Many new speakers agree that it feels like an uphill battle to get their speaking career off the ground. Can you relate? Some speakers assume that the only way to get bookings is with a big budget to market themselves or do a crazy publicity stunt, because those things will make them stand out from the competition.
Don’t be fooled into thinking that you need to spend a ton of money or do something crazy, because the truth is that you just need to show meeting planners the value you provide before the event, through your presentation, and after the event. Once you’ve built a strong reputation, it becomes much easier to get noticed and start booking speaking engagements.
At eSpeakers, we know the speaking industry… we know what works to get you noticed. Here are 5 tips that will help you look like a big fish, even if you are just getting started as a speaker.
1.Run Your Office Like a PRO
When a meeting planner reaches out, you need to show them that you take your job seriously. By paying attention to the details in communication and interactions, you can give the perception that you are a seasoned, professional speaker.
It’s a myth that you need a large team of employees or staff members to make you look professional. At eSpeakers, we provide the tools that you can use to look like a pro without spending a ton of cash on payroll. The eSpeakers Professional service features give you two main tools that can be used to run your business like an experienced speaker:
- Online Calendar: This calendar is designed with speakers in mind, and it is much more than a way to track dates. The calendar allows you to track leads, holds and confirmed events, organize to-do items, and provide real-time availability to meeting planners who are interested in hiring you. Everything is cloud-based, and it is multi-user friendly if you need other people to access your calendar.
- Office On the Go: The eSpeakers IOS and Android app allows you to keep your information at your fingertips, so that you can quickly respond if you hear from a potential client. Staying mobile is a big benefit, allowing you to tap into your live event calendar, view travel details, and access important information about each event.
2. Do a Brand Assessment
When a meeting planner views your online speaker profile, what do they see? You need to make sure that you are sending the right message with your brand, to communicate information that connects with what they are looking for.
Put together a solid marketing plan, and make sure that you create a good online presence. Small things can make a difference, such as the quality of your bio and the outline of your presentations. Make the effort to have professional photos taken, so that you have a good headshot to post on your profile.
Before a meeting planner makes the decision to hire you, it is likely they will do an online search for your name to see what they can find. This online search might impact their decision to contact you, which means that a strong online presence can make-or-break your speaking career.
Invest in a strong online presence and it will reinforce your brand. This effort will create the impression of experience, and the meeting planners have no way of knowing that you wear all of the hats in your office. Here are a few things that are absolutely essential in your speaker profile and online presence:
- Video: To show your stage presence and a sample of your style and personality during your presentations.
- Testimonials: Recommendations from past clients can be a powerful way to help potential clients see the value you will provide.
- Online Calendar: Allowing potential clients to instantly see your availability. Make sure to keep your calendar up-to-date at all times
- Program Details: Including all titles and descriptions of the topics that are available. Make sure to list audience benefits and take-aways.
- Fees: How much do you charge for each speaking session? List other details as well, such as travel fees or additional fees that might be required.
- Topics of Expertise: Choose the topics you’re an expert on. That may be just one topic or it may be six depending on your background and experience.
- Social Media Presence: A speaker profile isn’t enough, you need to make sure that you have a presence on social media sites. Consider popular sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Google +, LinkedIn, YouTube, and more.
- Marketing Resources: Provide easy marketing resources, including one-sheets, articles, books, photos, etc.
By branding yourself as an expert in a specific area, you will increase the likelihood that certain meeting planners will be interested in hiring you. Focus your marketing efforts and keep your messages aligned to avoid confusion about your topic or focus.
One novice mistake is to spread yourself too thin, trying to offer speaking services in a variety of unrelated industries. Instead of spreading yourself too thin with your topics, it is better to show that you are an expert in a specific area. By establishing the expertise, you will be able to increase your fees.
Your eSpeakers profile makes it easy for you to be found on the biggest network of speaker directories on the web. These directories are where event organizers and meeting professionals are looking to find and hire speakers. By identifying yourself as an expert in a specific topic, you increase the likelihood that they will find your profile and reach out to you.
