How do you effectively market yourself? The Speaker Lab just created a new resource highlighting 22 ways you can get booked and paid to speak by marketing yourself. These 22 tactics are all about how to establish your expertise and online presence.
Today I’m going to show you 22 ways to market yourself so you can get booked and paid to speak.
Then read on to see which marketing ideas you want to focus on to find and book more paid speaking gigs.
- Be active on social media
- Start a YouTube Channel
- Launch a podcast
- Be a guest on other podcasts
- Upgrade your demo video
- Get testimonials for your website / social media
- Create written content for your website / social media
- Attend conferences and gatherings
- Consistently interact with leaders in your space
- Be a positive contributor in groups (online/offline)
- Trim the fat on your branding / messaging
- Create an online course
- Capitalize on natural moments in the calendar connected to what you do
- Create mini events / series / projects to build hype (21 days of xxx)
- Utilize email marketing
- Be okay giving away your best stuff
- Create more connection points by getting personal and trivial
- Lean into being yourself (passions, strengths, dislikes)
- Be a cheerleader for others
- Be vulnerable (share losses as much as wins)
- Build a great team around you (and utilize them!)
- Be consistent
1 – Be Active on Social Media
We know, we know, you probably already are on social media right? Chances are that’s the case, but we might as well start with the low-hanging fruit.
From 2005 to 2010, websites and blogs ruled the day as readers and followers would come to you for your thoughts and ideas. But over the last decade social media shifted the paradigm to the point where your fans now expect you to come to them.
Where do those interactions happen? On social media, of course.
Keeping an active social media presence can be a full-time job in and of itself (and in some cases, it is), so have a plan going into it. Know which platforms you want to focus on, and utilize them to consistently get your message out there.
Aim for quality over quantity in terms of which platforms you use. It’s better to be amazing at one social media platform and absent on the rest of them versus being mediocre at three or four of them.
If you’re having trouble knowing which one(s) to focus on, ask yourself which one you have more energy for. If you find Facebook to be a drag, but you love Instagram, stick with the one you’re passionate about.
At the end of the day, a poorly run social media account will do more damage than good, so don’t just create accounts as placeholders that quickly get abandoned. Find your strengths, focus on them, and social media will be an amazing way to get your brand and your message out there.
2 – Start a YouTube Channel
Do you hate being on video and dread the idea of having a YouTube channel? If so, you might want to skip this section. It’s hard to watch videos of someone who is uncomfortable and awkward on camera, so if you don’t want to do it, don’t.
Now, if you’re not great at it but you want to get better, then by all means give it a shot. You don’t have to publicize your channel at all, just keep posting videos and keep learning from your mistakes. If you start to see a huge improvement thirty videos in, you can always remove the old ones and reshoot them.
YouTube is an amazing place to share your message and grow your customer base, and the barrier to entry is very low. If you’re just getting started, don’t worry about expensive camera and lighting rigs. Just hit the record button on your phone and start sharing your brilliant ideas with the world.
YouTube is a great place to host content from your live talks, including your demo reel. Outside of Google, it’s the world’s most-used search engine, so it’s a great place to be discovered.
3 – Launch a Podcast
Love the idea of getting your message to the masses but hate being on camera? A podcast may be a great vehicle for you.
Podcasts are relatively easy to start and launch, as there are a bunch of great tutorials online on how to get them going. At the Speaker Lab we use Libsyn to host our podcast, and you can find many companies who offer similar packages to store and distribute your files.
Keep in mind that another benefit from hosting a podcast is the networking you can do. Invite people you’d like to meet to be a guest on your podcast and you’ve got a better chance of them accepting then you might if you had asked them for a cup of coffee.
Remember, there’s no “right way” to do a podcast. Your episode can be two hours long or twelve minutes long. You can have conversations with guests or go monologue style. You can post your audio without much editing or go for slick production values. Make choices that work for you and dive in. You’ll get better as you go, and your world will open up with each new episode you drop.
4 – Be a guest on other podcasts
Most podcasts with a “host talks with a guest” format are dying to find new guests to talk to, and lucky for them, you’d love to come on and add value for their audience.
