Q-Given today’s challenging economy, marketing and PR efforts should be front and center for your company. But how do you rise above the noise?
A-One way to do boost visibility is through public speaking. By speaking at public forums – at conferences, seminars and forums held by independent event organizations, associations, professional and industry trade groups, and academic institutions – enormous exposure and thought leadership is created.
Q- Why do speaking opportunities for companies represent a strong marketing, public relations, business development, and thought leadership tool?
1-Attendees get to learn about your expertise firsthand and can interact directly with you before or after your presentation.
2-Speaking can increase your visibility in vertical/industry sectors or broad-based areas that you have targeted for greater exposure.
3-You gain “advertising” and branding by having your name and your company’s name published in the online agenda seen by hundreds or even thousands of people online.
4-Speaking in front of prospective customers or clients can lead to the generation of business leads.
Q- What should you be doing to get yourself or your company’s executives out on the speaking circuit? Take the following 5 steps:
1-Create high-impact presentations. Audiences want to acquire actionable information they can take back to their organizations. They don’t want to hear that your firm is a leader in this or that subject area. A solid, informative presentation that is purely educational and does not promote your business will create instant credibility and obviate the need for a “sales pitch.” A presentation that turns out to be a sales pitch will ensure low evaluations by the audience and a one-way ticket home from the meeting organizer.
2-Target the right audience. Thoroughly research the events for which you can propose yourself as a speaker, as a solo presenter or as a panelist. Identify speaking engagements whose audiences represent the clients and industries your organization wants to reach.
3-Develop a proactive speaker placement program. Getting speaking engagements takes a lot of effort. It’s fine to evaluate unsolicited speaking opportunities if you’re lucky enough to receive them. However, having someone – yourself included – dedicated to the task of aggressively identifying opportunities, develop relationships with event organizers and write and submit speaker proposals, should lead to an increase in the frequency of speaking engagements.
4-Learn the process for submitting a speaker proposal to the event organizer. It could be a formal process, such as doing so through a Call for Speakers application or simply sending an email to the person you identify as being the gatekeeper or decision-maker. Take care to follow the process for submitting a proposal, which includes writing a presentation abstract, submitting your bio and speaking expertise, and, of course, meeting the proposal deadline date. Make sure you tailor the abstract and the bio to each speaking opportunity so that they fit the objectives of the audience.
5-Follow up continuously and persistently with the event organizer to help you stay above the noise, since you will often be competing with many others for the same speaking slots.
By developing an effective speaker placement program for your organization, you will have taken a big step in contributing to you and your firm’s marketing, PR, and business development objectives.
About Steve Markman
With over 30 years of experience in the speaker and conference business, Steve Markman is the Founder and President of Markman Speaker Management, LLC, a multi-service speaker agency based in Needham, MA, that helps executives, principals, entrepreneurs, and authors attain speaking engagements of all kinds. His customized coaching/training service teaches people how to successfully obtain speaking engagements for increased visibility and lead generation. The firm also has a speakers bureau division, providing keynote speakers for organizations worldwide. Prior to launching his own firm in 1994, Steve headed up the conference divisions of leading organizations, including COMDEX and The Conference Board.