How to Build a Better Speaking Page, Part 1

Now that public speaking has become my primary focus, I thought it was time I revamped my Speaking page. I thought I would document the process here, in the event that you are thinking about “going pro.” This is the first of two posts.

Michael Hyatt Speaking at a University

If you are an author—or want to be one—I highly recommend that you consider public speaking as part of building your platform. It is a great way to raise your visibility, promote your products, and develop credibility with your audience.

Before I began the actual re-tooling process, I studied the speaking pages of numerous professional speakers. I noted what I liked—and what I didn’t. I clipped my favorite pages to Evernote, so that I had easy access to them through the creative process.

Most importantly, I tried to evaluate these pages from the perspective of an event sponsor. This is my primary audience. Having been involved in planning hundreds of events through the years, I had a good idea of what is important to them as they are sourcing potential speakers.

I included the following components in my page. (You might want to open my new Speaking page in another window and refer to it as you read about the components below.)

  1. I decided on my “call to action” (CTA). In other words, what did I want the reader to do after reviewing my page? I used to invite them to “book me” (as in “call my booking agents and schedule me for your event”). But I now think that is too big of an ask.

    Instead, following the lead of some other speakers, I now invite them to “check my availability.” It’s a safer first step. When they click on the button, they go to a separate page with a brief form. The button looks like this:

    Red Button

    I also made the CTA button red to stand out from everything else on my blog and placed it in the upper-right-hand corner of the page, where I knew it wouldn’t be missed. (This is arguably the most important real estate on your page.) I also put a few other iterations of this button in the actual page text.

  2. I created a one-minute welcome video. Gail and I shot this in my study at home, My goal was to create empathy with the reader (i.e., the event sponsor) and provide a personalized preview of what was on the page. (The intro copy does essentially the same thing.)

    Welcome Video Screenshot

    In case you are interested, I used a Canon 60D camera on a tripod. I did not use any special lighting. I also used an Audio-Technia ATR 3350 lavaliere microphone with a mono-to-stereo adapter from Radio Shack.

    I also used an iPad 2 as a teleprompter, using the Proprompter HDi Pro2 from Bodelin Technologies. I decided to invest in this gear, since I have a number of instructional videos I plan to shoot in the future.

    I edited the video in iMovie and then uploaded it to Vimeo, which I like much better than YouTube. It has many more options, including the ability to use a minimalist video player and custom thumbnail image.

  3. I provided an overview of the page. I arranged the sections in the order that made the most sense to me. I also solicited the advice of my booking agents, who made some excellent suggestions.

    Regardless, I wanted the event sponsor to be able to navigate the page in whatever order made sense to them. Some may want to go first to the Most Requested Topics. Others may want to see the video clips first.

    Speaking Page Navigation

    So, I created a list of the subheads and then hyperlinked them to the actual sections. That way they can navigate the page in whatever order they choose and always come back to this index by clicking on the “Return to Top” link at the bottom of each section.

  4. I explained what they could expect. When someone buys a product, they are not just purchasing an artifact. They are buying an experience. The same is true in booking a speaker. They are not merely purchasing a speech, but the entire experience around the speech.

    This includes:

    • The ways in which my booking agents interact with the sponsor, including the promptness of their replies.
    • The first interaction with me via a pre-conference call.
    • My promotion of the event (assuming they want that) via my blog and social media networks.
    • A custom “Resource Page” for all the event attendees. It includes a copy of the slide deck I used in the presentation (embedded with SlideShare.net), along with links to books, blog posts, and other resources I believe will be helpful.

      Sample Resource Page

    • A quick follow-up with the sponsor after the event to make sure I hit the target.

In Part 2 of this post, I will cover the remaining elements of my Speaking page.

Questions: Have you considered creating a Speaking page in building your platform? If so, what do you need to do next?

Want to launch your own blog or upgrade to self-hosted WordPress? Watch my free, twenty-minute screencast. I show you exactly how to do it. You don’t need any technical knowledge. Click here to get started.

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are snarky, offensive, or off-topic. If in doubt, read My Comments Policy.

