By Tawanda Carlton, PR Account Executive
Comprehensive public relations requires more than just securing media coverage, content creation and press interviews. Speaking opportunities also play an instrumental role not only with expanding your audience and securing press but with generating warm leads that can enhance a company’s bottom line.
Recently, our CEO, Sarah Tourville spoke at an industry conference with an audience of more than 1,500 peers, professionals and potential clients. Upon returning from her event she revealed to the team that she secured several strong leads as a result of her speaking engagement. In hindsight, this one speaking engagement garnered more leads than a typical media placement or tv/radio interview.
In the B2B space, thought leadership is king. Regardless of the industry, a thought leaders’ goal is to position their company as a dominant force speaking to subject-matters they are well-versed in, and speaking opportunities play an essential role in achieving this.
Identifying the appropriate platforms and organizations is the first step in securing speaker opportunities. There are a variety of options for experts to speak at industry conferences and events, however, finding the right fit requires time, extensive research and effort. In our agency, we’ve found success with procuring speaking slots for our clients by starting with industry associations and organizations.
While there are countless avenues when securing a speaking role, it’s highly recommended to start in your own backyard. Our focus at Media Frenzy Global is centered around B2B marketing and public relations, women in business, and challenges as well as opportunities around diversity and inclusion. With this in mind, our outreach efforts are strategically focused on organizations that are aligned with those platforms.
For our clients, we take the same approach. One of our clients is focused on innovative software solutions for enterprise businesses and also has a strong stance on leadership and cultivating high-performing teams. When sourcing opportunities, we look for ways in which he can expound on these themes specifically. A few weeks ago, this client spoke at an industry conference that we were able to secure using this approach. His topic? How to Innovate Inexpensively. We made sure to align his passions with the criteria of the speaking opportunity.
The message or topic that will be presented is just as important as the event identification process. Before delving into the application process, it’s important to select one or two relevant topics that attendees will be receptive to and that the speaker will be excited talking about. This train of thought aligns with Content Marketing 101: know your audience. We’ve found success with crafting catchy, succinct titles that capture the attention of the conference organizers while simultaneously piquing their curiosity. Providing attendees with hints as to what they will learn, uncover and benefit from during a presentation is a great way to turn a speaker submission into a confirmed slot.
Through research, you will find that many conferences will consider you specifically if you have a co-presenter. Most recently, our agency secured a speaking opportunity at a major B2B marketing conference. The caveat to being selected? Having one of our Fortune 500 clients to accompany us on stage. Co-presenters help validate claims made in speaker submissions and bring case studies to life. When the customer is able to speak to how a company or agency helped them achieve their goal, the message is better received because the “testimonial” is given in real time and affirms your claims. When you are considering how to make your topic or presentation stand out, consider pitching a customer who is willing to join in on the conversation.
Conferences are vital when amplifying your executives’ voice and ideas as they help audiences make sense of the issues and challenges affecting them within their industry.
Many of today’s top conferences have robust social media efforts, highly attended live streams, vetted journalists in attendance, and event recaps to extend the reach of your executive well beyond the physical audience in the room. Speaking opportunities create wins with longevity and most importantly visibility that can help land your company in front of their key target audience.