Research podcasts in a handful of different fields directly and indirectly related to your message and send them a quick note, but not before listening to at least one of their episodes to get a flavor for the show. Let them know why you might be a good fit and why you’d love the chance to share. Be polite and humble, and thank them even if you get a “no.”
When you get a “yes,” look for ways to maximize your appearance. Set up a custom URL on your website to give away something of value for their listeners. Ask for permission to partner on a giveaway where you can collect email addresses or build buzz.
Knock it out of the park on your appearance, and when it goes well, follow up a few weeks later letting them know you’d love to do it again.
5 – Upgrade your demo video
A great demo video consists of four parts:
- Hook me – captivate your audience from the start.
- Show me – show yourself speaking in front of an audience.
- Prove me – use testimonials to prove your effectiveness.
- Close me – close the sale and give a clear call to action.
If your demo video hits all those checkpoints, well done! If not, consider upgrading it to use that format.
For those of you who don’t have a demo video yet, consider putting together a plan to get one done in the next month or two. Hire an editor to create one from the footage you have, or learn how to do it on iMovie yourself.
If you don’t have footage, and you don’t have any events coming up where you can get footage, you can still put together a demo video! Here’s an example of a demo video that speaker Bryan Allain put together before he booked any gigs. He borrowed a room, used his iPhone to record from two different angles, and edited the footage on iMovie.
Remember, it doesn’t have to be perfect. A C+ demo video is better than no demo video at all.
6 – Get testimonials for your website / social media
Few things make a more lasting impression on others than the social proof of testimonials. When you really think about it, almost everything is marketed with some form of testimonials:
- Books have back cover blurbs
- Amazon pages have reviews
- Infomercials have “real customers” talking about their products
- Movie commercials feature critic’s scores
- And on and on…
There’s no reason why you shouldn’t have testimonials for your speaking business as well, even if you’re just getting started.
For those of you who have done multiple gigs, reach out to the event planner that booked you to see if they will give you a quote. While you don’t want to write it for them, feel free to offer to help them craft it or grab it from them over the phone if they seem like they want to help, but are reluctant to committing to writing it out.
If you have some gigs coming on the horizon, make a formal or informal request for a testimonial before the event happens. Something like, “If the event goes well, would you be okay with me following up for a short 2-3 sentence testimonial?” Few event planners will deny that request.
What if you don’t have event planners to ask because of limited experience? Here are a few other ways to get testimonials:
- Reach out to other speakers who are familiar with your presentation and ask for a blurb.
- Connect with other experts in your field and see if they will give you a testimonial that speaks to your level of expertise.
- Look to respected mentors, community leaders, and others who can speak to your character, work ethic, and passion.
7 – Create written content for your website / social media
Between emails and text, humans are writing more than ever before. If writing is something you’re good at, and you’re looking for a way to market yourself and stand out above the crowd, consider creating consistently good written content.
Some social media platforms limit the amount of characters you can share at one time, but you can still tailor your writing for whatever channel you are using. Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all fantastic places to share your ideas through your writing. Threaded tweets on Twitter can be used to share longer ideas as well.
Blogs aren’t as popular as they once were, but many speakers still use them effectively to deliver value to market their ideas. Email marketing is another way to create and deliver written content that is gaining popularity again thanks to platforms like Substack and Medium.
If you hate writing or it’s not a strength for you, there’s no reason to torture yourself. Look for other ways to share your ideas. But if you enjoy writing, take advantage of it to get yourself out there!
8 – Attend conferences and gatherings
Prior to 2020 this was one of the best pieces of advice you could receive, because in-person conferences were a fantastic way to expand your network and make lasting impressions.
Tim Ferriss, best-selling author and podcaster, used conferences and tradeshows to build momentum for his first book, The 4-Hour Workweek, which became a #1 NYT Bestseller. He says that “Tradeshows can be — even for a solo entrepreneur — the best single use of time in a given year.”
While most social gatherings have been put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they are likely to become prevalent again, and when they do, you should strongly consider them as a part of your marketing plan.
Make connections, exchange business cards, attend workshops and keynotes, network during happy hour, and do just as much (if not more) listening than you do talking. Use social media to make connections before the event that you can follow up with on site, and always follow up after the event to keep the conversation going.
