O.k., so you have presented at some conferences and events in your industry, and you’ve discovered how effective your live presence is to your potential clients and customers. You need to expand your network of speaking gigs.
Remember, you only want to speak at events and conferences that will put your targeted decision maker in the room where you are speaking.
- List of all the conferences special to your industry.
- List the events and conferences at which your competitors present (search your competitors’ websites).
- Select the ones that put that targeted decision maker in the audience.
- Refine your selection to prefer events that allow you a solo presentation. Panel participation is fine, but often is not as effective due to the limited time to show your expertise, bad moderators, and other conditions beyond your control. Another high priority includes events that allow either solo or panel presentation, but add on a breakout session or workshop as well.
- Explore each event or conference website to determine if it attracts your target market in its audience. There will be a list titled “Who should attend.”
- Contact the conference (use an email address not associated with you or your company) to send you the promo package for sponsors or exhibitors. This should give you a much more detailed demographic and psychographic description of the attendees, by percentage (10% CxO, 25% VP, etc.) of rank.
- If the conference or the Call for Speakers lists its agenda of panels or speaking sessions, select the one or two that fit your expertise.
- Draft an introductory email (or fill in a Call for Speakers form) pitching the topic(s) you can offer for those items on the agenda. If there is space allowed, drop the names of at least two major conferences where you have presented this topic (or something similar) previously.
- If the Call for Speakers is open-ended, and no agenda is offered, then study the audience and mission statement of the conference and pitch a series of topics that they might be interested in considering.
- When offering to present, offer a list of two or three topics that might fit.
- Attach the Speaking page of your website as a PDF attachment.
- In your email, add a link to your speaking page and a link to the home page of your website.
- Your speaking testimonials should be included, usually on the Speaking page of your site. If they are on a separate page of your website, add a link to that page as well.
- Of course, if you know someone inside the organization that is hosting the conference, connect with that person to get any inside information you might use, or ask him/her to get your pitch letter to the best decision maker inside.
If you follow these tactics, you can create a loyal following of organizations offering you exposure to your prospective audience. Check out also Part 2: Pitching without Pitching (will be posted in a few days this week).