The Unexpected Benefits of Speaking at Conferences27 Aug, 2014 By: Charlene Soucy, Questex Media Group
Why You Should Incorporate Speaking Engagements into Your Marketing Mix
Speaking engagements are a great way for companies to generate publicity and positive exposure, in addition to establishing thought leadership in key industries. Getting out from behind the booth and in front of your target audience so you are a part of the conference agenda is a very effective way to get your company’s message across at an event.
- It’s a great PR opportunity. Fielding a speaker at conferences keeps a company’s profile at the front of the industry and channel. Industry press also frequent conferences, making them great places to get your latest technology or service noticed and talked about. Think about using a dedicated hashtag for your session. This can be a great way to extend your content and reach in real time — plus, you can always circle back and continue the conversation after the event is over.
- It’s good for the industry. Conferences are a way for the industry to come together and find solutions to common challenges that benefit the industry as a whole. The networking and exchange of ideas that conferences facilitate help to move companies and industries forward – and speakers have a critical role to play in that.
Lead generation. Gain personal connections – emails, names, handshakes, friendships – with well-connected folks in the industry, as well as potential clients and client inquiries.
It’s like a huge brainstorming session. Being able to speak at conferences lets speakers put their opinion and influence out there (agree with them or not) and get people thinking about what they’re doing in their businesses and what they could/should be doing.
- Speaking comes with perks. Speakers get to enjoy all the benefits of the entire conference without paying any portion of the attendance fee – which is often several hundred dollars. Not bad for preparing and delivering a presentation on a topic you already know. Plus, speakers get the opportunity to catch up with colleagues and meet new partners in the business.
“While I’m a big believer in the power of the web to communicate and build community between people – I’ve found that it is the ‘real’ face to face interactions that I’ve been fortunate enough to have with readers, partners and colleagues that have been most fruitful. Speaking at a conference gives this ‘real’ or physical interaction – it has the ability to cement a relationship in a way that you just can’t do online. I also find that being a speaker at a conference gives you some level of credibility and perceived expertise. I started doing some speaking in the US in the past year and since that time have noticed the number of inquiries, requests and other opportunities have increased.” - Darren Rowse, Founder of b5media and ProBlogger.net
Here are a few tips:
- Maintain an internal events calendar to identify relevant conferences in advance. Many events have lead times of 6-9 months for call for speaker submissions. A few free sites to search for events include: CurrentPartnering.com, ConferenceAlerts.com, and AllConferences.com.
- Identify the best speakers and thought leaders in your company to have on the ready. Speak with your colleagues to find out who is the most suitable candidate for speaking engagements. The CEO may not always be the most suitable, for instance if it’s a conference or track aimed at Sales and Marketing.
- Customize your speaking abstracts. Some conferences want a high-level overview of the session, while others may require a case study or customer to show applications and success stories.
- Maximize your speaking submissions. Even if your abstract is not accepted, the practice of positioning executives within your company as "thought leaders" can provide a springboard for generating media exposure. Consider submitting your abstract to industry magazines, for example, imageSource Magazine. Offering expert analysis or commentary in industry outlets can be an excellent way to secure prominent placement and cultivate relationships with the media.
In conclusion, there are a lot of different reasons why someone should be a speaker at a conference. Depending on how you look at it each and every one of us is a product or a brand. This is true for people who own their own company, are partners in a firm, or are high visibility employees. To sum it up being a speaker gets you exposure, builds your brand, and can ultimately get you more business.
Have you submitted to speak at ITEX 2015 National Conference and Expo, taking place March 10-12, 2015 at the Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale, Florida? The submission deadline has been extended to Friday, September 5th. Submit today at: http://www.itexshow.com/conference/itex-2015-call-papers-submission-form.