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Whether you’re giving the keynote at your Alma Mater or leading your weekly group coaching call, speaking is a skill every leader will utilize at one time or another. Knowing how to present an argument or weave a cautionary tale into actionable steps that inspire, motivate or educate an audience isn’t just a valuable skill — it can also be profitable.
To position yourself as a dominant force in your industry and advance your career/business, branding yourself as a speaker is a profitable growth strategy. According to a study by the Harvard Business Review, speakers with “social proof” can earn up to $20k for a speech. That’s because when you couple a strong brand with deep industry knowledge, you increase opportunities for success. Speaking isn’t just about money; it can also be a powerful way to further your company’s philanthropic causes and build long-term relationships with future clients. So, how do you go about marketing yourself as a speaker? Here are 11 tips to get you started:
1. Turn up the charisma
When it comes to public speaking, charisma goes a long way. If you can learn to captivate an audience and make a personal connection, you’ll be well on your way to success.
Some people are born with charisma, and others have to work at it — but the good news is that appeal can be developed. If you’re not a natural orator, start by studying some of the greats. Watch their videos to learn how they carry themselves, what they say and how they make people feel. Then start practicing your version of charisma until it feels natural.
2. Subject matter expertise is required
Your charisma will hold their attention, but your expertise will build a profitable business. To be taken seriously as a speaker, you need to be an expert in your niche.
The path to mastery is education. Spend time studying and practicing your craft. The more you know, the easier it will be to share your knowledge with others. You can also become an expert by writing a book or creating other forms of content that position you as an authority in your industry.
3. Develop a signature style
A signature style is another personal branding strategy that can set you apart. Your style should be acceptable to your industry but personalized enough to communicate your uniqueness. The important thing is that you stay true to yourself and find a way to let your personality shine.
4. Schedule a professional brand photoshoot
A brand photoshoot is designed to capture the images you’ll use to market yourself as a speaker. Your brand photoshoot isn’t an area that you want to “cut corners” on. Your photos will become a trusted resource in branding, because they will help you create a consistent look and feel for all your marketing materials.
5. Leverage the power of LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a robust platform that can help pinpoint your industry leaders and customers. Optimize the platform by letting your network know that you are available for speaking opportunities. Make sure you have a strong profile that showcases your skills and experience. Ensure that you share information about the subjects you’re open to speaking on, clips of your speeches, short videos, etc.
6. Create a speakers kit
Your speakers kit serves three primary purposes:
It helps event planners get to know you and your work.
It makes it easy for them to book you for events.
It helps you to stay organized and professional.
Your kit should include a bio, headshot and list of speaking topics.
7. Be consistent across platforms
Influential brands are consistent. Encourage consistency across your online platforms by automating the communication through systems and processes. Ensure your website, social media and other materials have a similar look and feel. These assets will help people quickly recognize you and your brand.
8. Develop a unique selling proposition
What makes you different from other speakers in your industry? Differentiation can be showcased through your signature style, messaging and positioning. Each of these contributes to your unique selling proposition (USP) and will separate you from the crowd.
9. Create and practice your signature speech
Raise your hand if you’ve memorized a Les Brown speech or two? Brown captivated his audience through stories. Your signature speech is your hallmark representing who you are as a speaker and will introduce you to a new audience. It should be concise, well-rehearsed, engaging and actionable.
10. Speak at industry events
Most industries have professional organizations or trade groups. Get involved with these organizations, and start networking with other professionals in your field. Practicing your signature speech at industry events, seminars, etc., is a phenomenal way to build your brand and get comfortable speaking in front of a large audience.
11. Launch a podcast tour
You can find podcasts on every subject under the sun, which makes them a great way to get involved in your industry.
Use websites like Chartable to find the most popular podcasts in your industry, and reach out to the hosts to see if they’re open to having you on as a guest. Podcasts are a great way to share your message and knowledge with a new audience.
Now that you know the basics of branding yourself as a speaker, it’s time to practice these tips. Remember that building a speaking career, even a part-time brand, takes time and effort — but the payoff can be huge.