From Aristotle to Zuckerberg, thousands of speakers for thousands of years have used speaking engagements as a key marketing tool to inform, persuade or entertain their audiences.
But in this 24/7/365 nonstop digital world, does this time-honored tradition still hold its marketing chops? Let me count the ways.
1. Positioning – Speaking engagements position you (and your firm) as thought leaders with a ringing endorsement from the organization that chose you to speak. Considering you are speaking to clients, potential clients and industry peers, you are top of mind with that audience, making it easier to present new ideas, as well as to connect with others following your presentation.
2. Lead Generation – If you don’t make it the goal of your presentation, lead gen is a great benefit of speaking engagements. By being educational and sharing antidotes about solving clients’ problems, your audience can see themselves coming to you for the same help.
3. Referrals – Positioned as a thought leader, it’s easier to get referrals as you become the go-to expert within the market you are working.
4. Public Relations – Speaking creates incredible public relations opportunities. First, it allows you to build trust and rapport with your target audience. Engage them and build relationships with them. Even if people don’t attend your presentation, they see your name in promotions for the event, on signage or websites, including your own. You can also promote yourself as an industry expert to your database, industry pubs and the media.
5. Partnerships – In addition to meeting current and potential clients, strategic partners in the form of other speakers, sponsors, exhibitors and organizers can be valuable partners post event.
6. Content – The effort you put in to craft your presentation can be repurposed on a variety of channels. Multiple blog posts, emails, social media posts, articles, white papers and webinars are some ways to give your presentation a longer shelf life.
After thousands of years, speaking engagements remain a leading tactic for thought leaders to demonstrate their unique knowledge and expertise. Speaking and participating at events also provides promotional opportunities that could translate into increased sales, potential partnerships and greater media exposure.
From the website FamousinYourField.com in an article about how to find speaking opportunities: “The sure-fire way to accelerate your reputation as an expert and boost your business box office is to speak.” So get to it. Here’s how (and where):
- Local service clubs
- Colleges and universities
- Business networking groups
- Special interest clubs
- Local business publications
- Your clients
- Other professionals who speak
- Industry events
- Industry publications
- Facebook events
- Online conference directories
- Online tools
- Speaker directories
- Trade associations
(To learn more about VI's public relations services, click here.)