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How to leverage your speakers

by Damien

If you are struggling with marketing your event, you need to look at your speakers list. Not only can you use the names of the top speakers on your list, but you can also connect with your speakers to help you promote your event. Remember if your speakers are investing their time, they will want the event to be as successful as you do.

1. Value your speakers

Why do speakers matter to your conference? Speakers are your product. They’re the bests in their field and the reason why delegates pay to attend. If you can get a speaker to endorse your event, their influence could make the conference relevant for your industry. If you value your event you will also value your speakers and this will help with promoting your event.

2. Show them the benefits

Many event organisers want speakers to promote an event and fail to look at how a speaker could benefit from their involvement in the event. For huge globally-recognised events, speakers are keen to promote their involvement because of the boost it would give their own personal brand image.

If your conference is less well-known try to understand their motives for speaking at your event in the first place. Once you understand that context, you can decide what way is best to approach them in terms of promoting your event.

3. Understand their motives

Their motives could be to build a reputation with your particular audience, or to promote a product they are involved with. Whatever their reason, to gain maximum participation from the speakers perspective, you must show an understanding of their needs and assure them that will try and provide the outcomes they require.

So ask yourself, can you build the credibility they desire in the industry? Can you help them build a relationship with a new audience? And if so, how are you going to go about doing this?

When you match their needs with what you can offer, they’re much more likely to cooperate and promote the mutually beneficial marketing you’ve created.

4. Give your speaker the resources they need

After understanding their motives for speaking at your event, you must now be specific in what you’d like them to do, how they can do it, and ensuring that they have access to promotional material.

5. Build a relationship

Liaise with their PA or PR agency, rather with them directly. Build a relationship with them too, learning what they can / can’t sign off. Simply write a quote of what you would like them to do, and simply ask for their permission to use it. However, make sure it’s reasonable and not something they’re likely to sign off.

The aim is to reduce the chance of any friction that will lead to a decrease in their desire to promote your event. Just remember to keep them happy.

6. Keep the momentum

After you have received their agreement, and the marketing plan has been implemented, you may feel the need to sit back and watch your speaker co-promote in perfect synergy with your event. However, when it comes to marketing your event, persistence is key.

You need to ensure you are keeping in continuous dialogue with the speaker. If your event is weeks or even months away it may not be at the top of their agenda. However, with consistent contact and nudges through social media, email or a friendly phone call, it’s much more likely they will mention speaking at your event when the opportunity presents itself. But remember not to come across too “spammy” as you want to keep on good terms with your speaker.

Trying to get big name speakers to actively promote your event takes, time, planning and persistence. Equipped with this information, you’ll quickly be able to assess whether the financial impact of your speaker promotion campaign is worth the considerable effort to make it happen.