Before you spend a dime, write a word, or hire any brand,
marketing or promotion professional, answer three questions:
• What does your speech do (not what it is about)?
• How will clients find you?
• Why are you the obvious choice for the client to hire?
“A brand is what people say you are,” said Erik Hansen, Tom
Peters’ branding guy, in a speech to NSA New England. The
implication is that you have a brand even if you do no branding.
Branding involves figuring out exactly what your business is
and how you want people to think of it, before you start
making noise in the marketplace.
What Does Your Speech Do? Thom Winninger CSP,
CPAE, says, “Better to have an audience in search of a speech
than a speech in search of an audience.”
Let’s face it: There are some topics and speeches that won’t
work if you want to make money as a paid speaker. If you
can’t name several meetings that are hiring “your speech,”
beware. There’s a reason that the most successful speakers
are celebrities, motivational/inspirational speakers,
humorists, bestselling authors, or speakers who focus on
topics related to the bottom line (customer service, sales,
marketing). Is your speech saleable to many meetings?
If not, branding and promotion are useless.
So, what does your speech do? How will audiences who
hear it be changed by the experience? What will they be able
to do, be or have? Results, outcomes, benefits—call them
what you will—can you clearly articulate exactly what they
are? After you can, ask yourself, “Who must (not should) hire
my type of speech or topic?” Congratulations, you’re zeroing
in on your target audience.
How Can Clients Find You? In the past, decision makers
found a speaker by seeing them present or being on the
receiving end of a promotional effort. Without promotion,
a speaker can be like the tree falling in the forest—no one
hears or notices him or her. Not too many years ago, this
meant mass mailings and phone calls. And that still may be
exactly the right way for you to reach your target market.
But in looking at the vast number of options today, wouldn’t
it be nice if meeting planners found you on their own?
It’s a marketing dream come true—people looking for a
speaker like you can find you with the click of a mouse as a
result of search engine optimization (SEO) or pay-per-click
campaign. SEO is an ever-changing art and science that delivers your Web site as a top result when specific search terms,
such as “motivational speaker” or “speaker on long-term
care,” are typed into a search engine like Google. Beware: It’s
rare to find a webmaster who is also a competent search practitioner. Try asking other speakers what SEO provider they
use or check the results from search terms meeting planners
may use. You also can learn more about Web search opportunities at industry association meetings. Some suggestions:
The Search Engine Marketing Professional Association at
www.sempo.org or search guru Jill Whalen’s free newsletter
on the topic ( www.HighRankings.com). My favorite source
for all New Media marketing is Larry Chase's Web Digest for
Marketers ( www.wdfm.com).
By the way, search engines love blogs. That means that even
though potential clients might not subscribe to or read your
blog, it can still lead them to your site by virtue of a blog’s ability to improve your ranking on a list of search engine results.
As someone who is setting up a blog right now, let me pass
along two tips. First, host your blog on your Web site to
improve its rankings and drive more traffic. Second, to cut
your learning curve, read Secrets of Online Persuasion: Captivating the Hearts, Minds and Pocketbooks of Thousands Using
Blogs, Podcasts and Other New Media Marketing Tools by
John-Paul Micek, Deborah Micek and Dave Lakhani. The
authors’ advice is priceless.