Speaking opportunities can be hard to come by. There is a lot of competition for a limited number of slots. The required abstracts can be quite long and detailed and are often due 6 months (or longer) before the event. In addition, events come and go and are difficult to track. Add to this that some executives don’t like to speak in front of crowds and you can see why speaking opportunities get overlooked in many PR strategies.
But this is a mistake. When done correctly, speaking opportunities can be a great way to increase your exposure and – perhaps more importantly – your client base. Here are the three main benefits of speaking opportunities:
Speaking opportunities can put you in front of hundreds – if not thousands – of potential customers. When they see you giving a speech or contributing to a panel on a topic that interests them, it makes them view you as a thought leader. And people want to do business with those who appear to understand their issues and concerns.
Big events and trade shows attract many reporters. These reporters are covering your industry and are likely the main journalists you need to reach. Nothing beats face-to-face contact and this is why they like to attend big shows. Reporters, like clients, will see you as an expert if you are speaking on a topic they cover. Even if they cannot make your speech, your PR representative should make an attempt to schedule time with them at the show. This will result in articles and – more importantly – an ongoing contact with the media.
Social media grows more important by the day. Make sure someone records your speech and places it on your website, blog and social media channels. Turn the content into a bylined article, white paper, media pitch and/or case study. This will greatly increase the amount of people who see your thought leadership in action. So while they can be tedious, speaking opportunities will pay huge dividends. They should be an important part of your overall PR strategy. If they aren’t, start by asking your PR representative to look into the events and conferences that attract the clients you most need to reach.