Q&A: How Can You Utilize The Internet to Land Speaking Gigs?

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Let’s get straight into today’s question. We’ve got a question from Dan Taylor. So Dan, take it away. What are we going to be talking about today?

Question: How Can I Use the Internet to Find Speaking Gigs?

Hi, my name’s Dan Taylor and I provide double digit sales growth for my clients using my marketing skills. My question is how do we use the internet and digital technology, social media, social media advertising, Google ads, etc., to find leads to get speaking gigs? That’s what I’d like to know, and that would be really helpful. You can follow my blog dantaylor.global.

Answer: All right, great question from Dan. Dan, thanks for the question, man. The summary there is basically, how do we use the internet, social media, advertising online to find leads for speaking gigs? That’s a great question there.

Well, here’s what I’ve found as a speaker. I’ve been speaking full-time for about eight years or so. Done over 450 paid speaking engagements. I’ve spoken to close to half a million people. So I’ve learned a few things along the way here.

One of the things that I’ve found is that social media, blogs, podcasts, that kind of stuff, online content is really, really good for brand building, for brand awareness, but it may not be the most effective way to actually get speaking engagements. The reason being is social media, that kind of stuff, is very, very reactive.

It’s kind of like putting up a smoke signal, hoping the right person sees it, hoping the right person stumbles across it, and especially, Dan, in the context of social media, the shelf life for social media is very, very, very short. It’s very, very, very small.

If you tweet something like, “Hey, I’m a speaker, book me to speak,” the chances of the right person seeing that at the right time when they’re looking for a speaker and making a buying decision based off of a tweet is very, very unlikely. It’s almost the equivalent of this: I want you to think of social media, kind of like putting up a billboard next to the highway, all right? That billboard may produce zero results for you and be a complete waste of time.

A lot of it though is dependent on being on the right highway in the right location at the right time. So if that’s the case, if you got those things aligned, then that billboard can really become a goldmine. It can work really, really well for you.

Social media is very much the same way. It’s like you putting up that billboard, letting people know who you are, what it is that you do. But if nobody’s on that highway, nobody’s passing by, or if it’s the wrong location or the wrong time of year or whatever it may be, then really you’re kind of wasting your time there. It’s not really hitting the type of people or connecting with the type of people that you wanted to connect with.

So, a couple things, let’s back out here. Let’s go to a macro level and talk about some ways that you can use social media as a speaker to promote what it is that you do. So again, social media, blogs, podcasts, all of that stuff is really, really pointless if you’re not really clear on who it is that you want to book you.

Three Questions You Need to Answer as a Speaker

So one of the things that we teach is to be really clear on your answers to three foundational questions: First of all, why is it that you want to speak? What is it that you want to gain from speaking? How does speaking fit into your business?

Second question is, who is it that you want to speak to? Who is it? If you were put in front of your perfect audience, who would that audience be? Would it be dentists? Would it be accountants? Would it be car mechanics? Would it be moms? Would it be teenagers? What would that perfect audience be for you?

The third question then is, what is it that you want to speak to that audience about?

Okay, so again, why, who and what? Get really clear on that. We’ll throw in a bonus fourth here, okay? The next piece is figuring out the decision makers, some of the gatekeepers for the types of events or gatherings or conferences where those people meet up. So this is why you want to get really, really clear on these answers.

So for example, let’s say you want to speak to insurance agents. That’s a pretty common market. It’s a common niche. So let’s say you want to speak to insurance agents, then you want to be creating the type of social media and blogs and podcasts that are valuable for that audience.

But if you just say, “Well, I just like to do social media, talk about my kitten Whiskers, and to talk about my road trips with my 19 cats and show some pictures of my new butterfly collection,” well, that’s cute. That’s great. But that’s not the type of thing that’s going to attract insurance agents to you and connect them to you in terms of them seeing you as a speaker or someone that they may consider hiring.

You want to, first of all, get really, really clear on who it is that you want to book you. Then from there you can start to kind of figure out what kind of social media, blogs, podcasts, those types of things, would be relevant to those decision makers. So if you want to use your social media to help find speaking engagements, again, you want to create content that your decision makers are interested in.

Let’s go back to the example. You want to get booked to speak in the insurance industry, then what is the type of subject matter or topics that those decision makers would be interested in? One of the things I would do, and again, this is kind of assuming that you’re coming from maybe an insurance background or maybe you’ve got some experience in this or you’ve got some idea of what some of those subjects or topics might be, but one of the things I might do is I might just go on to Google and try to find who are some other speakers who are speaking to insurance agents and what are some of their biggest challenges.

One of the other things you could do to take it a step further, is you could actually reach out to your own insurance agent or other insurance agents in your area and ask them about some of the different conferences that they might attend.

And then also ask them, “Hey, what are some of your struggles right now? What are some of the things that you’re having a difficult time with? What are some of the challenges in your insurance business right now?” Because everything that they give you there, those are not only like presentation topics, keynote workshop type of topics. They are also really, really good for blog topics, for podcasts, for social media posts, things that you can provide to help that audience.

Audience ≠ Decision-Makers

Now, having said all this, also keep in mind here that the audience may be different than the decision maker. Let me explain this. Whenever I got started as a speaker, I spoke a lot to high school and college audiences, and so my audience was different from my decision maker, meaning that my audience was often a group of high school students.

It may be a group of 16- and 17-year old high school students, but the 16- and 17-year old students weren’t the people that were actually booking me. The decision maker was the principal or a conference planner. What they were looking for would be different than what the audience was.

So let’s say that I was creating social media and blog posts and content for my audience, those students, those high school students. That’s great for that audience, but again, that’s not necessarily the stuff that a decision maker is going to be looking at. So you want to make sure that what it is that you’re creating aligns with the people that are considering booking you. Let me give you another example.

