How to Get Booked
Public speaking needs one very important thing to be successful: a public to speak to. We know you’ve got some brilliant things to share with your audiences, but we also know it’s hard sometimes to get booked, to fill your schedule with meaningful engagements.
No matter how daunting it may seem to get booked, don’t get discouraged. We’re here to help!
Allow us to share a handful of tips to help you to position yourself and your brand within the speaking arena and get some speaking engagements booked!
Find your niche
You have something special to say, so don’t sell yourself and be a generalist. Narrow your expertise as much as possible and focus on your niche audience. Research the industry, know what’s hot and what’s not. Develop a niche around your research, ensuring that your experience matches what the niche you want to serve. You are a professional expert speaker in a field, so don’t waste your time, energy, and money developing being a generic, generalist or by filling a niche need that’s been done before. You want to focus on something that fits the sweet spot between what planners are looking for and what you can be an expert in. Once you have discovered your niche, continue to practice your speaking skills and always update your material to keep up with trends and changing issues.
Develop a stunning media kit
This is often the first piece that planners will see from you. Ensure that your media kit is up to date, precise, and professionally done. Nothing will turn away a meeting planner more than an unattractive or unorganized media kit. A first glance can be lasting, and you are working in a professional environment. Don’t let your media kit end up in the trash can after all that work you put into contact. Planners and organizations get hundreds, if not thousands, of proposals and media kits every year. Wow them immediately. And don’t get too overwhelmed, especially if media kits aren’t your forte. Just reach out to us, we’re glad to help!
Create a professional demo video
Put together a professional and entertaining video that illustrates your expertise and make those planners remember you. Often, people will not use you immediately after you contact and network, and leaving a lasting image with them can be just that: lasting. Ensure that your video shows you speaking within the first minute; don’t make them wait too long to see you in action! Capture the audience and the energy of the engagement you’re speaking in; the effect is powerful. Need help with brainstorming a fantastic demo video? Click here!
Build an online presence
Develop a professional website to match your media kit, which includes information on your experience, expertise, promotional material, and testimonials. A small, about five page website will not be terribly expensive to develop and host, but it will be worth its weight in gold among your marketing and branding materials. Not only will it save you money in the marketing realm, but it is also a great communication tool among you and your clients and potential clients.
If you don’t think you can afford your own website, consider joining speaker organizations, adding your name to their online listings. Every little bit of exposure will count to bettering your chances of being found by people already trolling the Internet for speakers in your field of expertise! And of course, as always, if you need some tips on web design and building an effective website, contact us!
Work with meeting planners
You got a gig, maybe not with your ideal client, and you’re not the keenest maybe to head back there. But we say do your best to work with – not against – meeting planners. Meeting planners are a key player in booking speaking engagements, so here’s an essential, if obvious, tip. Be willing to work with them! Be willing to give a little to get a lot, so don’t be too stubborn and accidentally (or purposely) talk yourself right out of one of the most important speaking engagements of your career. Most planners are eager to work with speakers, but don’t milk their patience. You are a magnet for planners and hiring companies with your expertise and amiable nature. Be pleasant, negotiable, and professional. Give them the best performance, and you know they will continue to book and recommend you!
Introduce yourself as a contingency speaker
Get your foot in the door and introduce yourself as the professional speaker that you are. A big fear of meeting planners is a cancellation or no-show. Send out a letter or email to event planners as an initial contact and confirmation. If you take the time to write a letter and do your research on the engagement and the company, you will be a planner’s immediate friend. Here begins the business relationship, and often the hiring manager will book you in because you have approached them professionally.
Market – also known as building your network
Building your network, even among those who don’t have the power to hire you at this exact moment, is crucial. You have your niche, but you also need to stand out from the crowd of public speakers and others clamoring for planners’ attention. However, standing out can be a major challenge, and good, regular, consistent marketing is the key. Unless you have ample time and marketing expertise, consider hiring a professional marketing specialist. Find someone that will work side by side with you in developing a marketing campaign that will benefit you and your speaking career.
Interact with potential clients
They may not have the power to hire you right now, but that doesn’t mean they’re not important in your career and network! Introduce yourself to potential clients, and involve yourself in their network. Get noticed. Hand out business cards every where you go. Talk to everyone you meet. Be a devoted listener. Go to seminars within your area of expertise. Watch and pay attention. Who are the attendees, what is their reaction to the speaker on the platform? Most importantly, be very personable and agreeable with every meeting planner you meet. You are easy-going, professional, and willing to make adjustments at the last minute. And remembering you are someone with humor, an abundance of energy, flexibility, and great content, boom! When they need a speaker, you will be right in their minds.
Write a book
If you are expert in your field (which you are!), you have information to share, and you should share it! Write a book! Or if that’s too daunting, maybe write some smaller informational products. These are great marketing tools and an addition to your income. You could even outsource the writing of the materials and still have the opportunity to share your expertise.
Hopefully, some – if not all! – of these tips will help inspire you to try some new things in the public speaker’s constant search for meaningful bookings! As always, if you have any questions or comments, please contact us! We love hearing from our readers!
And, of course, the best of luck as you travel toward a more successful public speaking career!