  • http://www.warriorshepherd.com/blog Dave Hearn

    This is another good informative post that I am bookmarking for later use!  I am a speaker first and author second, but I have yet to really beef up my about page.  

    I guess you could say it’s on my long-term to do list… but these are great recommendations.

  • http://www.leahadams.org Leah Adams

    My first passion is speaking, then writing. I revamped my speaker page, with the help of an internet marketing person earlier this year and we did a couple of the things you suggested. Your post gives me other things to consider and do in order to make my speaking page more attractive to potential event organizers. I really love the idea of an intro video.  As usual, you have provided valuable info to your readers. Thanks so much, Mr. Hyatt.

  • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

    Your speaker’s page is a real inspiration, Michael. I’ve met a lot of professional speakers through the Los Angeles chapter of the National Speakers Association. I went through their apprenticeship program a couple of years ago, and 80% of the program was on building a speaking business. They stressed the importance of a good speaker’s page and also the importance of interfacing well with event planners.

    That being said, many professional speakers are in the stone age when it comes to a web presence. A large number are still web 1.0 and haven’t been updated in years.

    As for me, I am looking for a good video solution to show off my speaking skills. I’m actually spending the week experimenting with different video styles to find something that I can do at home that will have a professional impact. I hope to put together a well organized speaking page later in the year, where prospective clients can see the impact of the speech, the materials provided, and the time element required. 

    One idea I had was to take a speaking topic, and make it available in different time lengths for different clients. Possibly 15 minutes for a business mixer, 30 minutes for a lunch time meeting and 45 minutes for a lunch or evening educational. The different time periods would be priced accordingly. My client focus would be small to medium size businesses and professional groups.

    The main thing I’ve found, is to build a platform that people want to know more about. You can be a great speaker, but if you don’t have topics that prospective clients are interested in, you won’t be speaking much. My current focus is to refine the platform, build the products, and then reach out to businesses. Hopefully this is a good strategy.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, John. Your strategy sounds good.

      One way to get video clips is to volunteer to speak somewhere that has good video gear and will record you in exchange for a reduced fee or partial speech.
      I always request to be recorded. Even if I can get a 1–2 minute clip, it is worth it. Thanks.

      • http://successbeginstoday.org/wordpress John Richardson

        Great idea, Mike. Many venues are upgrading their multimedia equipment and now include hi-def recording. How has your 60d worked out for you? It is an interesting option to a standard camcorder. Since it is flash memory based it will import directly into iMovie. Sounds like a great choice for stills and video.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          The 60D has been great. I love it. The video quality almost looks like film. I love how I can use my normal camera lens and control the depth-of-field (so the background is blurred). I don’t feel the need for any other video camera.

  • Anonymous

    Thanks Michael, great marketing content – again!

    I wonder if at some point, it might be worth talking about the underlying technology platform you have chosen to use, on which you build your online marketing platform..

    i.e. WordPress based site, and a design that speaks to your market in the way that works for them.. why this is your preferred platform, and why it works for you..

    For new authors and speakers, certainly this is something that I’m sure would be of great value too..

    Have an awesome week,
    Paul

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks. This is a good suggestion.

    • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

      I like this idea. I’m in the process of trying to re-design my blog (wordpress). Would love to know if there’s any recommendations here that can help with that process. I can do a lot myself. I just need some help with the bumps in the road. There may not be a place for it here. I know it’s not a tech blog. But maybe someone can recommend anyway.  :)

      • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

        You might want to Google WordPress designers and then check references. I have always found MilkEngine.com to be very good.

      • Anonymous

        Mark – this is an area I’ve been involved in for many years. Michael, if I may offer Mark a few tips – without hijacking the thread?

        Design is key of course, but design works best when done in alignment with other areas, which are often not the domain of graphic designers, areas such as marketing, social media, content syndication, usability and technical considerations. Design is best as part of a well thought out marketing strategy.WordPress is definitely the platform of choice. A simple clean design works best (site response times form part of Google’s algorithm – the faster your site, the better it ranks).

