Top Free Press Release Sites and Why You Should Bother

By Lori

Have you ever sent out press releases announcing a new development in your business and then had reporters blowing up your phone, dying to interview you?

No? Don’t worry. You are not alone.

Unless your company is Apple or Google, the press just doesn’t care much about your latest client acquisition or personnel change. So as a busy entrepreneur, why would you bother to craft, post and send out press releases if it isn’t likely to get media coverage for your business?

Here’s why:

First, you *may* get media coverage for your business’ news. It’s possible, it’s just not that likely. And keep in mind that your best chances for press attention lie with your local media, so always be sure to include them in any of your public relations efforts.

But even without major media coverage, writing and posting interesting and newsworthy press releases can boost your business fame factor.

1. A press release creates backlinks to your website. Google and other search engines use the number of links to your website as a factor in determine how your site ranks in a search engine. (Now, the ‘authority’ of the website linking to yours has a HUGE impact on how your site ranks, but more links are always better than fewer.)

2. It expands your ‘digital footprint’. The more mentions and links to your business name your name and website, the more credible you’ll seem to your prospects.

Here’s some insider scoop:

There are a gazillion free press release sites on the web. The two that perform best are: PRLog.com and WidePR.com. And even though both are free services, extperts recommend that you pay the $20 or so dollars to upgrade because it  widens distribution and more importantly, allows you to create keyword anchor text (otherwise known as links to your website!)

Your fame-building assignment:

  • Brainstorm a few newsworthy stories about your business – it could be a national trend that you’re seeing in your own work, an event you’re holding or how you’re supporting a worthy cause.
  • Craft a press release (try to model a real news story) and post it on one or both of the free press release sites.

Share Your Brilliance with Slideshare

By Lori

There’s a valuable online tool that can build your reputation and boost your fame factor. Best of all, it’s easy to use, versatile and completely free.

I’ll bet you’ve got content – items like powerpoint/keynote presentations, articles and graphics that would interest and amaze your ideal client – if only they knew about it. Deep in the recesses of your computer, you’ve got material that educates, demonstrates your process, shares your point of view.  Unleash your brilliance on the world by sharing it on Slideshare!

Slideshare.net is an online slide hosting service, the world’s largest community for sharing presentations. You can upload PowerPoint and Keynote presentations, Word and PDF documents, and video to the site and then share it, publicly or privately.

How can sharing your material in an online community attract clients and build buzz for your business? Here are three awesome benefits that Slideshare can bestow on your business:

1. Establish your reputation. It’s a given that speaking is the best way to gain credibility and attract clients. Slideshare lets you demonstrate your expertise on a topic or start a movement by sharing presentations, videos, ebooks, or graphics that educate or inspire your target audience.

2. Help future clients find you. When you’re writing the description of your Slideshare presentation, be sure to use relevant keywords and phrases that your ideal client types into Google to get the kind of help that you offer. Once you’ve uploaded your material, it stays on Slideshare, gathering views and downloads (if you allow that) forever – the most popular presentation on the site has been viewed nearly 10 million times!

3. Share the love on your own website, too. One of the coolest features of Slideshare is that, after you’ve uploaded your document, you have the ability to embed the presentation on your own website (or anywhere you wish). Just click on the link labeled “embed”, copy the entire string of computer code and paste it on your own website. Voila, the presentation appears on your site, complete with its own player. Check out a couple of mine here.

Now what?

Take a few minutes right now. Scoot on over to Slideshare.net and set up your free account. Then, start sharing your brilliance with the world!

The best free publicity tool you’ve never heard of

By Lori

Free Publicity - USNPL

“Roommate wanted.”

I see a version of that request at least once a week on forums across the web. (And no, it’s not some Tinder-esque come on.)

The “roommate” request is just a cheeky euphemism for sharing a media database. It’s something solo public relations professionals and small PR companies do, to offset the cost of subscribing to professional media databases.

Publicists and PR agencies spend thousands annually for subscriptions to popular PR databases. (For those who are new to the PR game, a PR database contains the names of media outlets, like magazines and websites, along with contact information for the outlet’s journalists and editors.)

Prices for some of the market-leading subscriptions can range from $2000 to $12,000 a year. If you’re spending most of your day finding and pitching media for coverage, that’s not bad. Spread across multiple clients, it definitely makes sense. But for professionals and small business owners, it can be overkill.

How about a much less expensive alternative? As in completely f-r-e-e!

USNPL - US Newspaper List

It’s USNPL, aka the US Newspapers List. However, it’s so much more than newspapers – USNPL is a free database of television station, radio station and newspaper contacts. (US only, though.) But wait, there’s more: the site also has a list of colleges by state, along with their newspapers.

