Is This Thing On? How to Earn a Speaking Engagement in 2019 & Beyond

Is This Thing On? How to Earn a Speaking Engagement in 2019 & Beyond

A few years back, we published “How to Score an Earned Speaking Engagement.” And while that post still rings true, the PR landscape continues to evolve at a time when many newsrooms are shrinking. As a result, earned speaking engagements are more valuable than ever before – and in higher demand. But before jumping at every bright shiny object that comes along, considerations need to be made. Here are three ways to improve outcomes and reach new audiences:

  • Do your research – With thousands of events taking place in a given space, the research and planning stage is critical – and ongoing. Opportunities will pop up throughout the year, but before you leap at every call for proposal (a.k.a. CFP), you need to ask – what am I using this platform for? Speaking sessions come in all shapes and sizes, from five minute Ignite-style presentations to lengthy workshops. You need to identify events that suit your subject matter experts’ (or SME) speaking style, capabilities and calendar and align with business objectives.

  • Know your audience – Likewise, as part of the vetting process, you need to learn as much as you can about who will attend. This will help tailor your proposal and increase your chances of resonating with conference organizers and their target market. They expect you to put your best foot forward – and doing so requires being realistic about who you’re speaking to and why. Because let’s face it, you’re unlikely to be selected pitching a topic geared towards enterprise organizations at a conference for SMBs and vice versa.

  • Show up – Barring circumstances outside your control; if an idea makes it through selection, the proposed speaker needs to show up and deliver the topic as submitted. If that becomes absolutely impossible, contact the organizer as soon as possible – even the most minor changes impact signage, promotional materials, logistics and more. Event planners have long memories and blowing off their conference (or pulling a bait and switch) will not curry favor in the future. On stage, as in life, you are only as good as your reputation.

Standing up a successful speaker bureau program requires more than meets the eye. Beyond putting together a killer proposal with all the boxes checked and submitted on time, you need to account for the usefulness to your organization as well as demands on your team. It’s a long game, but one that done right pays off under the bright lights.

Image via @lloydaleveque.

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