Connections you make at conferences may not lead to big things in the short term, but the seeds planted in new relationships will lead you to opportunities down the road, some of which you’ll never see coming.
9 – Consistently interact with leaders in your space
“It’s about who you know, not what you know.” That’s what we’ve been told time and again, and for good reason. There is a lot of truth to it.
But what if you don’t know many leaders in your space? Look for ways to make small, consistent connections with them. Send them encouraging DMs asking nothing in return. Share their content on social media. Leave positive comments to their posts.
The idea is that over time they’ll get used to seeing your name come up and will be used to associating it with a positive experience. Will it ever lead to an amazing opportunity? It might. But even if it doesn’t, you’ll also be catching the eye of the others who follow the leaders as well. And as you do the work to slowly become a leader yourself, those small, positive interactions could add up to something significant.
10 – Be a positive contributor in groups (online/offline)
Pop quiz: If I ask you to think of a few of the most positive people in your life, how long would it take for you to think of a few names? Probably not long, right?
Positive people leave lasting responses on us, because we love how they make us feel.
You can stand out from the crowd by being that positive person in the spaces in which you want to market yourself. Whether it’s on social media, in real life, or via email, look for ways to encourage and inspire others with positivity. If you’re in a Facebook Group, don’t be the person who’s always raining on everyone’s parade, be the person who is the first to celebrate others’ wins.
At the end of the day, people want to work with people they like. Be intentionally positive in your interactions in personal and group settings, and watch how it changes the way you feel and the way people feel about you.
11 – Get more focused with your messaging and audiences
Getting hyper-focused with your message and intended audience can be a scary proposition. Why narrow down the list of topics you can speak on and the list of people who you can speak to?
The answer is because the more focused you can get, the greater your chances of connecting with someone who is looking for the exact thing you’re doing.
If you tell me that what you do as a speaker is “Speak to women about being more efficient,” you’ve cast such a broad net that it’s likely not going to catch anyone.
How can you narrow that down? What about if you focused on women in corporate jobs? Or moms? Or Single moms? Or business women in their 30s? By narrowing the focus, you’ll exclude some, but you’ll have a tighter target to focus on.
The same can be done for your message as well. Are you helping women to be more efficient in their jobs? At home? With their calendars? With their to-do lists? If you can focus on a smaller target, you’ll find deeper connections.
To finish this example, think of these possible combinations you could focus on…
- I help single moms make smarter to-do lists that they crush every day.
- I help working moms take control of their calendar to take control of their lives.
- I help women in the arts with the business of their art.
The goal as a speaker is that you want someone to hear about your message and say, “That is EXACTLY what I’ve been looking for!” When you have a broad message like, “I inspire and motivate entrepreneurs,” chances are that no one is going to have that type of passionate reaction.
Get more focused, narrow down your message, and watch your marketing efforts resonate like never before.
12 – Create an online course
Online courses have grown in popularity over the last five years, but by no means is the market saturated to the point where this isn’t an option for you. If you have valuable content that will teach, inspire, or improve someone else’s life or business, an online course is a great option.
Online courses can take many forms, but the most popular are video courses. Strong production value can increase the price folks are willing to pay, but by no means is a requirement. In a post Covid-19 world where zoom meetings became ubiquitous, people have come to accept mediocre video quality as acceptable. That being said, should you have the means to record something that looks like high-end in terms of lights, video, and production quality, you absolutely should.
There are hundreds of platforms out there that you can use to host, distribute, and sell your online course. At The Speaker Lab we like Thinkific, but we’ve also seen people have success with Udemy, Zippy Courses, Kajabi, and Teachable.
If you have a solid following on social media or a decent-sized email list, you may be able to monetize those lists by offering the course to them. If your list of potential customers is on the smaller side, consider offering a first look discount on the course to a limited number of people. These people can prepay and help fund creation of the course in exchange for the lowest price anyone will pay.
13 – Capitalize on natural moments in the calendar connected to what you do
The two best apps on your phone to go to to figure out the natural moments in the calendar that you can take advantage of are your calendar app and your photos app.
