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How to Effectively Market Yourself as a Speaker Before you take the stage, you have to effectively market yourself as a speaker.

By Wendy Keller

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If you dream of becoming a well-paid, professional speaker and have a solid speach ready to go, you may be asking yourself what the next step is.

Here it is: You want to find the people who will pay you to come in and share your message with their audience. To do this, you have to effectively market yourself as a speaker. And that takes three things: Preparation. Packaging. Promotion.

Get your content assembled and polished.

In almost 30 years of working with new, intermediate and advanced (famous name) speakers, I can tell you this: this first part is where the magic is! Companies hire speakers who they believe will deliver a message that somehow improves their bottom line. Your job is to find a way to create that clear deliverable with a strong message.

Without a strong message, laden with value for your potential audience, you won't get far. So be sure to build a strong message from the ground up.

Would-be speakers often approach me for help. It's common for them to start by saying, "I've got a great idea for a speech!" and then try to tell me about it. I don't listen for long, because here's the reality of business: it doesn't matter if you think it is great or if I agree with you. What matters is whether or not you can convince meeting planners to give you money for it.

Lucky for you, there's a way to figure that out before you waste your time. Here are some clever ways of finding out if what you've got is going to be popular or if you need to reposition it a little:

Spy on your topic at

Are there any books with a similar message? How well are they selling? (Hint: Scroll down to the middle of the Amazon page where it says "Product Details" and look for a ranking number. Numbers higher than 200,000 aren't selling well at all). If all the books on your topic are selling poorly, take it as a huge flashing warning sign.

Append the word "Speaker" to your topic niche on Google.

Not "inspirational speaker" or "business speaker" but "personal finance speaker" or "divorce recovery speaker" or "customer service speaker." Who else is talking about your topic? You want there to be at least a few! That shows that when you customize your message, there will be a market for it. It means some meeting planners are buying on this topic. The next question: Are you brave enough to customize? Make your content distinct from any other speaker's.

Add the word "Study" as in research study on Google.

"Personal finance research" or "Studies on Personal Finance" or "Personal Finance Statistics." See the thread? Are there any new, interesting, cool studies being done that prove your perspective on your topic is validated by third party research? Get a copy of those studies/surveys and use them to bolster your credibility when you pitch your speech and when you develop it. No third party studies? You better be speaking on a topic on which you have impeccable credibility or on which you have impressive related credentials. The competition is fierce!

Sketch out your idea.

What would someone hearing your content for the first time need to do first, second and third to achieve the benefit you're promising? That's the skeleton. Now add stories, statistics, humor and examples - that is the meat on the bones. Does your speech come together naturally? Does it flow logically?

When you get the first step right, your marketing progress will be a breeze! Positioning yourself as a speaker starts with creating a speech people will want to pay to hear.

I've taught just over 8,500 new speakers in my career, and many of them balk at the work, reassuring me their idea is brilliant enough that "everyone" will want to book them to speak. Actually, that's not how it works here on Earth. I think they are visualing becoming Tony Robbins or my client Jeff Hayzlett within a week or two. Just like anything you're building, it starts with a good, solid, well-laid foundation and then growing from there. Your bookings will start coming in when you get very clear on your well-developed topic so you know exactly how to pitch it and to whom.

Check back for Step 2: Packaging (or if you just can't wait for the next installment, click here.)
Wendy Keller

Literary Agent, Speaker Trainer and Entrepreneur

Wendy Keller is an award-winning former journalist, a respected literary agent, an author, speaker, acclaimed book marketing consultant, and branding expert. She is the author of Ultimate Guide to Platform Building (Entrepreneur Press®, 2016) and got her first job as a newspaper reporter as a 16-year-old college freshman. Since then, Wendy worked for PR Newswire; the Knight-Ridder newspaper chain; as managing editor of Dateline magazine; and as associate publisher of Los Angeles’ then-second-largest Spanish language weekly, La Gaceta. She works with authors, speakers and business experts to help them build and promote their brands. She founded Keller Media, Inc. in 1989.

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