Conferences can be expensive ways to market yourself and your company because although you may get a free ticket as you’re speaking, there are often travel costs and hotel bills to take into consideration, plus you’re out of the office for a while.
If you’ve been lucky enough to land a speaking gig at a conference or industry event, think about how to maximize the reach and return on revenue of your presentation. Speaking at an event shouldn’t just be about the people in the room. Too often business professionals focus on the speech and not how to optimize it for maximum effect.
Here are some simple ideas to help you reach way more people through smart digital placement of content and social interaction:
1. Do pre-event promotion.
Conference organizers are crying out for you to help them promote their event. Offer to write a blog post on your website about your speaking slot and ask them to share this post on their social-media channels. Ask if the event has an official list of press contacts and put yourself forward as available for interviews, video coverage or testimonials.
If the event has a Twitter handle, do some budget advertising of your talk by targeting the event hashtag to drive people to your room and generate awareness of your subject matter among followers of the conference who can’t be there in person.
2. Add social signals to a presentation.
Right from the start of your speech, give people in the room a signal that you want them to tweet your talk and mention you in the same 140 characters. By simply adding your Twitter handle to your first title slide and referring to it, you’re opening the gates for people to amplify your session beyond the assembled delegates. And you'll be able to track the conversation via a tool like Tweetreach.
Adding your Twitter handle to the bottom of your slides helps brand them as yours should a hastily snapped photo of your wisdom end up on the web by way of a blog post covering the event. This is another way of attributing your content to you and helping this effect linger long after your time slot is over.
3. Make the talk snackable.
If your session will last 30 minutes, consider creating three 10-minute chapters, each with different content. Then if your talk is being filmed, those 10-minute chunks can be optimized individually for YouTube so they will be ranked relevantly for related keyword searches. Better to have three small pieces of content than one big one.
Also try to pepper your talk with tweetable sound bites that avid sharers will want to amplify with their followers. When you arrive at those sound bites, say them slowly and repeat, just so your words will be quoted correctly.
4. Follow up and engage.
It’s too easy to step off the stage when your talk is over and think your work is finished. If members of the audience have been sharing nuggets of your thought leadership on Twitter, spend some time thanking them, asking for feedback and send them a link to your presentation on SlideShare and suggest they share it, too.
The biggest social-media failure for those in business is failing to remember to engage people. Digital media has given business leaders the rich gift of real-time touch points. Remember to not broadcast all the time but listen and interact.
Speaking gigs need not be a time and money sink if you’re maximizing your experience for a return on revenue, before, during and after your talk. Be disciplined about creating a plan for optimizing your time onstage for sharing with people outside the room. Not only will it do wonders for your personal brand and company, but you’ll be asked to speak again and again.