Grant Baldwin: Today we are doing a listener Q and A episode. These are ones that we like to do from time to time where it’s not just me talking to someone else, but me taking a specific question from you, the listener.
Let’s get to today’s question. Today’s question comes from Bryan.
Brian: Hey, Grant and fellow listeners of the Speaker Lab. It’s Bryan from brianteare.com, calling from Cape Town in South Africa. I’m busy going through a redesign of my website and looking at making speaking a form of income.
I had a question with regard to the design. Would you include a speaking section on the Homepage of your website? Or in the Navigation? Or would you link to it through something like your About page?
Importance of Having a Website
Grant Baldwin: First of all, let’s talk about this from a high level: a website is critical. Critically important for a speaker. It is a huge, huge deal. You have to have a website. If you don’t have a website, you don’t exist.
Think about it from the perspective of a potential client. Let’s say you and I are interacting. You’re a speaker. I’m someone that’s looking to book a speaker, and you and I are talking and you say, ” I’m a speaker. I would love to speak at your event.”
And I say, ” I’d love to learn more about you. Do you have a website?” And you’re like, “Ah, well, I don’t have one.” It’s hard to take you seriously if you don’t have a website. In my mind, you don’t exist. You’re not taking the business seriously. So why should I take you seriously? So, if you don’t have a site up at all, we’re going to do an entire episode in a few weeks on how to get your very first site up and running.
Let’s assume you already have a site in place, and you just want to start incorporating speaking into it. How do you actually do that? In order to do that, there are two big questions that you want to answer that will determine how you incorporate speaking into your site.
First of all, why? Why do you want to speak? We talked about this in-depth way back in Episode #3. Then the second question that ties in with it is, how do you see speaking fitting into your existing business?
The nutshell here is the bigger you want speaking to be a part of your business, the bigger you should make its presence on your website.
Let me give you two sides of it here. All right? Let’s say that you want to speak full-time, and you want that to be your primary business. You want to be a full-time speaker. In that case, you may want to have the majority of your site, if not all of your site, focused on your speaking. This is exactly what I did when I first got started as a speaker.
About eight years ago or so, when I first created my very first website, my first iteration of grantbaldwin.com, my sole goal was I wanted to be a full-time speaker. That’s what I was striving to be. I wasn’t worried about selling books or having a blog or a podcast or anything else. I just wanted to be a speaker, and I just wanted to get bookings. So because of that, my entire site was focused on speaking.
The homepage was about speaking. There was an About page that was directly pushing people toward hiring me as a speaker. There was obviously a speaker page. There were demo videos. The contact info was on how to book Grant as a speaker.
Now, in Bryan’s situation, it sounds like you already have an existing business, and you just want to speak a few times a year, maybe here and there. In that case, you don’t necessarily want speaking to be your entire business. You just want it to be a small part. If that’s the case, then it’s fine just to have a single speaking page.
This is really what my current site is. The current iteration of grantbaldwin.com is more like this. If you go there now you’ll see there’s a speaking page on the navigation bar at the top, and there’s a reference to my speaking at the bottom of the homepage.
But the entire site isn’t dedicated to just getting people to hire me as a speaker like it was in the beginning.
Again, the bigger you want speaking to be part of your business, the bigger you should make its presence on your site. So if your site is more focused on your blog, podcast, other products, coaching or consulting, and I don’t see anything about speaking, I’m not going to think to hire you as a speaker. I may not even realize and recognize that you are a speaker.
So make sure that you’re incorporating speaking into your site, along with the amount of speaking that you want to be doing.
Now let’s talk about where to actually promote your speaking on your side. Let me give you four different pages where you can touch on your speaking.
Number one is your homepage. Now, this is obviously going to be an important page on your site. This is where people are most oftentimes going to land on your site. If you really want to be a speaker, the headline on your site should be really clear that you are a speaker.
I’ve looked at a lot of speaker websites, and I’ve seen some that are really good and some that are not good at all.
