3 Tips for Securing Speaking Engagements for Your Client
Recently, I discussed why you should be placing your clients in trade publications due to increased exposure, secured Thought Leadership and a high Total Media Value. Another way to secure these benefits is through speaking engagements – another part of our recommended PR portfolio. For many of our clients, I spend hours every month searching for and applying to speaking engagements. These speaking engagements mostly entail conferences, but also include civic clubs, business associations, local panels and a variety of other local opportunities.
How do I keep up with the seemingly near endless opportunities for each of my clients and secure the best placements possible for them? Here are three tips to help you on your path to securing speaking engagements for your clients.
- Create a Database
To keep the vast amount of speaking opportunities easily accessible, I create and maintain two Microsoft Excel sheets for each client. One Excel sheet is “evergreen.” It’s a rough estimate, based on past years of when I should expect a conference proposal to go live, when the application is usually due and when the conference usually is. This helps me stay on top of proposals year after year. The second Excel is the same list of conferences/opportunities, but for the current year. The exact dates are listed instead of just what years past have been. Constant organization is truly half the battle when it comes to securing speaking engagements.
- Subscribe to Updates
Along with staying organized, one of the most difficult parts of securing speaking conferences is staying in-the-know. One way to do this is subscribing to any mailing list available that could provide content that could even slightly benefit your client. You can always unsubscribe if you deem it unworthy later! Media outlets and professional service organizations (such as the Buckhead Business Association, for example) are frequently promoting conferences coming to town. Direct email notifications from conferences themselves will tell you when proposals are up and due, any new conferences within the organization and any conferences they recommend.
- Work Directly with Your Client
Like penning op-eds for trade publications, I highly recommend working directly with your client to fill out at least the first few conference proposals. Though you know your client and their projects like the back of your hand, they can still think of niche ideas (such as learning objectives or ways for audience participation) that you may not have thought of yet for the application. Once you gain more confidence with the application process, you’ll need their input less and less.
Keep in mind that big conferences often receive hundreds of applications for just a few speaking spots. Since I’ve gained more experience in applying for conferences, I am much more successful now than I was in the beginning. Don’t get defeated; the hard work is well worth it to place your client in a targeted medium.