The one thing I see time and time again is that a speaker wants immediate access to speaking engagements so they can fill their speaking schedule Understandably, they want to fill their schedule, but no speaker has just started out and filled their schedule immediately. It just doesn’t happen that way.
There are many ways to find speaking leads, but your MAIN goal is to have them come to you. This begins to happen once you have made yourself so desirable in your specific buying market that you become the Speaker of Choice in this market. This will eliminate some of your marketing efforts and allow you more time to focus on growing your business. Please remember, marketing will always need to be a component of your time spent on a consistent basis to keep yourself in the front of planners’ minds.
The worst thing you can do is start with a topic that you may be knowledgeable on and spend hundreds of hours, money and energy into creating your marketing material and building a platform only to find out it is not a marketable topic. Remember everything is going to revolve around the topic you choose. The hiring party is not hiring you but your topic, your message, the content and the end impact it will have on their audience. It is important to remember to do your homework first and research your topic. See if your market is buying this topic. Talk to other speakers. Visit associations’ websites that are relevant to your topic and look at their previous events…who were their speakers? What topics were presented at these events? If you take the time to research your topic and your market before you jump in, you are going to save a lot of time, money, energy and frustration. A little homework in the beginning saves a lot of heartache in the end.
Finding speaking leads: You can check with rotary or lions clubs, chambers of commerce, professional groups in your area, associations and even your local churches or clubs.
If you are a fit, contact colleges and local schools, they have the money to pay you a speaking fee.
Be active on all social media platforms as this is important today and will land you some booked jobs that may be returning jobs in the future. Do not overlook social media, its huge! It’s also (mostly) FREE!
Network with your local TV and Radio outlets and develop a “broadcast persona” in your area of expertise. Develop relationships with producers and reporters to be a “go to” expert. This makes their lives so much easier because they are always pressed for fresh story ideas. You can even develop your own podcast, internet-based radio or “TV” segments and shows that build a viral following there.
Contact organizations and do a ‘lunch and speak’ where you come in and speak to their employees over lunch break. You can contact annex learning centers, associations, colleges, women’s and men’s groups, breakfast meetings, banks, hospitals, and much more. You can also check out the speaking leads Charli Jane provides for their members in the Speaking Club, which consists of approximately 20-30 new leads per month for the member to view and submit proposals online with the hiring party.
In the beginning, speak wherever and whenever you can for FREE, if reasonable and is in your area. Planners love free Speakers and will do whatever they can to help you maximize your return on your investment of your time and expertise for their groups. It helps in some important aspects of your career development: It continues to give you exposure; helps to perfect your speech; helps you gain credibility in your area of expertise; it will also allow for you to sell your BOR (back of the room) products which sometimes can be more profitable then had you received an actual fee for speaking. Remember to leverage these opportunities to promote your coaching/mentoring programs and to grow your mailing list. Your list will become one of your most valuable assets for the marketing of other services, products and programs or appearances.
If you are an author, get out there! Either you or your agent if you have one can contact local, regional and national bookstores, and set up a book signing or reading. This gets you out there and known and can open many doors of opportunity. It gives you a chance to give away something free to get people back to your website and add to your mailing list to continue to market yourself and your programs.
The trick is getting yourself known in your buying market only. Avoid the temptation to generalize yourself and try to be everything to everyone because you will find yourself disappointed, exhausted and broke in a very short amount of time.
There really isn’t a BIG secret to this. A little love, sweat and hard work will get you far in the speaking industry. The secret really is: Don’t give up, be persistent, dedicated and true in trying to grow your speaking business 100%. Do your homework, be diligent in your follow up and never give up. Most of all have patience, good things come in time but you have to work for it. Many successes are right around the corner. Take heart, take your next steps, and take that corner with confidence.