First scroll through every month on your calendar and take note of the holidays and seasons you love the most. Do any of those line up with your content and ideas? If you speak about organization, build some momentum around back to school time. If you speak about productivity and goals, use the momentum of the new year to catapult some of your best content. Figure out when your ideas will have the most impact, and plan to launch them at the best time.
You’ll catch most of those natural moments of the year with your calendar app, but a quick scroll through your photos app might give you a few ideas as well. It will remind you of the trips you took and events you attended, and might give you some ideas for you to market your content and ideas in a natural way.
14 – Create mini events / series / projects to build hype
People LOVE little projects, so take advantage of this by creating a series of videos, written content, or social media posts that hook people in.
You can dedicate a whole month to something:
- 31 Days to being a consistent journaler
- Speaking September: 30 ideas to make you better on stage
- Financial Freedom February: 28 days to a better budget
You can pick a day of the week to market your ideas:
- Weight Loss Wednesdays
- Five Minute Life Hack Fridays
- Monday’s Momentum Thought of the Week
Think small and focused, and create something that will highlight you and your message in a bite-sized, serialized way.
15 – Utilize email marketing
Email may be one of the oldest forms of marketing on the internet, but it’s still probably the best. Why? Because email addresses are platform-independent.
If Facebook or Instagram were to shut down tomorrow, all of those friends and follower counts would instantly be useless (just ask the folks were were influencers on Vine before it was shuttered in 2017).
Email, on the other hand, isn’t going anywhere. And while you will have to compete with the “noise” in everyone’s inbox, getting permission to send someone an email is a great way to deliver value and build a connection with contacts.
You’ve probably heard of many of the big email Management Platforms: MailChimp, ConvertKit, Constant Contact, and Drip. Do your homework to compare pricing and features, and go with the one that looks best for your needs. If you’re having trouble choosing between two or three, ask a trusted friend who uses one, as they may be able to give you a recommendation as well as best practices for getting the most out of it.
As for your email strategy, deliver value through your emails whenever you can. Use your own voice as if you’re writing to a friend. You want people to see your name in their inbox and be excited to open the email, not annoyed before they even read it.
Grow your email list by offering your best content (see the next point), and be consistent with it.
16 – Be okay giving away your best stuff
Giving away valuable information for free is never easy to do, but never forget that money isn’t the only resource that can be exchanged.
Giving away great information in the form of a PDF in exchange for an email address, for example, can turn an interested follower into a potential customer down the road. Hosting free Facebook Live webinars may not make you any money directly, but they can increase your network and raise awareness of who you are and what you do.
You don’t want to give EVERYTHING away, of course, but you need to show people that you are capable of providing value.
Here’s what legendary entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuck, has to say about giving away your best stuff for free:
“Giving away my best content for free has been my gateway drug to so many amazing opportunities…So many people have a wealth of ideas that they can pull from and just aren’t doing it.”
Keep giving away some of your best stuff, and keep creating even better stuff, and watch your influence grow.
17 – Create more connection points by getting personal and trivial
Every brand / entrepreneur / artist has to draw the line on what they will and won’t share personally, and as a speaker, you’ll have to do the same thing.
For those of you who lean toward sharing as few things as possible, consider getting a little more personal to create more connection points with your audience.
Now, there are a few ways you can get more personal, and honestly, sharing details about your family and your past experiences aren’t always the right move. You must exercise caution and wisdom when sharing those type of details, but when done the right way, they can help you market yourself.
Showing people that you’ve been married for fifteen years or that you’re a mother of three makes you more human and gives you more dimension. You’re not just that person speaking on stage about creating a winning culture, you’re also the person who is helping to lead a family of five at home.
Sharing passions and hobbies is a great way to show more about who you are, while at the same time creating connection points for others to latch on to. Whether it’s golf, running, reading, hiking, working out, metal detecting, or coin collecting, sharing the things you are passionate about will develop instant connections with some of your audience.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get trivial with what you share about yourself. Share about some of your pet peeves, your favorite type of cheese, your favorite vacation spot, three foods you won’t eat, your favorite season of the year, and other trivial details. Making connections with this type of whimsical information can be a great way to help others see you in a better light and pay more attention to what you’re doing.
(For those of you who live life like an open book and share everything, the ability to make a lot of connection points exist, but remember that once it’s online, it exists forever.)
