Using speaking opportunities as a way to promote yourself, your company, or your products isn’t anything new but in a very digital world, the value of these opportunities can sometimes be overlooked. They are extremely worthy in themselves as we explain below, but in order to get maximum return on investment, a well coordinated online campaign around the event can not only bring short term benefits but can also support your long term digital marketing goals as well.
Clearly there are speaker opportunities, and there are speaker opportunities, and if taking the floor in front of a room packed to the rafters isn’t your thing, then perhaps micro-seminars with much smaller numbers might be more up your street. With proper investigation, there is something for everyone.
Speaking at events should be part of almost every organisation’s marketing plan as they give your target audience the chance to put a face to a name, or a face to a company. People buy from people they know, like and trust: whilst a brochure or website can go some way in promoting your brand, an individual is much better able to demonstrate those attributes and bring personality to your organisation. Just another note on trust: being genuine is becoming increasingly important in all forms of marketing and while it is easier to hide behind clever marketing slogans or adverts, there is something more credible and honest about one person speaking to another without a journalist or ad agency in between.
Once you start researching speaking slots, you’ll almost definitely be overwhelmed with the number of events at which you could appear. Choose wisely – do you want to be one of many similar organisations at a mainstream event or could you pick up more business by being in the minority at a more specialist or niche conference?
It’s not always easy lining up your first speaker engagement, but that in itself is exactly the reason you should be doing it. There is an additional layer of credibility that you are one of the chosen few, selected to impart your wisdom to the masses. With that in mind, do yourself and the event organiser a favour and don’t ‘over sell’ during your talk: unless it’s your own conference and delegates know exactly what to expect, then share thoughts and opinions rather than ramming sales messages down your audience’s throat.
Unfortunately, the day of the freebie speaker slot is waning. Most event and conference organisers have caught onto the fact that they can charge fairly hefty sums for prime time gigs (unless you are Richard Branson or similar), which is why you need to be selective about which ones you undertake. That said, most event organisers and especially the few remaining free ones, will expect your pitch to include some sort of experience in holding forth in your specialist subject, so you may need to pay to get at least some practice under your belt anyway.
Usually, if you are paying for a speaker slot then you may be cajoled in to taking out a sponsorship or marketing package too, which may allow you to have a promotional stand, the opportunity to hand out flyers or get your brand in front of your target audience in other ways. There are always bargains to be had if you have a good poker face and can negotiate hard, or hang on until the last moment when the organiser is getting desperate.
Needless to say, you will probably be parting with a few thousand pounds at the very least, so it’s vital to make the most of the opportunity. If you simply ‘talk ‘n’ walk’, you are relying entirely on your presentation completely blowing your audience away and hoping that they are all immediately in need of your product or service. By using the slot as a focus for your digital marketing activity in the run up to and after the event, you will be making sure you get maximum bang for your buck and also take the pressure off at the event itself. Given the fact that Google is always on the lookout for signals that an organisation is very much alive and kicking, making lots of digital noise is not going to go unnoticed and will help your SEO campaign too.
Our Speaker Opportunities Cheat Sheet is completely free to download so please go ahead and help yourself. In return, we’d be grateful for a social share.
Many thanks and good luck. And if you need help identifying and then amplifying your speaker opportunities online, then please get in touch.
Also published on Medium.