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.
In my previous post, I covered the first four components of my Speaking page. In this post, I will cover the last six. (You might want to open my new Speaking page in another window and refer to it as you read about the components below.)
After creating my call-to-action, welcome video, page overview, and list of expectations (see my previous post), I did the following:
- I wrote a specialized biography. In my previous Speaking page, I simply cut and pasted the copy from the About section of my blog. However, as I passed this section through the filter of what’s-important-to-an-event-planner, I realized that this needed to be totally re-written.
I started with my speaking experience. I also included my media experience, including some of the more noteworthy TV and radio shows I have been on. In my case, the interesting fact is the sheer volume. I have been on more than 1,000 shows.
Next, I presented my credentials, including my career history, the scope of my social media platform, and my prior publishing history. I ended with a brief personal paragraph about my family and personal interests. I think this puts a “human face” on the bio.
- I assembled a collection of video clips. This may be the most important section. It is where the rubber meets the road. At the end of the day, event sponsors want to know how you come across in front of a live audience.
Frankly, I still need better clips. This is a major focus this year. We try to get every sponsor to record my presentation on video. We are looking for 1–2 minute “moments” that represent me in a live context. It is amazing how many sponsors are willing to record you if you ask.
I also had a company here in Nashville take all my recordings and create a quick, two-and-a-half-minute video demo. (I plan to write more about them in another post.) This is something that sponsors can use with their committee or other decision-makers. I was very pleased with their process and ultimate product.
- I compiled my most requested topics. This required the most work. I had go back through the last three years of speaking and identify the topics that were the most popular and I felt were congruent with my “brand.”
I wrote a brief description of each topic, then I went through iStockPhoto.com and found a photo that I felt was iconic of that talk. I think the visual element is critical. I downloaded the photo and created a slideshow in iWork Keynote. I then exported each slide to create the “thumbnails” for this section.
- I collected endorsements from previous sponsors. These are important as well. Endorsements provide third-party validation. Others are able to say things about you that you could never say about yourself.
As a matter of procedure, I always ask sponsors to provide an endorsement immediately after I speak. This is when my speech is the most fresh in their mind. It is also the point where they are the most excited and likely to write a testimonial.
I used the endorsements in two ways. I provide the full endorsement in the right-hand sidebar. However, I boiled down the endorsement to the crème de la crème and include them in a WordPress “slider” in the main body copy. I used NivoSlider for this. It looks like this:
- I inserted a calendar of upcoming events. As a speaker, the busier your calendar is the better. It demonstrates you are in-demand. This helps validate the claims you are making elsewhere.
I used to use a WordPress plugin called GigPress, which I still recommend. It is excellent. However, for this iteration of my Speaking page, I had my web developer write some custom code. I wanted to be able to announce each engagement via a mini-post on my blog and then have that post automatically included on my calendar.
I also wanted to show the full list of engagements, providing the event planner (or someone just interested in hearing me speak) with the ability to expand the event and see more detail.
- I included a picture of me speaking. Visually, it is important for event sponsors to see you in action. I wanted a picture of me having fun in front of a big audience. This enables sponsors to visualize you in front of their audience. It is important to have a professional photographer take the picture.
I would think carefully about what you want to portray in the picture, then communicate to the photographer what you are after. I would also ask him or her to take plenty of audience shots as well.
I am sure I will improve this as I go, but this was a major step-up from my previous page. I thought it might be helpful to you as you think through creating something similar.