I used to host a podcast, some of you may have heard of, called, How Did You Get Into That? You can go back and listen to the archives. You can find it actually over at grantbaldwin.com. But this is a show that we did 142 episodes where we interviewed people doing unique, interesting, fascinating types of work, just to hear their story, their journey, how they got into what it is that they were doing, and so while doing that, a lot of people that were listening to the show were people that were trying to figure out what it was that they wanted to do in terms of a career.

They were people that felt like, “I don’t hate my job, I don’t love my job. I’m not sure what I would rather be doing.” We were making the show for them.

Now keep in mind though, that those are people that are trying to find what it is that they want to do. They’re not necessarily people that are looking to hire a speaker. So as a result of that podcast I may have anecdotally got a booking or so, but the point of that podcast was never to provide a tool or a resource or a brand awareness as a strategy to get speaking engagements because the people listening to that podcast were different than the people that would possibly book me.

Let me give you another example. I’ve got a buddy who teaches a lot about mobile marketing, so basically like using your cell phone, mobile devices, iPads, those types of tools and how you can use those for marketing. He had a blog for a little while, had a podcast where he would teach about mobile marketing, how businesses and companies could use it.

So he would teach that, he’d have different guests on. He would actually get several speaking engagements from that podcast and from his blog because people began to see him as an expert in that subject or topic. But again, keep in mind here that the people listening to his podcast, the people that were reading his blog, were people that were interested in that subject who may be looking for speakers to come teach their company or team. “I’m a part of this association that I think would be a good fit for your expertise.”

It was really brand building and brand awareness for people that had the ability and may be interested in booking him. So always, always, always keep that in mind. Is the social media that I’m putting out there on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube, Instagram, any of those places, are the people that may be interested in booking me there? Are they following me? And again, this also brings up the point of figuring out where that audience may be.

You may do a podcast for insurance agents, but if you start asking around and you find out insurance agents don’t really listen to podcasts, but they’re really heavily on LinkedIn, then you’re in the wrong place.

Again, let’s go back to the analogy of the billboard. It would be like setting up this beautiful billboard on this highway or this interstate that gets a ton of traffic, but it’s not the kind of traffic that you’re looking for, not the kind of traffic you need because it’s on the wrong side of town or something like that.

So make sure that you know not only where your audience is going to be, but make sure that you are there so that you can connect with them. So for you, that may mean that you don’t do much with, let’s say, Pinterest, but you do a lot on YouTube, or you don’t do much with Instagram, but you do a lot with Twitter. So being really, really clear and figuring out where it is that your audience is, where those potential decision-makers gather.

Make Sure You Are Advertised as a Speaker

Another little tip is make sure in your profile bios that you communicate that you are a speaker. People won’t book you if they don’t know you speak. And this seems very, very simple but again, make sure that you communicate on your social media profiles that you’re a speaker, or if people are interested in more information, what they should do, what some of those next steps should be. Make sure to connect the dots for them so that they know you are a speaker.

Now, Dan, one of the things that you, you kind of touched on, we’ll touch on briefly here. Let’s talk about paid advertising. This is something you kind of alluded to here, but paid advertising is one way to attract some people who may be looking for speakers, and you can have some success with this. It’s commonly known as PPC – pay per click. I have found that one of the best ways to do this is through Google AdWords.

Google AdWords is basically, whenever you do some type of search, you’re going to see the main column of some of those different search results. And at the top of those search results, you’re usually going to see a couple of highlighted ones or ones that are in boxes that are set apart.

You’re also going to see some smaller little boxes along the right side there. Those are going to basically be those Google AdWords, those are people that have paid for that spot, and basically how this works is, once you get really, really clear on who it is that you want to speak to, what some of those keywords would be, then you may want to advertise for those keywords.

So again, let’s go back to the insurance example. You could create some ads on Google for “insurance agent,” “speaker,” or “insurance speaker,” or “motivational speaker for insurance agents.” Some of you could do it for a couple different key phrases, and the way it would work is then when someone searches for that specific term or that phrase, then what happens is your ad may pop up there.

And the way Google AdWords works is it runs off of a PPC, meaning you don’t get charged unless someone clicks on that ad. So again, think that through. You don’t get charged unless someone clicks on that ad.

So let’s go back to the billboard analogy again. If you’re driving down the interstate and you look at a billboard, they’ve got to pay for that billboard whether you look at it or not. That form of online advertising is known as impressions.

So you may be paying so much per 1000 impressions. So for every thousand people who see your ad online, you have to pay for that, whether anyone clicks on it or not. But pay per click, which is what Google does, which is what Facebook does, that is a better fit for what it is that you do as a speaker because you’re only paying for it if someone clicks on that.

The more competitive the keywords are that you try to rank for, so like I would assume “insurance agent speaker” or “insurance speaker,” something like that is a pretty broad term. I’m assuming that it’s going to be pretty pricey to get someone to click on that. Whereas if you’re looking up, let’s say, “Florida insurance agent speaker,” something like that, something more specific or narrow or niche, then the cost to get someone to click on that may actually go down because it’s a slightly less competitive keyword.

So again, we’ll talk more about paid advertising at a later point, but if you’re going to, if you’re interested in this, uh, I would always, always recommend Google AdWords over Facebook ads. The reason being is if someone’s looking for a speaker, they’re most likely going to be doing that on Google, not on Facebook.

You may also check out YouTube. There’s a lot of people that when they’re looking for a speaker, they will do that on YouTube. They’re looking for videos and examples of other speakers. So that may be something to check out as well. But again, we’ll get into that more in depth in a later episode. So Dan, thank you for the question, my friend.

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