        The idea (unless you’re a media company) is to *not distract* the user with the design – let their attention fall naturally on the content, and the focus fall naturally on the solution to their problem/need.

        Make it as easy as possible for them to find what they want, and to connect with you.

        Be clear about your message, your voice, and how you decide to package that for your audience.

        Be clear about who your intended audience is, and build your site for them, and their needs. Your own preferences for colors and layout come further down the list..

        A quick note on WordPress – it is probably the most powerful platform for marketing yourself on the net, because it has been built from the ground up to do that. It is rich with marketing tools, and has an almost infinite supply of ‘plugins’ which can add just about any functionality you can  imagine – ridiculously easy online visibility and ease of maintenance for the owner are just two..

        ok.. I’m hijacking.. sorry Michael..

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Great hijack! Seriously. Thanks for responding.

          • Anonymous

            Thank you Michael. 

            This, and your site itself, is a great example of the new mindset of online marketing in action. A response oriented, education/value based, collaborative platform.

            [Ok - I'm going to nag you now until you allow me to do a guest post on my passion:"Wordpress Marketing for Professional Speakers and Coaches."]

          • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

            Wow! Thanks Paul & Michael!!
            This is very helpful. I am, actually, in marketing.
            I’ve got some avenues I could go for design with the suggestions made. But you’re the only person who seems to be able to put what I’m trying to communicate into the right words. Ha!

            It’s very challenging to get people to see the vision you have in your mind and translate that onto a blog.

  • Cheryl

    Great information.  I am working on building my platform; I’m a speaker and slowly becoming a writer.  This post provides practical direction.   Thank you for always sharing useful information.

  • http://www.forward-living.com W. Mark Thompson

    Thanks for mentioning all the gear you use. Very helpful. It’s also good to see you’re doing this mostly (if not all) yourself. Others who see this can have hope it can be done and there’s no need for an army of tech people to get this all up and running… and done well.

  • Eric Wyatt

    I have most of the information I need on my website, but in longer form, and not condensed into a “Speaker Page” format, as presented here. So, for me, it is adapting/shortening other content into a dedicated speaker/presenter page.

    Thanks for the post. Excellent stuff, as always.

  • http://blog.cyberquill.com Cyberquill

    I agree that “Check my Availability” is a better call to action than “Book Me,” as the latter sounds too much like some peculiar desire to get arrested. 

  • Chris Patton

    As always, a very informative post with easy-to-follow instructions!

    I am a business owner with a start-up blog that would love to get into speaking “down the road.”  What advice would you offer someone like me in preparing for that future opportunity?  How does one know when the timing is right to start?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If you are serious about starting, I would attend The Dynamic Communicators Workshop. This will save you years of trying to figure it out on your own. Joining a local toastmasters group would also be a great start.

      • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

        Thanks Michael!  I will look into both!

        One more question…chicken or the egg?  As I mentioned above, I am a small business owner (auto dealer) with a brand new blog about integrating faith and business.  I do not have people seeking me for speaking engagements!  

        Is the blog a first step toward speaking or is it the other way around?  If not, what are the first steps?  My overriding goal is to impact others for eternity (to hear “Well done.”)

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yes, I think your blog all create opportunities to speak if (a) you write content that people want to read and (b) you create a speaking page, advertising that you speak.

          • http://www.christianfaithatwork.com Chris Patton

            Thanks Michael.  

            And thank you for all of your posts about blogging.  You have inspired me to do this!

  • Blaforce7

    Michael, I would like to read some of your previous books, but all I can find on Amazon are a few quirky things about Y2K and the millennium, something about desert places and a chemical research conference. As an accomplished author, can you list your books for us? Thanks, Bob

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723753216 FrBarnabas Powell

    Mike, great direction. Now how do we apply these very good ideas to priests such as me who are seeing our own speaking engagements grow? What do you see as the unique (or perhaps not) challenges to our speaking engagements?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I think most of what I outline applies to your situation, too. However, you probably can’t be quite as self-promoting. I’d be interested to see what you come up with.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=723753216 FrBarnabas Powell

        You are probably right, but I wonder where the border? I’ll look for it and report back! :-) I’ll keep you posted.

