Our B-to-B clients know that an aggressive media relations campaign is only part of an effective PR campaign. A rock solid speaking program is another effective tool to establish your organization as thought leader. Our clients have had quite a bit of success with speaking programs, with speaking proposals accepted at events such as SNW, Interop, and RSA (not to mention our very own Julie Perry who recently spoke at Blog World).
Here are a few tips to lock down that top billing:
- Research, Research, Research! This goes beyond researching potential events. Research the audience that will be attending the show, how the show prefers to receive speaking proposals, and what the show is looking for from potential speakers. Shows change can change their preferences from year-to-year. Make sure that you know all of this information BEFORE you submit your speaking proposal.
- Get to know the speaking coordinator. Speaking coordinators are influencers within their industry. They have a lot of say as to what topics are discussed at industry trade shows and have their finger on the pulse of emerging industry trends. Make sure that you’re meeting with these organizers once or twice a year to offer company updates and discuss industry trends. If these contacts are familiar with your company and roster of speakers, it’s easier for them to place your speaking submission in the track that is the best fit for you. In addition, if there are any cancelations on a panel that they have put together, they’ll know if you would be an appropriate replacement.
- Be prepared to take a backseat. Most of the best speaking proposals don’t feature vendors front and center (again, do your research). Because you can’t submit blatant product or company advertisements, you need to be prepared to take a back seat. Consider turning to customers or researchers to tell your story. While you may not even have a company representative on a particular panel, you can still bring awareness to a pain point within the industry or even how you helped a customer achieve success!
- Don’t forget social media! By using social media tools effectively, you can give your talk or panel life beyond your audience. Was your panel full of fireworks? Did you nail your talk? Make sure you upload your video to YouTube! It will give the presentation legs beyond the event and you can use video as an example for future submissions. Did you have a killer PowerPoint presentation for your talk? Make sure you upload it to SlideShare. Make sure you know the proper Twitter hashtag for your event and that you’re making succinct, catchy points that can be tweeted by attendees. Finally, don’t forget to let your connections know that you’re speaking. Spread the word via appropriate social networks (i.e. Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter).
This is just the tip of the iceberg when putting together a speaking program. What are your top tips for an effective speaking program? Share it with us below!
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