that educate and that budget includes advertising and promoting the event. What the advertising and promotion consist of depends upon the Corporation/organization; typically the larger the corporation the larger the budget. The corporation can advertise in their newsletters; magazines; email; website; in all of their online social media spaces; in postal mailers; radio; TV and more. The larger the corporation the larger the budget and the larger the venue which explains why so many people are fighting teeth and mail to get major sponsorship. Remember what I said earlier……. your main job is to sell you! So find out what the prospective organization is primarily looking for and deliver. Most organizations want to educate and “for profit” organizations want to…….you guessed it make a profit. How can you educate the attendees and/or motivate them in such a way that will increase profits. You would need to find out how your services can improve their sales and productivity and then you’re going to have to be sure that you deliver what you know through the speaking engagement and remember this could be a workshop, seminar, whatever fits!
Colleges and Universities are also excellent places to speak where they are responsible for the in house advertisement. Again your job is to sale you and the best way to do this is to find out what they need and prove to them that you are the best presenter for the job.
As a note: It’s not the easiest thing in the world to get your name before the corporate planners especially when you are first getting started. A good resource for honing your skills as a trainer and making connections would be www.td.org the website for Association for Talent Development . This organization has thousands of members and they provide job postings for in-house trainers. link
There are other community groups and not for profits such as churches that render free advertisement.
Many of these types of groups have access to free local news coverage ie news paper; TV and radio. They can also supply brochures; direct mail and more to their members. You know what to do find out what they need and how you can add value to their members and then deliver
Will your event be sponsored or self sponsored
By self sponsored I mean that you can put on your own speaking event; you book the venue and the speakers you do all of the advertisements and then have other sponsors pay for it. That means you will host the event and that it will be your job to do all of the foot work in terms of planning the event such as where it will be and knowing exactly what your budget will be in order to make the event successful. As host you can be the sole speaker or you can invite other speakers to present at the event. After you know exactly what you will need in order to put on the event you could then solicit sponsors that will pay for the publicity and some if not all of the expenditures such as the rental of the venue, speaker fees etc. If you decide to go this route then it is crucial that you compensate the sponsors in exchange for the dollars they will give to you. For example will you might place the sponsors (which could be equivalent to an AD) information on your training materials……..; on your website………; in your email list or mention them in your podcast etc. Before you approach any sponsor you must first know what your budget is going to be; how much will it take from beginning to end to put on this event. For example will you need special audio equipment to buy or lease? Will you be handing out materials if so make a budget for what it will cost to produce X amount of material. How much will each presenter be paid? etc. they will need to know exactly where their dollars are going and how you will compensate them in return.
More regarding self sponsored:
By self….self…..sponsored I mean you are the only source of income and resource for advertising and promoting your speaking engagement/event. When you are sponsoring yourself the following will help you to improve your chances of getting that speaking gig
One of the first things that you may want to put together is a Press Kit. Now days it is as equally important to have a digital press kit as well. That means that you would place your kit in some type of PDF (portable document format such as used in the Adobe platform); and this is so that it can be easily transferred online. You would want to send your press kit to the event planners and people that would be hiring you as a speaker. You would also want to send your kit to the media and members of the press who would hopefully do a story on you and the event. If you will be presenting in close proximity to your home town; then don’t forget to send a kit to the local media no matter how small the paper. Local media love to do stories about one of their own how grew up and lived in their community. I’ve done a few press kits and I sent several to some of the local papers and emphasized that the individual grew up in their community. In an attempt to make sure that the paper covered and highlighted what I thought were the features of the story……I wrote the story myself and sent it along with the press kit to the newspaper. And what do you know not only did they print the story; they also used my copy.
The press kit should consist of:
- Your bio
- News clippings/articles
- Cover Letter
- List of upcoming events and places where you presented in the past
- Outline of what you cover in your speeches
- Samples of your work via video and audio
- Appeared on a podcast; then include the link to the show and links to any other TV or Web appearances
- Samples of any other publications or work that you may have such as books, eBooks, website
Be sure your brand is tight
Remember you are selling you; so it is important to have cohesiveness and flow in your branding. There should be unity in terms of style and flow with everything from your press kit; business cards; letterhead; postcards to your website to your social medial sites. The basic color pallets, fonts etc should flow from document to document. All of your media does not have to look exactly alike but it can be off putting if you have a flower shop and most of your brand emphasizes pastels and softness and then you send your viewers to a website and brochure etc; that features very loud bright patterns with fonts that are completely different and by no means exude the style of all your other documents. Do your best with the budget that you have to present your brand as professionally as possible. For potential sponsors; your brand is all they will see of you so make it nice and present with excellence; and this can be done even on a shoe string budget.
