Once upon a time, in the heyday of events and tradeshows—and we’re only talking a decade ago—companies flocked to the podium for a chance to tout their wares in front of massive audiences. But like many good things, speaking opportunities took a hit on the heels of the dot-com bust and subsequent years of corporate belt-tightening.
Not only did the number of events and tradeshows dwindle, but even the surviving opportunities saw a significant drop in attendees. For their part, marketing and public relations departments struggled to justify sending an executive or subject matter expert to speak to, in many cases, just a handful of attendees.
Today, however, as companies work to pull out of the economic downturn, we’re seeing a resurgence of speaking opportunities. It’s not so much a numbers game, as the volume of events, tradeshows and speaking venues remains a fraction of what once was. But the more savvy and creative PR practitioners are realizing the value of speaking opportunities in the new world.
Beyond the Seats
The success of a speaking opportunity can no longer be measured by the physical audience. Whether there’s tens or thousands in attendance, it’s important to realize the broader reach of a speaking opportunity. The ability to post presentations, webcasts, videos and the like online now create a virtual audience of millions for your content. Moreover, most program directors will provide marketing of your content and company through their promotional tools.
You Have What it Takes
How many times have you attended or viewed a presentation yourself and thought “I could do as good, if not better, job than this speaker!” Chances are, you can—so what’s stopping you? PR departments should leverage their well-spoken leaders and content experts to get their company, products and services out there. Not only does it create a perception of market leadership, but it’s often a great networking opportunity with your industry peers.
Splash it Everywhere
The content you build for a speaking opportunity can, and should, be presented, published and promoted at every turn. Seek ways to deliver the same content in different ways—through your website, a white paper, an industry article, and certainly social media. Just posting it online or writing a blog, for example, extends the reach of your material, as web crawlers and search engines will pick up the keywords and surface it to a much broader audience.
Speaking of, our next blog post will go more in-depth on how to get your voice heard through social media, including blogs, Facebook, Twitter and the like. Until then…