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Builds a brand personality: People like it when brands show off their human side and speaking at exhibitions, tradeshows or other events gives you a chance to get in front of your target audience and show them the face behind your company, allowing them to get better insights of how you work and to connect with your brand on a more human level.
Shows off your expertise: It’s all well and good people coming across your blogs and website content boasting that your knowledge of your industry proves you are above the competition, but sometimes hearing it from you in person solidifies their perception of your expertise. People can be more likely to buy from your business if they see that you know what you’re doing.
Positions you as a thought leader: Speaker gigs can give the ideal opportunity to give tasters about upcoming products and services or to try new ideas on a supportive audience. People like to experience new things and if you show them that you are always ahead of the competition, they’re might be more likely to choose you over others.
Can be daunting: You may be a genius in your industry, but it doesn’t mean you can stand up and speak about your service or product in an engaging way to your target audience. Not everyone has the confidence to get up and speak in front of hundreds of people, so it could be hard to achieve – and a poor presentation has the potential to be more damaging for your brand than no presentation. So make sure this is a key strength of yours – or delegate to someone in your team who has the confidence to be the face of the company.
Takes time: It’s not as simple as getting up on stage and talking for half an hour. There are a lot of factors that must be considered, all of which take up valuable time. You need to prepare what you’re going to say, create a PowerPoint or other form of presentation and take a day out of the office for the event. You also need to allow time for follow-up, to capitalise on the new leads that you have made; this means that on top of preparing for the presentation, you also have to make sure you have all your follow-up marketing in place before the event – and time set aside to execute it when you get back to the office.
Might not always work: Sometimes things can go wrong, and even with thorough preparation some events fall flat. There could be technical faults (always make sure you have a backup and can cope if your PowerPoint goes down!), you might be having an off day or only a small number of people may turn up. There are more things that could go wrong with speaking opportunities than some other marketing channels. That’s why it’s important to do your research before hand and get an idea of how it will play out.
Finding the right events – and getting invited to speak at them: The point that you may not have many people in your audience leads nicely onto the challenge of finding the right gigs. Many event organisers oversell likely attendance to potential speakers, especially for events where you have to pay for the privilege of a speaking slot. Very often, the only way to find out how good an event is for your marketing is trial and error: you have to give it to go to see how many people turn up and whether they are your target audience. On the other hand, it can be extremely hard to be invited to speak at prestigious events that you would give your eye to talk at; this creates a chicken-and-egg situation in which you have to build your brand as a speaker, which is hard to do when you can’t land good speaking gigs. If speaking is likely to be a key part of your marketing strategy, you may want to consider getting on the books of a professional speakers’ agency.