You’re Not Getting Speaking Gigs Because of Your Online Presence

During my presentation on Saturday to the National Speakers Association, I shared a presentation and supporting data for the speakers to understand why a content and social strategy were key to their own efforts in building authority and finding speaking opportunities. It’s an incredible group to speak to since they provide me as much value in feedback with my speaking as I provide them in promoting theirs. I’m very thankful to Karl Ahlrichs for the opportunity, himself a leader in speaking on human capital and healthcare.

Many public speakers in attendance get opportunities through searches for speakers at eSpeakers and the NSA website. Other opportunities come by way of word of mouth. For these reasons, there’s some doubt as to the effectiveness of content and social media for many of these professionals who have been on the circuit for years.

While it’s true that they can be found via these sites, whether or not they have a reputation and online authority is critical to closing opportunities online. If I’m going to invest thousands or tens of thousands of dollars on hiring a public speaker, what do you think the chances are that prospective event coordinators or businesses are then researching your online presence for videos and thought leadership pieces shared via the web?

If you’re a public speaker and your competition has their speech professionally edited on YouTube, a byline on the Wall Street Journal, and a fantastic web site where they maintain an active calendar of events as well as a library of resources – what do you think your chances are of speaking at that event if you don’t have the same? My guess is that you’re missing out on a lot of opportunities.

One specific speaker wasn’t sold. He voiced his concern that there really was only crap out there that he had found when he looked for content that would be of value to his audience. I told him that I wished that was true of my industry, where there’s incredible competition and my colleagues share incredible information. I wish I were in an industry that lacked quality content online… because I’d absolutely work on dominating that market! That’s not a problem… it’s an opportunity.

At the half-day event, we walked through the stages of building your social media presence and authority online. It’s a staged approach:

Stages of Building Social Media Authority

Four Stages of Building Online Authority

  1. Advocacy – listen, respond and meet with leaders in your industry and prospects that you’re trying to connect with. Think of this as simply starting the conversation.
  2. Credibility – establish yourself as a resource and someone that can provide value to the industry. Educate people, share curated content, and make introductions to pair folks with problems and those with solutions.
  3. Audience – now that you’re connected, it’s time to grow, promote and entertain your audience so that you can establish a personal and emotional connection with them.
  4. Community – audiences listen, but communities speak on behalf. The holy grail of online media is when your audience is promoting you instead of you having to do all the work.

Apply this back to public speaking and imagine the opportunities when your community begins to demand your presence at events or recommending you for the next keynote around the corner!

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