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The 5 Steps to Marketing Yourself as a Speaker Preparation, packaging, and promotion will make the difference between whether you get paid to speak or not.

By Wendy Keller

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You've got a speech topic and you know what benefit it will bring to all who hear you. You've invested in a phenomenal website and its accoutrements. You're like a teenage girl sitting there in your fancy prom dress, looking out the window, ready to go. When will your date show up? Time moves so slowly as you anticipate that phone starting to ring.

After a few months of believing "If you build it, they will come" most would-be speakers start feeling frustrated, rejected, and hurt. Some may find their enthusiasm for speaking starts to wane. Maybe they will give up before they even really give their speaking business a chance to succeed.

Because right in this moment, at this stage, as you're about to leap onto the world scene at last -- this is where the speakers and the wanna-be's come to the fork in the road. Believe it or not, no matter how delightful you, your speech and your website are, meeting planners are not looking for you.

In fact, you probably don't even show up on the first page of Google yet if they search for your type of speaker. (Try it and see!) And none of their friends have heard you speak yet, so you won't get those precious word-of-mouth referrals. And that nice meeting planner from the company six states away who promises you that you'll surely get bookings if you spend your own money to fly to their event, pay for your own hotel room and speak for free? Yeah. Good luck with that, newbie.

The time has come for you to promote yourself like a maniac. This is vital during the lift-off stage of your new career. Start by following these five steps:

  1. Find out which companies are having meetings in the next 12-18 months. Do they bring in outside speakers?
  2. Research the names of the meeting planners in charge of bringing in the speakers for those events.
  3. Sleuth out meeting planners' contact information.
  4. Write a compelling 3-4 sentence introductory pitch
  5. Summon up the courage to email, follow-up call, email, follow-up call, and email each of them. In that order during the first 10-14 days.

I have a speaker client in Louisiana, now retired, who had his assistant send five physical pitch packages to five meeting planners every workday. The following Monday, he would call the previous Monday's five meeting planners, assuming they'd gotten the mail by then. He'd pitch them on hiring him, or at least do an "introducing myself" call. She sent five packages a day, he made five phone calls a day. Anyone can find time for five phone calls! 50 weeks per business year x 25 calls per week = 1,250 calls.

He was averaging 80 paid engagements each year, and after we had fixed some of his marketing parts, he was getting almost double the money per engagement! This man was making more than $100,000 each quarter!

If you don't market yourself in the beginning of your speaking career, no one else will ever take you on and market you later, because you will fail before you get off the ground. Your responsilbility is to market yourself so well that you can easily train in your marketing strategy and easily afford a marketing person to work for you.

Preparation, packaging, and promotion will make the difference between whether you get paid to speak or it just remains on your "Maybe Someday" list. Take advantage of the information in this article to get yourself to achieve your goal. For more valuable insider information on how you can get paid to speak, click here.

Wendy Keller

CEO and Founder of Keller Media, Inc.

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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