All new entrepreneurs share a similar journey. They’ve spent months and even years planning their business and developing their products. Time and money went into building a website and hiring the right on-site staff. The day finally arrives when they can cut the ribbon and finally OPEN for business.
Well, what happens if they open for business but neglected to do any kind of pre-grand opening marketing? No one shows up to buy the business owner’s products.
Public speaking is not so different. A public speaker may work hard for months to brainstorm the perfect topic, then spend more time and energy to develop that topic so that he or she is sharing not only their expertise but also their passion. They may even create an awesome website and print fancy-looking business cards.
But, like any other entrepreneur, unless a public speaker does some necessary marketing, no one will know they are selling something, namely their expertise. After a few months of no paid gigs, a speaker may feel rejected and frustrated, and even want to give up before their career even got going.
If you are a public speaker who’s just starting out, it’s important that you market yourself so event organizers and meeting planners can hire you. If you don’t market yourself in the beginning of your career, your career will never get off the ground. If you’ll excuse the phrase, you’ll have to be the wind beneath your own wings in order to get your public speaking career to soar. Once you’ve become more established, landing gigs gets easier.
Here are some ways you can begin to market yourself as a public speaker:
1. Be an Expert on Your Topic
A young public speaker should think like a young doctor: young doctors who become general practitioners, that is, they don’t specialize in anything, do not get paid as much as specialists like an orthopedic surgeon or OBGYN.
You will also want to market yourself as an expert on your topic. Of course, you’ll need to actually be an expert on your topic. But when you are, then you become top-of-mind and the go-to person in your industry.
So do not only develop your speech around a specific topic, but let the world know that YOU are the expert on that particular subject matter.
2. Guest Blog
People read blogs for one reason, and that is to gain knowledge or insight around a specific topic. This is a great opportunity to get your expertise in front of a crowd that is looking for the information you possess.
If you don’t have your own blog, then reach out to other blog owners in your industry who have a sizeable readership and pitch a topic that you’d like to write about. Most blog owners are also business owners and are more than happy to have guest writers help them fill their content needs while they get other important work done.
Just be sure to inquire about the writing guidelines. For instance, some blog publishers may require a certain length of blog post, others may want a specific format to be followed and images included.
3. Write an Ebook
Many authors use public speaking to help them market their books, but it can happen the other way around as well. A public speaker who writes a book or an ebook on their topic will put their expertise in front of an audience looking for specific information. And, by writing an entire book or ebook around your topic, you continue to set yourself up as an authority.
Another benefit of writing a book or ebook is that you can then repurpose this content for guest blogging. Hint/hint.
4. Social Media
Writing blog posts and ebooks is a great first step to marketing yourself as a public speaker, but how do you get that content to go viral and catch on with the masses? Social media of course!
Numerous marketing studies have shown that billions of people around the world log on to one or more social media platform each day, and that number continues to grow.
No one can take certain action steps on social media and be guaranteed to get content to go viral. Sometimes magic just strikes. But what you can focus on is writing content that is actually useful to people and provides real, genuine value. If you are creative and make your content funny or unique in some way, that’s all the better.
Share your content with as many people as you can. Reach out to influencers in your industry who may also be interested in sharing your content. As long as you create content from your heart and mind, it has a great chance of reaching many people.
5. Good Ol’ Word of Mouth
Let’s close with an oldie but a goodie marketing tactic. Everyone has gotten so obsessed with technology that we sometime forget simple is best. When you think about it, word of mouth marketing was the very original social media marketing.
So how does this work, exactly? Well, you’d want to put yourself into the right environment as much as possible by going to industry events. Network with people, talk about your expertise with passion and authority. Without question, you will run into people who remember you and get in touch with you down the road to ask you to speak at an event.
Always have a business card on you to hand out to people, because you never know when you’ll strike up a conversation with someone who may want to hire you or who knows someone who is organizing an event.
Marketing is incredibly necessary when you’re just starting out as a public speaker. If you follow these five tips, you should be able to get a steady stream of gigs that establish you as an expert. After that, the sky’s the limit.