  • http://www.sundijo.com Sundi Jo Graham

    This is an incredible post! Thanks for sharing. I definitely need to do some revamping. Did you use a plug in for your check availability? Also, I know you use Standard Theme, so do I. But did you have to do a lot of back end stuff to get your page that way? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The “Check Availability” button and form is all custom code. I couldn’t find a plugin, though you might be able to use Wufoo.com. Much of these other stuff is custom, too. Typically, what I do is design how I want it to look and function and then hire someone to code it.

  • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

    Michael, I love the tech insight you share here – letting us know how you created your videos etc.

    I remember that you had post about how to do a video interview a while back. Back then one of your points was that you need to look into the camera a lot instead of the image of the person you are interviewing to create the impression that you are connecting to the end-user. Your telepromter and the iPad could solve that problem and let you have an even nicer setting for your videos.

    How about displaying the video signal of the person you are interviewing on the iPad and displaying that on the telepromter when interviewing someone. That way you can look look at that person and see  gestures etc. and look into the camera at the same time.

    What do you think – would that work?

    I might finally have found a god reason to by an iPad – one that is plausible to my wife ;)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      The problem is that the iPad doesn’t provide a through-the-lens camera solution on it’s own. You could record two channels, but it be challenging to set up and sync — especially with the audio.

      • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

        Perhaps what I meant was not communicated well enough. The setup I have in mind is actually pretty simple. After some research I’m pretty sure this would work. This is what I suggested:

        1) Film your interviews as you always did (using Skype) but instead of your built in computer cam you connect your camcorder (or your 60D) and use it to record your own video signal. That lets you use the teleprompter hardware with your external camera.

        2) All video and sound would still be recorded in only one go as you always did before. There shouldn’t be any syncing problems.

        3) You could use the iPad as an external screen for your MAC /PC and drag the Skype interface on that second screen. Now when you use the iPad in connection with your teleprompter hardware you can see the person you are communicating with on Skype on your teleprompter. At the same time you’d be looking into your camera.

        It is still all done with only one computer and Skype only that you add some more hardware to it. Check out those apps that I found I have no connection to the creators in any way – those were the first products that popped up in my search that made sense.

        For MAC: http://avatron.com/apps/air-display

        For PC: http://www.maxivista.com/ipad_monitor.htm

        Let me know if that makes more sense to you know. Perhaps I’m missing something but from what I know by now this should work and produce nice results.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          I think this might work. It would take some more editing I think, unless you used your Webcam to shoot through the lens. (I don’t know good the Webcam would be at that distance. I’ll have to give this some more thought.
          If you end up trying this, let me know.

          Thanks.

          • http://www.philippknoll.com Philipp Knoll

            Thanks for your feedback on my idea as well! I’m already thinking of putting the parts together to test it the way I imagine this should work and I’ll keep you posted on this!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks so much for sharing this today, Michael. I was just revamping my website to cater to speaking as well. Your tips are helpful. And, I’ll have to get a prompter app for my Ipad. I never thought of that!

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Make sure you click on the link to the ProPrompter. It is more than an iPad app. It also requires a through-the-lens piece of hardware, so you are looking directly into the camera.

  • http://www.tnealtarver.wordpress.com TNeal

    I preach (e.g. public speaking) at area churches but your article broadens my perspective on the opportunity to share a message and build a larger network/platform. My focus is creating a brand as an author but, in order to do that, I’ve got to go “public” in as many ways as I can. As often happens, you make me think outside my little cubicle.

  • http://stopdoingnothing.com Patrick Allmond

    Mr. Hyatt also has a rocking plugin on his site called Gigpress. It allows you to list your upcoming events on your site, and then can automatically roll them over into a “Past Speaking Events” section. I added this to my site awhile back and It has been awesome. 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      I will mention this plugin in tomorrow’s post. Actually, I am not using it anymore. We wrote some new calendar code from the ground up. More about that tomorrow. ;-)

      • http://stopdoingnothing.com Patrick Allmond

        I am all ears about that plugin. 

