How to Promote a Public Speaking Business
Once you’ve mastered the major challenges of public speaking and established yourself as an expert in your field, your next challenge is using promotional strategies to make money as a speaker. You have something that people want — your knowledge and experience — and business and civic organizations often have a need for knowledgeable speakers. You don’t need to be a public relations pro to successfully promote your public speaking business — you just need to implement some of their tactics.
Commit to Your Expertise
In public speaking, it’s important to stay with topics you know and do well. Narrow your focus to target your promotions more efficiently. Being comfortable with your speaking topic also prepares you to confidently and expertly answer audience questions — an important component of credibility that adds to your public image. Being known as an expert in one or two areas helps identify and brand your business. For example, instead of just a “good” public speaker, you become an “operations management public speaker.”
Business and Community Groups
Join as many business and community groups in your city or region as you can, and let the leadership know you’re available for public speaking. Offer to do an introductory speech for free at the next business meeting or luncheon to become visible and get your name out there. Examples of groups include your chamber of commerce, downtown business alliance, rotary clubs, alumni associations and industry trade groups. If any of the groups have a speakers’ bureau, get on it.
Use the media to help promote your speaking business. For example, if you are speaking at a local business banquet, write a quick media alert or news release and fax or email it to local newspapers. All you need to write is the specifics: who, what, when, where and why. If you don’t know who to send it to, call the publication and ask. Usually it’s the business or city editor. Once you have the editor’s name, call him and ask whether you can contribute a regular column on topics related to your expertise. Send him an example of a question you get frequently and how your answer can help his readers.
Get a professionally designed website and post a schedule of your appearances on it. Get references from customers and post them on your site. Have a mechanism on your website for people to send queries and requests for information. Take the time to write a few white papers — informative briefs — that visitors can download once they fill in their contact information. Use the reach of social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to raise the profile of your business. Be sure to link your social media sites to your website.