Traditional means of marketing yourself as a speaker
Don’t discredit snail mail. If you have the means then by all means send a letter or brochure through the mail. Many people still read advertisements through the mail; the key here is to target, target, target your audience and only send to the people who would be interested in sponsoring and/or attending your event.
Emails are always nice
On simple thing that is most overlooked is by utilizing the signature space in your emails. Why not end with your name and then a link to your website of FaceBook address.
Know your stuff and showcase it online
Nothing snags engagements better than presenting yourself as the expert; or as near to an expert as possible. Some of the ways that you can do this to not only place yourself as an expert but to lend weight in the advertising and marketing of you space is to have a strong online presence such as a website or blog and other social media channels. With a blog you can write articles about your subjects; answer questions that readers place in the comments; give tutorials and offer tremendous value to your readers.
You can also start a FaceBook group and as the administrator you can invite participants to join and start discussions surrounding the topic(s) of your choice. Again answering questions and offering value to the participants and allowing the participants to lend value as well. A word of caution here; if you are going to maintain site like a blog or FaceBook page be sure that it is as exciting and professional as possible. If your site is drab and the content drab or dull then the readers will assume your speaking will be just as drab and you can kiss that speaking engagement goodbye. On your website or FaceBook group/ fan page you would want to be sure to have a newsletter sign up button. This would place their names on your mail service such as Aweber and Chip monkey. Which leads me to another way to market yourself and that is to send out newsletters to your subscribers. You can inform them as to when and where you will be speaking and also place your calendar of any open dates that can still be filled just in case they may have in the event they have an event they would like to invite you to. Oh and don’t for get to put your calendar of your schedule on your website.
What to put on your website
Much like your Digital Press Kit you can place small video clips some of your of previous speaking engagements right on your website. You can also dedicate a special page for your media and digital press kit on your website. Just create a page entitled something like “media, contact me, about me”; you can then place the digital press kit on that page.
Don’t forget to post testimonials where your website visitors can easily find and read them.
Guess blog on someone else’s blog
One more word about websites and that it……..yours is not the only website out there so go ahead and solicit to be a guest writer on someone else’s website. Just be sure that the subject matter of that particular website is what you would want to be associated. There are plenty of blogs and online magazines and trade magazines that are looking for good content.
Pitch for podcast and radio interviews
Another way to get the word out about what you have to offer as a speaker is to seek out and try to get booked as a guest on a TV, Radio or Podcast. These are usually a little easier to do when you have a book or something like that under your belt that you have written. But with podcast many people have appeared on a show and they talked about what they do and why they are the one to talk about a particular subject. I would check out some of the main Podcatchers such as ITunes; Stitched; etc (they change all the time) and look for a show that is centered around your area of expertise and then contact the host.
There are lots and I mean lots of other ways that you can get the word out and market yourself as a speaker I have only skimmed the surface. Do your research and come up with a plan. Start with something that you can do immediately and then build to a website or starting your own podcast the skys the limit.
How will you utilize your MOVE…..Minutes of Visionary Energy?
Take a few minutes and think about whether you should host a seminar
- what would the seminar subject matter be
- Do some research online regarding corporate seminars and jobs
- who do you contact
- what are the qualifications
- do you need certificates
- Get names and contact information for small to mid-level event planners for businesses and organizations in your local area
If you’re thinking about doing it yourself:
- If you don’t have a blog or website get one
If you have your blog and/or website already set up then be sure that you:
- Post online video and audio clips of your previous speaking engagements that are easy for others to share
- Post online PDF files with good free information in it that is easy for others to share
- Leave your website and blog site below the signature of your emails
- Post testimonials
- Be sure that you have a newsletter sign up button front and center on your site
by Nancy Michaels