How USNPL works

The USNPL site features contact information, mailing addresses for US newspapers, radio and TV stations. Looking for online media? Start here.

Most entries have links to:

  • The outlet’s website
  • Contact information, including address, phone, fax, and manager/editor
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Video

The newspapers section event has a link to Local Weather & Forecast.

Free media resource USNPL - links to newspapers' websites, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube

Plus, for only $40, you can download the mailing addresses and phone numbers of over 1000 television stations. (Giddiness, people! That’s what you’re feeling.)

Because USNPL lets media contacts update their own entries, it’s remarkably accurate for a completely free resource.

What you can do with it

The site lets you search for contact info for U.S. newspapers, TV stations and radio stations by state. Once you get a list of outlets, you can go directly to the media outlet’s website, or click on links to their Facebook pages and Twitter feeds.

Beef up your local media outreach

Pick your target media outlets and follow them on Twitter. Re-tweet, reply to and comment on their tweets. Build, build, build that relationship, people.

Lather, rinse and repeat for Facebook.

Share their YouTube videos.

Make a splash in a new city

Let’s say that you work for a company planning to open an office in a new city in a few months. Plan ahead and build those relationships now!

Look up the media outlets in that county and start gathering contact information, reading the articles, watching the news reports and creating relationships with the newsmakers through social media.

Then, when your new office opens, you’ll be positioned to get more than the perfunctory press release mention.

Author or speaker traveling to another city?

If you already have a visit to another city on your schedule, try the same approach as above. Find the contacts and create some warm relationships. Then, a few weeks before your visit, pitch a segment for their local morning show or an article about your speaking appearance in the local paper.

When you add USNPL to some of the other top free media tools, like HARO and MuckRack, you’ve got an amazing roster of resources. Use them to get your message into the minds of people who need it, wouldya please?!

Your fame boosting assignment:

There are sooo many ways you can use the USNPL goldmine. Pick one goal – say, increasing your local media presence or warming up a new city before your debut – and spend the next ten minutes finding media outlets and following them on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.

We’re waiting for more of your magic.

How to get speaking engagements at associations, companies and conferences

By Lori

Speak at Associations, Companies and ConferencesEdward writes,

“I have given speeches at Rotary Clubs & Kiwanis groups. I want to know how to approach associations, companies, conferences, conventions, etc. – for speaking engagements. Also, should I offer free speeches at these groups in the beginning?”

Edward, thank you for asking the question!

And the answer is…. Yes.

Okay, let me say a little more about that.

Yes, you should offer free speeches to these groups in the beginning for three BIG reasons:

  1. Free speeches build your name recognition.
  1. Speaking for free gives you an opportunity to hone your delivery and your material until it ignites hearts and minds.
  1. Free speaking can also be a gateway to other moneymaking avenues that stem from speaking, like private consulting, training, coaching or product sales.

But here’s news that may shock you: even after you’re “established,” you might also be giving free talks. Only now, they’ll be at the biggest, most prestigious events.

Gasp.

It may sound counterintuitive, but among the most successful speakers, there’s no hard and fast line between speaking for big fees and speaking for free.

Public speakers who use speaking to grow their business, motivate the masses or those who want to make a living of being on stage understand that sometimes, you’ll speak for free because it’s a smart return on investment.

Chris Widener, a personal development and leadership speaker who commands $20,000 a speech told Forbes he’ll “also speak – often for free – at large multilevel marketing conferences large where he sells a variety of products he’s created, including sets of CDs and DVDs, e-books, and hard copy books.”

His take home haul from those events is far north of $20,000.

And now let’s look at how things generally work in the Association/Company/Conference speaking world.

(As always, your mileage may vary.)

Members only_sm

ASSOCIATIONS

Looking for the best way to kick off your association speaking tour?

Start locally.

When you’ve found an industry or association that’s a good fit for your speaking or training topics, offer to present to a local chapter first.

Then, once you’ve delivered a fabulous experience, chapter members will recommend you to other chapters and even to the larger regional or national organization as a speaker.

You see, association chapter leaders communicate and support other chapter leaders by sharing valuable resources…which could include you!

(Within each local chapter of an association, there are often several members who participate in organizing statewide, regional or national events, too.)

How to approach associations for speaking opportunities

You can reach out to these associations cold, and hope that your email and phone calls are persuasive.

And you can send big fat speaker kit packets and cross your fingers.

But I’ve found a different method to be more effective than the “spray and pray” approach.

Find someone in your network who knows someone in that organization:

  • Email or call friends, neighbors, and colleagues, asking if they know anyone involved in the association.
  • Ask people you meet at events if they know anyone in your target association.
  • Look up the association on LinkedIn, which will often show if you have a second-degree connection to one of the association’s members.

