Awareness is great. The more who know about a product or service means more potential customers and sales. In the endless battle for awareness, companies will typically put an ad in a magazine, seek media coverage or turn to social media. But an often-overlooked and impactful path is speaking engagements.
Speaking at public forums — such as at conferences, seminars and other events — is a great way to communicate an organization’s message and position. And while typically vendor neutral, events often allow access to other industry decision makers that could become customers, clients, investors or partners. Beyond sharing expertise, awareness will also be increased by:
- Attendees learning about a firm’s expertise and interacting directly with a speaker
- Opportunities to meet attending members of the press
- Increased visibility in a specific vertical or industry
- Getting published in agendas, brochures and announcements distributed to thousands of prospective attendees
If a speaking engagement is right for you and you’d like to pursue it, take into account two important considerations: 1) what product or service you want to have increased visibility for, and 2) what your target industries or verticals are. Knowing the answer to both of these will help narrow down the number of conferences or seminars you want to consider. For example, if your company is a network security provider, you’ll want to target conferences attended by IT security professionals. And if you’ve determined you need more traction in the retail vertical, consider an event that is tailored to ecommerce, merchant and retail professionals.
Once you’ve determined the areas of greatest need, you’ll need to submit a speaking proposal. To increase your chances of being selected, detail the unique insights you can provide about a specific topic. While being vendor neutral, you can dive into detail about any areas yourr specific product or service covers. This will help a firm and its speaker gain credibility and be top of mind as a “go-to” expert. To heighten the chance of selection, consider the following options:
- Detail unique challenges facing an industry and how they can be addressed
- Project where an industry is headed and offer recommendations to help prepare for the future
- Highlight current trends and what they mean for decision makers at other organizations
Be sure to back up your assertions with specific data that only your organization can offer. Provide detailed accounts of what your firm has witnessed in regards to industry challenges, threats and opportunities.
If you’re selected to speak at an event, congratulations! Next, get further mileage out of your presentation, by utilizing the information for other types of content such as contributed articles, white papers or case studies. This will generate more brand awareness and lend credibility to your organization. Your speakers will be noted for their expertise, be invited back as a returning speaker and likely be called upon by the media for topical comments.