3. Update Keynote and Session Breakout Topics
Polish your bio and topics of expertise for your presentations to make sure that you are setting the right impression when someone is browsing through the presentations that are available. One of the biggest mistakes that you can make is to mimic someone else, because it will come across as fake. Be unique, and be you! Create compelling content that matches your personal style and attitude, and it will naturally draw in the meeting planners who are a good match for what you are looking for.
When you are updating your topics/expertise, these are a few things to consider:
- Applicable Topics: Are the listed program topics applicable to what meeting planners are looking for in the industry? Consider some of the hot topics, and provide presentations that match up with some of the current trends.
- Program Descriptions: Nobody wants to read boring program descriptions, because they will automatically assume that your presentation will be boring as well! If needed, hire a copywriter to help you create engaging, creative program topics to capture the attention of the reader.
- Do Your Research: What are other speakers doing in the industry? Look at their profiles to see the topics they offer and how they have their bio structured.
- Focus on Benefits: Your presentations should be focused on the benefits that the audience will learn from you. What will their takeaways be? How will they implement the information in their life? Marketing and promotion should always be focused on these benefits, because the benefits will hook the buyer and catch their interest.
- Be An Expert: Provide expert insight. An expert who speaks has real-life experience in relation to their topic. Because of this insider knowledge, you can confidently say, “I’ve done this and I’ll show you how to do it.”
4. Get Exposure in the Industry
It is necessary to increase your exposure in the industry, and many times that means that you will be working hard in the beginning to make the right connections. Get stage time whenever it is available, even if it means that you are volunteering your time. Look for speaking opportunities, and reach out to organizations that might be interested in your message.
By finding local opportunities to master your skills, you will be able to develop presentations that allow you to become a paid speaker. Additionally, the stage time gives you a platform that you can use to get video footage to post on your online profile page and on social media.
More exposure means that you will have more opportunity for networking in the industry. I once heard a story that is the perfect example of the power of networking: a man approached a priest and asked if the priest could see where he would be in five years. The priest responded in a thought-provoking way: “Tell me what books you’re reading and who you surround yourself with, and then I can tell you where you’ll be in 5 years.”
When you are networking, make sure that you are surrounding yourself with the people that you want to emulate. Build your network, and more speaking opportunities will naturally come your way.
5. Maximize Your Productivity
There is no reason for you to do the same things over and over again. Put together systems to maximize your productivity and minimize effort. Here are a few methods that you can use:
- Gather Information: Put together a collection of information that might be beneficial when preparing presentations, such as stories and anecdotes that you might use.
- Stay Organized: Use tools such as eSpeakers, to stay organized with your calendar and events, and instantly show your availability to potential clients.
- Automate: Repetitive tasks are boring and they waste your time. Use eSpeakers to automate many of those boring tasks so that you can free up your time to work on your speaking skills instead.
- Action Lists: Make sure to have an Action List on hand to keep yourself organized and tasks from slipping through the cracks. You can access a great Action List tool through eSpeakers, it keeps you updated on the status of your to-do items that are needed before, during, and after your speaking events. With eSpeakers, you can create a master Action List once, and then the system will automatically create new tasks for every event that is added to your calendar.
- Business Reporting: The best way to grow your speaking business is by tracking trends and progress. Use the eSpeakers reporting tools to see a transparent view of your business trends and data. Generate reports that analyze lead sources, hold aging, income, product sales, bookings vs. holds and more. eSpeakers even generates the National Speakers Association’s CSP application for you!
At eSpeakers, our goal is to help you quickly and effectively build your speaking career. We’ve partnered with organizations like the National Speakers Association, Meeting Professionals International, and Washington Speakers Bureau (along with many others) to give you maximum exposure to buyers looking for speakers to hire.
If you need help to build your speaking career, we are here to offer support every step of the way. With our tools and services, you can easily look like a big fish, even if you are just getting started. Contact us anytime if you have questions about building your speaking career.