Here’s why this approach works better than cold calling: people often ignore solicitations from strangers. After all, association staffers and volunteers are busy.

But a request from a friend or business colleague? That gets an answer.

Of course, if you just can’t find a “warm” connection, go in cold and heat it up! Follow these simple steps:

1. First, spend some time looking at the organization’s website, event calendar and social media to get to know the types of events it holds, topics covered and speakers.

2. Next, find the staff or board listing (in the case of a volunteer-run organization) on the website. Often, you’re looking for someone with Education, Programs or Events in their organizational title. If those are missing, go straight for the Director or President.

3. Then, craft your pitch. Don’t be salesy, but do include a clear description of your topic, your bio and why your topic is a good fit for the organization.

4. Finally, send it off to the organizational contact you found.

5. Follow up as needed. (That usually means two or three times at the most.)

COMPANIES

The process for getting speaking opportunities with companies is similar to working with associations.

Find your target companies. Then search your network (using the same process as you did with associations) for a connection to the company, who can then introduce you to the right person to hear your pitch.

If you can’t find a connection, approach local companies directly, often through their Human Resources, or training and development groups. (However, depending on your topic, you may reach out to specific departments, like Sales.)

Here, too, giving a talk or workshop that moves hearts and minds will go a long way toward getting you booked for multiple sessions, long-term training or with other organizations.

Bonus tip: members of associations are often employees of companies! Own the stage at that association chapter meeting first, and then ask the audience members to suggest companies and other organizations that could benefit from hearing your talk.

Another client includes this question on her presentation evaluation form.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you're basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

The best time to ask for more speaking referrals is when you’re basking in the warm glow of a successful speaking gig.

CONFERENCES

Conferences range from one-time gatherings to recurring local, statewide, regional and national events, often organized by associations, companies and media partners.

Some conferences are organized informally, and seek speakers who are recommended by members and peers. (These are typically smaller events.)

Other events have a formal submission process, starting with a Call for Presentations or Call for Speakers. Speakers are typically vetted by a committee that evaluates submissions based on the event’s theme and desired topics as well as the speaker’s experience, reputation and speaking ability.

Pro tip #1: Event organizers know that getting bums in seats is much harder than it used to be.

That’s why some organizers prefer speakers with a large platform – speakers are expected to help market the event to their own subscribers and social media followers.

Pro tip #2: Don’t assume that bigger is better when it comes to getting paid to speak.

I’ve spoken at local, regional and national events from the same industry association. Here’s what happened at each:

  • The local event did not pay a speaker’s fee, but I have gotten referrals for business from people who attended my workshop.
  • The regional conference (a gathering of the members across 6 or 7 states) paid travel expenses and a small stipend.
  • The national conference did not pay a speaker’s fee, nor did it cover travel expenses, contending that speaking at its national conference was an honor beyond payment.

Sad truth: The no-pay for session speakers policy is not unusual. In fact, it’s more common than not. While headliners like New York Times bestselling authors, top athletes, and newsmakers like astronauts, business and political figures may score $15,000 to $75,000 for a single conference keynote, breakout speakers are paid in “exposure.”

Just this week, one of my clients was asked to submit a proposal as a break out speaker for an upcoming national conference.

Here’s what she’d get, if selected:

“Presenter Benefits

  • Opportunity to influence the practice of [industry] and to enhance the future of the profession
  • Promotion of presenter’s credentials on the [Association] website, in Convention programs, and in print and electronic marketing materials including the [Association] 2016 Convention App
  • Recognition of presenter’s subject matter expertise by [Association]
  • Full complimentary registration to the 2016 [Association] International Convention & Expo in Philadelphia.

[Association] does not pay per diem, honoraria or expenses for session presenters.

Is it a universal truth that conferences don’t pay breakout speakers? No, but the practice is common and new speakers are often surprised to learn that.

Your fame boosting assignment:

If you’re looking to share your brilliance by speaking at associations, companies and conferences, start by picking three targets.

This week, find your connection to the organization and reach out with a request to speak. (Feel free to get creative with the steps I’ve listed.)

I’m all kinds of fired up about you, superstar.

The 5 minutes a day activity that’s like free advertising for your business

By Lori

Famous in your field: make a name on OPB (Other People’s Blogs)

Want a way to increase your visibility online and even get on the radar of some of the influencers (including journalists) in your industry?

(OF COURSE you do!)

Comment on their articles and blog posts.

By adding smart, helpful, thoughtful comments, you will stand out.

Here’s why:

If you frequently visit and leave comments on sites where your ideal client “hangs out” online, you’ll get valuable exposure to a targeted audience.