It’s almost like a billboard. Whenever you’re driving down the highway and you pass a billboard, you can’t have 19 pictures and hundreds of words on a billboard there. People have a couple of seconds at the most to read the billboard, figure out what it’s about, and get an idea of what it is that you do.
That’s the same thing whenever someone comes to your website. They’re not going to be spending 30 or 45 seconds or several minutes on your site, perusing around trying to figure out what does this person do?
They’re going to be there for a couple of seconds and make some quick assumptions and judgments about you, what it is that you do, and so if they don’t know that you’re a speaker within those first few seconds, and they’re looking for a speaker, they will leave your site. You want to make sure it’s really clear that you are a speaker. So maybe you can include that in the headline. You can include it at the top of the page.
One of the things that you want to consider is where things are above and below the fold. This is a newspaper term, but the nutshell is that whenever someone comes to your site, there are some people that will never scroll down.
So above the fold basically means what people can see without having to scroll. Below the fold means having to scroll down in order to see something.
A lot of people will not scroll and will not see what’s below the fold. So the more important speaking is to you and your business, the more you want to make sure that stuff is above the fold and right there, smack whenever people get to the site, not only in your headline.
You may want to include some pictures of you speaking. That means that you’ve got some social proof there. You may want to include a demo video on your homepage as well. On one of our recent sites for grantbaldwin.com, whenever you came to the site, there was a clear headline saying that I was a speaker.
But the next action step we wanted them to take was to go to our demo video, so it was prominent. It wasn’t some tiny link hidden in the corner. It was really, really prominent. There was no doubt in someone’s mind what the action was that I wanted them to take.
The second place where you’re going to want to talk about your being a speaker is obviously going to be your speaking page. Your speaking page is going to include a few different things. It’s going to include some recommendations and testimonials from people that have seen you speak.
You should give some type of snapshot of what it is that you talk about and some types of audiences or events that you’ve spoken to, maybe a list of clients that you’ve worked with before.
One of the things that we teach in our Booked and Paid to Speak training program is having an actual menu giving specific talks that you would offer and could present on. So it’s not this open-ended, vague thing of “whatever you want me to talk about, I can talk about”. No. Here are some specific things that you could speak about.
You could have all the stuff on one single page, or it could be broken up over several pages, depending on how prominent you want speaking to be in your business. Let’s go back to my own example, the original grantbaldwin.com. When I wanted to get started as a full-time speaker, it was broken up into multiple pages.
There was a page just of recommendations and testimonials. There was a page that was just focused on what I speak about and the different topics and talks that I could offer. There was one on just a speaking form, a booking form: if you want to hire Grant, what will be some of your next steps? So it was broken down into a coup ofle different places there. The entire site was focused on me being a speaker.
If you wanted to just focus on being a speaker, you could have a really sharp one-page website. Squarespace does a really good job with this, making sharp single-page websites that just give some information about what it is that you do as a speaker.
The third page that’s really important here that Bryan referenced is your About page. On the about page, you want to reference that you are a speaker and make sure that you are linking back to your speaking page.
Your about page is going to be set up differently depending on how speaking fits into your business. Early on, my entire About page was highlighting the speaking that I’d done, how speaking was part of my career, and just building a lot of that credibility.
Now it still does a bit of that on the About page, but it’s less about trying to get someone to book me and more about what we’re doing now with the Speaker Lab brand and the podcast that you’re listening to right now. However speaking fits into your business, you can tie that in with the About page.
And again, I like that Bryan referenced linking back to your speaking page. ” Go to this page for more information.” That type of thing.
The fourth page is going to be your contact page. If people are interested in hiring you, they want to connect with you, they have questions about your fees, etc., you want to make it simple for them to know what to do. What is the next step?
Personally, I prefer having an actual email address there that people can send an email to versus having to fill out a form. If someone’s ready to book, we do have a speaking form that we have people fill out because we’re looking for more specific information rather than just a blanket email.
There you go, my friends. Good question there from Bryan.