    • Joe Lalonde

      That sounds like a killer plugin. I like to see what the speaker has done in the past and lament over the events I’ve missed (-:

  • http://thoughtsaboutnothing.com @kylereed

    Michael, you are masterful at your pages. You put so much time and effort into them and I think it really pays off. Thanks for providing a nice glimpse and peak behind the curtain as to your process. 

    I love your attention to detail. The way you thought through everything and the fact that you are willing to share with us why and how.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks, Kyle. I always figure that someone else can use the information, too. Best.

  • Joe Lalonde

    Thanks for the great information Mike! Lots of good things to put away in my bag of goodies.

    I agree with you that your CTA button stands out. Red is a color that attracts our eyes attention and it does it well. It’s also nice that you included what they could expect. It helps people to not be thrown a curve ball.

  • http://daredreamermag.com Ron Dawson

    It would be an honor for me to produce your video series for you Michael. Gratis of course. :) I sent an email via your G+ site, but don’t know if you got it. I think you were out of town at the time.

    • http://stopdoingnothing.com Patrick Allmond

      Ron – do you have a video production page to read? 

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Thanks for volunteering. Do you have a Website with some examples of your work? Thanks.

  • http://www.marydemuth.com Mary DeMuth

    Thank you, Mike. I can always count on you to spell things out clearly and give valuable information. (But drat, now this means I need to step up my speaking page!)

  • Pingback: How to Build a Better Speaking Page, Part 1 « tobyelizabeth

  • http://ericspeir.com/ Eric

    This is some great information. I would like to do more speaking in the future and you have given me a lot of great tools and resources to think about.

  • Pingback: How to Build a Better Speaking Page, Part 2

  • Pingback: How to Build a Better Speaking Page, Part 1 « michaelpanee

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for these two posts. I have clipped them both to my “Website Improvement” Evernote folder.

  • http://www.ricardobueno.com Ricardo Bueno

    Because taking it would be just down-right rude, I thought I’d ask… Michael, do you mind if I use the “check my availability” button for my speaking page? (If you prefer I don’t, no worries)

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Sure. Thanks for asking.

      You might also want to check an application called AppControls for Mac. It enables you to create gorgeous buttons. You might be able to create something even closer to your theme.

  • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

    Thanks for the excellent post again, Michael.

    A question regarding YouTube/Vimeo. The general idea to date has been ‘Vimeo for beauty but YouTube for impact’. ie, YouTube is still the better platform for diseminating the information to a broader audience. Can you comment on that, based on your decision of Vimeo over YT?

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      If I had a video where I was counting on YouTube or Video being the primary distribution vehicle, I would use YouTube. But, in my case, I am counting on my blog. With other videos, I typically post them on both.

      • http://sheridanvoysey.com Sheridan Voysey

        OK. Thanks for the reply, Michael.

      • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

        And I wasted a good 20 minutes trying to put a link in my video using YouTube annotations. Found out it isn’t possible. I like how your video, Michael, has the big link at the end, only possible in Vimeo I suppose.

        • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

          Yep, that’s why I started using Vimeo as my primary video platform.

          • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

            Hmm. I’ll be looking into it.

  • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

    Done! My wife and I created a speaker’s page. Long overdue, really. And we did it following YOUR advice. Thank you, Michael!

    Check it out: http://www.jeubfamily.com/speaking

    One added feature you may consider yourself: I added a “costs” bullet in my list. I delicately set the tone for a scalable speakers fee without boxing myself into a flat fee. Consider doing the same, as it will raise your “bottom bar” as you raise expectations.

    • http://michaelhyatt.com Michael Hyatt

      Great job, Chris!

      • http://www.jeubfamily.com Chris Jeub

        And we spent Sunday afternoon putting together a video, similar to your video. Check it out…thanks Michael!

  • Pingback: Erich Stauffer Video » Erich Stauffer