18 – Lean into being yourself (passions, strengths, dislikes, weaknesses)
It’s easy to see what others are doing online and think that your path to success has to mimic theirs, but the reality is, your biggest advantage is being uniquely you.
When you identify the things you are good at and lean into them, you operate from a place of strength.
Author Jonathan Milligan says, “”The more you can be yourself the more you stand out.”
The other side of that coin is knowing when to stop wasting time and energy on your weaknesses. There will always be tasks and responsibilities in our businesses that are not our favorite, but you need to determine which of those are necessary and which are ancillary.
For instance, you may hate writing up and sending client invoices, but without that crucial part of your business you won’t get paid. Outside of hiring someone to handle it for you, this is something you’ll have to grin and bear regardless of whether it’s a strength or weakness.
Maybe, however, you’ve been trying to write one blog post per week and it’s your least favorite thing you do because it takes you so long and you’re never happy with the finished product. You’d much rather spend that time on camera recording a YouTube video because it feels more natural to you.
This is a perfect area to lean away from your weakness and lean into a strength. Just because someone told you years ago that you need a blog or just because someone you follow blogs every week doesn’t mean you need to.
Lisa Cummings, a career advice expert puts it this way, “We have to stop trying to teach fish to climb trees.”
Chart your own course based on your strengths and weaknesses and you’ll not only find more fulfillment in your marketing efforts, but you’ll probably find more success, too.
19 – Be a cheerleader for others
Want a way to stand out in the crowd while also making yourself feel better? Be a cheerleader for other people in your space.
It’s so easy to view our relationships (both in real life and on social media) as transactional, always wondering what someone can do for us. You can stand out simply by reaching out to someone with no expectation of anything in return.
The next time someone in your space shares about a win they had, try these five words:
I’m so happy for you.
When you let someone know that their joy has brought you joy, the positivity will make you both feel better.
Will it lead to a stronger connection and potential work down the road? Possibly. But even if it doesn’t directly lead to a gig, it will help others see you as an encouraging, positive voice in your space.
20 – Be vulnerable (share losses as much as wins)
It’s so easy to curate your talks and social media profiles with success stories and big wins, but don’t be afraid to show some of your losses, too.
We already know you’re not perfect, but if you can show us that you’re willing to laugh at yourself and learn from your mistakes, your relatability will win you even more fans.
One note of caution: always, use wisdom as you share your lowlights. Be careful not to besmirch someone else in the process, and consider getting permission from someone if their face or likeness is involved in your story.
Be vulnerable. Laugh at yourself. Tell us how you learned a lesson the hard way so we don’t have to, and we’ll forever be grateful.
21 – Be consistent and follow through
If you say you’re going to drop a new podcast on Tuesdays, do it.
If you promise two new blog posts per month, make it happen.
If you want to have an active social media presence, don’t go three weeks at a time without updating it.
It takes time to build trust in the online space, so don’t make promises you don’t plan on following through on.
Be the speaker who always sends the follow-up email.
Be the speaker who consistently engages with the people in your space, adding value and being positive.
Be the speaker who delivers (or overdelivers) on what they promise.
No one wants to work with someone who is untrustworthy or flaky, so be consistent and follow through.
22 – Build a great team around you (and utilize them!)
Behind most amazing speakers is an amazing team helping them make it happen.
Now, if you’re just getting started in your speaking career, or if speaking is just a side hustle for you, having a team might be more of a long term goal than a current reality. If that’s you, that’s okay.
As your speaking business grows take note of the tasks you like and don’t like, and which ones you excel at. If you ever get to the point where you can start building a team, you’ll know which tasks you want help with because they are not in your strengths profile or because they don’t bring you energy.
I say this all the time to my team, but the success we have had over the years at The Speaker Lab is not because it’s the “Grant Baldwin Show.” Our success is due to the amazing team members we have that are all dedicated to our mission: to help speakers find clarity, confidence, and a clear path to making an impact.
If you are interested in seeing how our team can help you, book a call now to learn more.
We know we can help turn your passion and experience into highly paid speaking engagements because we’ve been doing it for years with hundreds of speakers just like you!