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It’s Time to Get Real About Speaking Gigs

April 17, 2019
Picture it: You’re sitting in the audience of the conference you attend every year, notepad balanced on your lap, PowerPoint slides displayed on a large monitor in front of you. The speaker line-up is filled with industry experts, thought leaders and even peers, who share their perspectives on the latest trends, client challenges or hot-button topics of the moment. Inspiration hits you, mid-presentation, and you think of a similar topic on which you could share your expertise, based on your background or issues you’ve faced in the field.

This is the point where most of us stop ourselves and think, “Yeah…right.” We remember our calendars and to-do lists — the ones that are jam-packed with client tasks, team meetings and personal commitments. We ask ourselves, “Who has time to present at these conferences? Would they even add value to my business?” 

We’re here to set the record straight, once and for all. The truth is that speaking opportunities can give your advisory business the big, next-level boost you’re looking for — but (yes, there’s a “but”) you won’t be successful if you don’t have a strategy in place.
 
What's Your Why? 

Your decision to become a financial advisor likely wasn’t happenstance. Whether you were driven by past experience, or perhaps a fascination with finance and the power of the markets, your professional career was born out of passion — a purpose. 

When deciding whether or not to pursue a speaking opportunity, start with your purpose. Are you trying to:
  • Connect with Your Target Audience? Speaking at conferences is a fantastic way to increase your exposure and get in front of your ideal clients. Whether you’re leading a presentation or sitting on an expert panel, you’ll get a rare opportunity to spread your message in a direct, compelling manner. If your goal is to grow your client base or bring awareness to your expertise on a particular issue, tailor your applications for speaking opportunities to that area of focus or set your sights on conferences geared toward a particular niche. 
     
  • Build Credibility? If your goal is to connect with like-minded centers of influence (COIs) or practitioners who specialize in your area of expertise, securing a speaking opportunity helps position you as a credible, forward-thinking thought leader who is well-versed in what matters most to their clients. Not only will you broaden your network and boost referral opportunities, but you’ll also increase your chances of being asked to speak at additional events, in front of new and relevant audiences.
     
  • Polish Your Skills? When evaluating potential speakers for their agendas, conference organizers often ask for a list of previous speaking engagements. This allows them to gain a better understanding of your experience with public speaking and how your presentations have been received by other, similar audiences. If you’re new to the speaker circuit, you may use your first few appearances as practice for larger-scale events. Testing the waters by speaking at smaller, regional conferences, study groups, COI meetups or even client appreciation events can give you the foundation you need for more high-exposure opportunities.
How Will You Continue the Conversation?

At Beyond AUM, we regularly help our clients identify and secure the right speaking opportunities to increase awareness, better position their brand and boost exposure to their target audience.

If you’ve worked with us before, you know that we live and breathe by the COPE approach (“Create Once, Publish Everywhere”). The benefits of COPE are two-fold: It allows you to gain traction from proven marketing efforts that have already driven results for your business, and it makes your life easier (and who doesn't want that?). When you think about the best ways to get the most out of speaking opportunities, keep this approach top of mind:
  • Perfect the Art of the Follow-Up. Was your audience vocal with opinions or questions about a specific aspect of your presentation? After the conference, write a blog post that recaps common FAQs or dives deeper into the area of your talk that garnered the most feedback. Distribute it to your audience with a call-to-action to contact you to learn more. Explore syndication opportunities to get your message out to the public. The key is to keep ahold of — and capitalize on — your audience’s interest long after the event is over.
     
  • Leverage a Lead Magnet. Once you’ve written your blog post summing up key takeaways from your talk, repurpose it and make it available via a landing page, perhaps in exchange for your audience’s contact information. The purpose of this is to encourage a reciprocal relationship with your audience: You’re providing them with valuable education and expertise on a topic they care about, while getting the opportunity to continue the conversation and amplify your message.
     
  • Send a Survey. Consider asking your audience to take a brief survey asking for their feedback on your presentation, as well as the top related topics they want to learn more about. Use these insights to determine a suitable, relevant topic for your next speaking opportunity, or use the information for other purposes, from blog posts to focuses for client appreciation events.
A friendly FYI: I'll be serving as a moderator at the 2019 Invest in Women conference. My panel, "Who Do You Think You Are? 21st Century Marketing," takes place on April 30. If you're planning on attending the conference, please reply to this email — I would love to connect!
 






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Beyond AUM · 1628 W Irving Park Rd Suite 1W · Chicago, IL 60613-2586 · USA

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