It’s time to cut to the chase – it is what every speaker wants. It is the golden secret to getting more gigs and making more money. Let me disappoint you immediately. There is no free ride or simple one-time tweak that will make you a millionaire speaker.
Being a professional means you work at your craft. It means you treat your business like a business and invest in yourself and in your marketing. There are, however, some things that you can put into practice that will get you a LOT closer and help you get hired more!
1. Have Good (working towards great) Content
The old adage of speakers speaks – ‘get out there can only work if you first have something to say’.
Am I saying your talk has to be polished and perfect? Of course not. And between you and I, the day you think your talk is completely perfect is the day you have stopped growing and your career may be in jeopardy. But you do have to have something to talk about? You need to be an expert at something.
You need to have a ‘wheelhouse’ or a list of topics that work together. Maybe you are able to ‘talk about anything’. But as soon as that “just hire me, I will do anything you want” message gets out there your credibility is gone. There is no way you are a master of every topic. So you are now seen as a jack of all trades, and most know that a general handyman is very different from an architect.
My colleague Jane Atkinson hosts an amazing podcast for Wealthy Speakers, and I love this episode with Elayne Frose in particular because it talks about understanding your wheelhouse.
2. Be Good at what you do
It’s not rocket science. You may be hired once if you are an average speaker with good marketing. But you will not enjoy the massive income booster that is a repeat and referral business.
If you want to get hired more, be a better speaker. Invest in presentation style coaching, learn to incorporate humour in your talks by taking some improv classes, and find your own way of commanding a room.
Do what feels right to your brand and do not let a presentation coach turn you into a “carbon cut out” of themselves. Never lose your authenticity on stage, it is more valuable than you may understand.
3. Make Yourself Easy to Hire
Common website mistakes like having no contact information. Or worst, burying it on a contact us page and forcing decision-makers to go find it. This will kill you.
If you want to get hired more, make sure your phone number, email address, LinkedIn whatever you use to communicate with your buyers is prominently displayed on every single page. You can have it in your navigation bar, or use a stationary widget as I use on the side of my website.
I like to repeat it in the footer, just in case someone missed it the first time.
4. Have a Web Presence
Should this even be here? Logic tells me ‘no’, but experience tells me ‘yes’. I have been contacted by aspiring speakers who want help getting booked and have no website, and are still using firstname.lastname@example.org as their email address.
If a high-end speaker site is out of your reach, then at least have a LinkedIn profile and a Facebook business page that showcases your talent and topics, and I mean at least. If you want to get hired more, you have to start treating speaking like a business, not a hobby. Businesses get invested in. Invest in yourself and your speaking business.
If the investment is an issue, consider the Emerging Speaker Website package for a budget-friendly but supercharged option to get your business going.
5. Build a Killer Biography
Your bio is not a boring list of all the things you have done. It is not your resume. I like to have 2 versions of my bio – a short version (100 words or less) and the ‘regular’ version.
The short version will be used by promoters and will often be required when you are a featured speaker in a program. The longer version can be featured on your website for those that love to do research and need all the information before they make their decision. But understand a long bio will not often be read.
Your bio, along with everything you write in your marketing, should encourage people to lean in, and want to get to know you better. It is not only about what you’ve accomplished, but it should also be about who you are and what you value.
Your biography is NOT your introduction by the way – read my blog post here to understand the difference.
6. Incorporate Good Video into your Marketing
Usually, this tip would read “use video” – but I had to insert the word good. I decided it was necessary when I was shown a speaker’s sizzle reel that included shots of the audience yawning and the speaker walking out of the frame.
Your video is a tool that decision-makers will use to help them decide if you make it to the shortlist – and how much further you will go after that. Not having a video is bad, but having a bad video is worse.
7. Use Social Media Effectively
Too often I will check out a potential client (yes, of course. I do research on you to see if we are a good fit before I work with a client, and so do decision-makers) and I will see a LinkedIn profile that has not had a post or article in months or a Twitter account that still shows ‘the egg’ and was obviously abandoned a year ago.
Or I will check out their personal Facebook page and read their political views posted in a very judgmental way. Or even worse, see nothing of ‘them’ on the page and it is a litany of “my latest program” and “buy now” calls to action.
There is a reason we call it SOCIAL media. It means you are deciding how much of your personal information you are allowing the world to see. If all we see is a ‘hunter’ out there prowling for gigs, it does not make us prone to choose you. Desperation has a very unique scent and it is not pleasant.
8. Have a Stellar Website
I could talk for days about how to build a speaker website that sells (wait, I do just that) so I can’t not mention it here.
There are so many things to take into consideration when you build your website. But first and foremost remember you are building it to appeal to the people hiring you – not necessarily to your audience. The difference is that audience members are the ones receiving the message, and yes – they need to be thrilled, but the person who hired you.
The company that paid you to get a specific result is the person you absolutely must deliver for and they are the ones you need to speak to in your marketing.
I have written quite a few blogs about the elements that are necessary for a good speaker’s site. Feel free to check them out.
9. Don’t forget your One Sheet
There is a lot of debate going on about the relevancy of your Speaker One Sheet. Are meeting planners using it? Do I need it for bureaus, and what about corporations?
The bottom line, some decision-makers will find it immaterial and will never look at it. Some will print it out and throw it in a file, and some will use it to present you as a prospective speaker to their organization.
If those people can’t find it, or you simply do not have one, you are not going to make that shortlist. Never make it hard for people to hire you! Give them every tool, every opportunity to say yes. And your One Sheet just might be the tool you have that the #2 candidate did not.
10. Be Seen
What do I mean by ‘be seen’? I mean remain on your target client’s radar. Produce great content through blogs, videos, podcasts, or articles. Write for magazines and newspapers. Get as much publicity as you can by being interviewed on other professional’s podcasts or TV shows. Try inviting your favorite clients to be on YOUR podcast to showcase something cool they have implemented. Leverage your publicity.
And one bonus point to get hired more…
11. Don’t forget your Why
Remain alive and vibrant and excited about what you do and the people you serve. Never forget, your purpose is to serve brilliantly. If you are speaking to hear yourself talk, you are in the wrong business. Every successful speaker I have ever met speaks because they have a passion for something burning a hole in their soul, and they have to let it out. They want to serve with passion and excellence, and they want to be paid for their service.
So go ahead, be excited without going over the top. Look for ways to add value to the lives of anyone you meet – even if that value is a simple smile or a #PibworthHug. You never know whom you are talking to at a party or networking function. Or who will catch your enthusiasm and want to join you in your mission.