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5 ways to promote yourself as a speaker

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Traveling around the world. Getting invited to speak at grand events. Being paid to share insights from your expertise and experience. And making a difference in the lives of others. That’s the dream many aspire to achieve in reality. 

And as you may know, this dream is best realized with a career in speaking. Now, launching yourself as a speaker is easy. You’d probably use a website builder to build a website, print business cards, and announce to people in your network that you’re looking to speak as a professional. 

But the rubber meets the road when it comes to marketing your services. Yes, even speakers can find it hard to “sell” themselves.  

It doesn’t have to be that way. The good news is that there are actionable strategies you can use to get the ball rolling on your speaking business. And below, we’ll walk you through them one by one. Let’s get started. 

How to promote yourself as a speaker

Follow the steps below to persuade prospects and event planners to book you as a speaker and fill up your calendar with an array of speaking engagements. 

Pick your niche 

For any event, the people in charge of booking speakers are usually the hosts or the planners. And they want to do what’s best for the success of their event and what will get them the most attendees. 

Needless to say, their biggest concerns when looking for a speaker are credibility and expertise. They know the people won’t attend the event if they can’t expect to learn something new and based on real experience. 

They don’t want a speaker who can give a talk about anything. What they want is a real expert who knows what he is talking about. So if you want your speaking venture to take off, building expertise in a specific niche is essential.  

In the words of Jon Clark, managing partner at Moving Traffic Media:

“When speaking on a subject, you have to be the smartest person in the room – someone with deep experience and knowledge to share. The more your expertise comes through in your talks, the less promotion you will need. Because you’ll get organic word of mouth.”

So work on finding a great niche and making it your own. Take a deep look within yourself and think about the areas you know a lot about, the type of audience you want to serve, and how you can best help them. Your niche will start to emerge from there. 

Create and promote video content

Video marketing is crucial for any business, but it’s even more important for professional speakers. This is because the experience of watching your videos resembles the most to actually watching you speak live. 

84% of marketers say that video content has helped them generate leads. Videos give you the best chance to showcase your speaking talent. And they play a big role in helping people determine if they want to hire you to speak at their event. 

Your videos don’t need a lot of special effects or high production budget to be effective. As long as you get your points across loudly and clearly, video content will help advance your speaking venture. For example, watch this video by Daryl Woodhouse – a speaker, executive coach, and business adviser. 

In the video, he gets in front of the camera and succinctly explains what type of organizations he helps and how. There’s no reason you can’t do the same. 

To get started, you can use a tool like Piktostory. It lets you not just record videos via your webcam, but also customize them to match your brand. Plus, it generates subtitles automatically to make your videos more accessible. Just sign up and you’ll see an option to record with a webcam. 

Alt-Text: Recording video with webcam

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Once your video is recorded, you can easily edit captions and contents of the video, just like you would edit a text document, and then download the video. 

Alt-Text: Piktostory editing interface to make speaker videos

Once you have created some videos to highlight your speaking talent, there are a number of ways to promote the same:

  • Search engine optimization: Upload your videos to YouTube with SEO-friendly titles, subtitles, and meta descriptions. 
  • Embed the videos on your website and add social media buttons to make them easy for viewers to share. 
  • Add a link to watch your video in your email signature, as well as your email newsletter
  • Advertise your videos on the social media channels where your target audiences are most likely to hang out. 

Build speaking portfolio and social proof

72% of consumers say that testimonials increase their trust in a business. And a speaking business is no exception. Take Clint Pulver, for example. One of the most prominent areas on his website is the part with customer reviews. 

Alt-Text: Customer testimonial for a speaker.

Not just that, he has featured a combination of video and text testimonials to make them even more trustworthy. 

Now, in order to get your first few reviews, you need some initial clients. And you can get those by offering your services for free or at a low cost to local event organizers. The following tactics will help you find such opportunities:

  • Browse websites like Meetup.com to see what events and meetups are happening in your area. 
  • Join professional organizations such as your local chamber of commerce. See if there are any events where they can let you speak.
  • Host your own event and use local advertising to drive registrations. By advertising on social media platforms like Facebook, you can easily target people confined to a specific location. 

After every speaking engagement, make sure to reach out to organizers and key attendees to ask them for their thoughts. Many will be happy to give you a testimonial that you can use as social proof on your website and other marketing materials.  

Make your speaker one-sheet

As you start getting inquiries about your speaking services, you’ll notice many leads ask for something called a one-sheet, also known as a profile sheet. So you should have one ready to share with them right away.

A speaker one sheet is a PDF file that gives a reader a quick overview of your expertise and speaking experience. At the minimum, it should include the following:

  • A professional headshot
  • A concise and strong bio paragraph
  • Media mentions, awards, and certifications that you’ve had so far
  • A couple of specific keynote speech topics that you offer
  • Your recent speaking engagements
  • A link to watch your featured video
  • Some raving client reviews
  • Website and social media links 

To start creating your profile sheet, you can simply fire up MS Word or another word processing software. If you don’t want to start from scratch, there’s a free template you can use to make the process easy.  

Once you’re done, you can start sharing this speaker sheet with agencies and organizers that host professional events. 

Consider hiring a speaker PR

Marketing yourself as a speaker is a lot of work. In fact, so much that it can be someone’s full-time job. And the more time you spend on marketing, the less time you have for doing what you do best — closing deals and developing yourself as a speaker. So why not hire a person or agency to do the grunt work for you?

A speaker PR can make your life easy by handling the lower paycheck items such as travel booking, lead generation, email outreach, SEO, video marketing, and so on. There are many speaker agencies that can help you get the word out. Some examples include SpeakersOffice and CMI Speaker Management

Alt-Text: SpeakersOffice, a speaker PR agency.

However, make sure to conduct due diligence before you pay an agency or sign a contract with them. Evaluate their process, their connections, and the types of events they have got bookings from in the past.  

A great speaker’s agent is not easy to find. And if someone makes bold claims that seem too good to be true, they are probably false. So take your time and work with them closely to get some early wins. 

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Wrapping Up

The biggest shift in mindset every budding speaker needs is to think of himself as a personal brand and focus on building a business. And just like any business, it can take a couple of years or more to establish your reputation in the industry. 

So if you’re not getting any returns in the short term, don’t feel discouraged. Slowly and steadily, keep following the strategies we have discussed in this article. 

As you develop your skills and start getting your personal brand to spread, you’ll see a surge in your demand and your event bookings. With every effort you make, your dream of changing the world will be one step closer. All the best!

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