Use social media to get speaking gigs

Let’s say that thanks to help from Michelle, you’re now an absolutely dazzling public speaker, looking for opportunities to share your wisdom with the world through conferences and other venues.

So, a simple question: What would it take to convince the conference planner to add your name to their speaker lineup? Simple answer: your online presence.

To see how this works, take the view of a conference planner we’ll call “Aisha” who’s preparing a conference on renewable energy. Let’s say you’re an expert on wind power. Aisha’s heard about you, and she’s trying to determine if you’d be an asset to her lineup.

It’s important to note that in this case, Aisha isn’t looking for a motivational speaker, a story teller or an entertainer. She wants technical expertise, and her first question is, “Does this person have knowledge my audience can use?”.

Get your ideas published

Impressing Aisha starts with publishing your ideas on wind power online, so she can find what you’ve written and be amazed by your insights. This means developing thought-leadership content that discusses current issues facing the wind-power sector, and gives your recommendations. Three main places you should publish your content:

  • Your own blog or website, so Aisha can get a complete picture of your expertise;
  • In respected third-party media such as energy-sector magazines and industry websites, so she can see that your ideas have credibility;
  • As guest posts in blogs run by other experts in your field, to show Aisha that you interact with your community.

You must absolutely rock social media

In a business context, having a good LinkedIn profile is key. That’s because if someone Googles your name, your LinkedIn profile will likely be the first result. What do you need to impress Aisha?

  • Your academic and professional qualifications, showing credibility
  • Work experience, indicating why this qualifies you as an ‘expert’
  • Published content — listed in your Publications section, as well as uploads in PDF form
  • Recommendations from people in your business community

As well as LinkedIn, you need to be active on Twitter, with a respectable following (Aisha can check that number on your Twitter profile) and a good flow of tweets.

Some people would say that having updates on Google+ is important, but I’m on the side of the debate that says Google +, at least in its present form, is not long for this world.

In some markets, particularly consumer products and services, having a presence on Facebook is important — not so much in B2B.

Show your speaking style

In a business or technical venue, Aisha will be more concerned about your expertise and credibility, than she will be in your ability to dazzle with amazing oratory. But she does want to know whether you can get your ideas across.

And you can show her, easily, through online video. It used to be that only the high-level pro speakers would have a ‘speaker demo reel’, which was actually a physical reel of film. Has that ever changed — it’s still the case that if you have a speaker demo video you’ll stand out from the pack, but it’s so easy, anyone can do it. What’s changed?

  • Easy video shooting: A standard consumer camera, or a mobile phone, can shoot acceptable video. Their weakness is in the sound quality, but it’s not necessary for you to have Hollywood or Bollywood videography in order to show Aisha what you’re like on stage.
  • Easy video editing: Programs like iMovie (for Mac) make it easy to package your demo video, complete with titles.
  • Easy video availability: It’s called YouTube.

How credibility gets you on the speaker’s podium

One reason online credibility matters is that in most cases, you don’t have to impress just one person. Anyone in Aisha’s position will likely have to persuade a board of directors, task force, or her supervisor that her choices are based on good reasons.

You need to give Aisha those reasons, so she can persuade those people that you belong in her speaker lineup for the event. So ask yourself: if you were in Aisha’s position, would there be enough online evidence of your credibility? And, what’s your next step towards making that happen?