Even better, many sites even include a photo of you and link to your website with your comment – that’s like free advertising!

Visit regularly, keep adding value to the community and over time, you’ll form a relationship with the site owners and authors, too.

I’ve made business friends, found great resources and been interviewed by people I “met” through commenting on blogs and articles.

It’s really that easy. But it may not happen overnight. Showing up consistently is key.

The folks who put their sweat and tears into writing terrific articles and blog posts really do want to hear from you. So does their audience. But a ho-hum “good article” or “great tips” won’t cut it.

If you’re looking to stand out online, you gotta add a little something extra.

Stumped for ideas? Here are five to spark your commenting flow:

  • Comment + Expand – React to what you’ve read by commenting and expanding on the article’s idea. Share something from your personal story or experience related to the topic. Talk about results you’ve gotten or make a suggestion.
  • Comment + Extend – This is a “yes and…” type of comment. What else can you add to the conversation that’s interesting or helpful? Extend the article or posts idea by sharing an idea of your own or a resource.
  • Comment + New Angle – Offer another way to look at the topic or a different approach to solve a problem.
  • Comment + Contrary– Find yourself disagreeing with the writer? Feel free to share that in your comment, along with the reasons behind your contrarian stance. A little difference of opinion can spice up a string of complimentary comments.Just be sure that you express your opinion intelligently and respectfully. Most authors invite thoughtful dialogue – it generates greater interest in the post among all readers.
  • Comment + a Comment – Like a comment you’ve just read? Have another idea to expand on it? Think the commenter is way off base? Comment on another commenter!

Your fame building assignment:

This week, pick three blogs or websites read by your ideal client or an influencer you want to connect with. Read a few of the articles and posts. Add your comments.

Next, schedule a specific 5 minute time slot on your calendar once or twice each week to visit, read and comment. Watch your network and reputation grow, superstar!

The Case for Content Marketing for Professional Service Firms

By Lori

There’s a new-ish movement in the marketing world. For the last decade or so, savvy businesses – especially those selling expertise, advice and non-commodity type products have turned away from old school advertising and promotion to creating content that sells without being “sales-y.”

So what is content?

Here’s a definition, from the people who ought to know, the Content Marketing Institute: “Content marketing is a marketing technique of creating and distributing relevant and valuable content to attract, acquire, and engage a clearly defined and understood target audience – with the objective of driving profitable customer action.”

Depending on your business, content could be almost anything: a simple checklist, a series of articles, whitepapers, reports, your company blog, podcasts, webinars… It’s anything created for the purpose of providing valuable information to your client.

Why content marketing is so effective for professionals and firms

Content marketing lets you communicate regularly with your prospects and clients without overtly selling. Instead of buying ads in publications (which are ignored by your prospect) or cold calling to set up appointments (which are avoided by your prospect), you create and publish information that prospects welcome and look forward to. Heck, sometimes they even seek out your content.

It’s pull marketing, not push marketing. Prospects are drawn to you, rather than you pushing your firm brochures and sales meetings at them.

Your KLT factor

Let’s face it, as professional service firms and consultants, you are “selling the invisible.” One of the most important considerations in the client’s selection process is the know, like and trust factor. Your client needs to feel that they know you, they have feel that they’d enjoy working with you and that you’d do a good job for them. Using content helps prospective clients get to know you, your expertise, your style and the unique value you provide, without your physical presence.

Content is your marketing workhorse

One of the best features of content marketing is how it helps you leverage your marketing and sales efforts. Instead of making sales calls and meeting with prospects one-on-one, your content reaches tens, hundreds or thousands of people. Content works for you, 24-7-365.

Content in action

Wondering if content can really pack the marketing wallop you need for your business? Here’s a true story:

A mid-sized regional engineering firm learned about a new freeway interchange design. Looking for a way to stand out in an increasingly commoditized industry, the firm’s marketing director wrote an explanatory article about the new interchange design. Instead of promoting the company’s design engineers, the article explained the new interchange concept, how it worked, and the situations for which it was best suited. No selling at all.

What happened next? In a few months, news of this novel freeway design hit the media. People began searching the web, looking for information and experts on this new type of interchange. The firm’s article hit the #1 position on Google. They received calls from interested clients from all over the world. Reporters for major newspapers quoted their staff members in news stories. Because this firm wrote the most informative article on the interchange design, they were widely viewed as the experts on that topic. Ka-ching.

Take action

This week think about your business from your client’s perspective. What kind of information would help them to understand your industry and the service you provide? How could you help them to learn what they need to know to make the best decisions?

Build Your Visibility, Even When Someone Else is on Stage

By Lori

I’ve preached a fair bit about the business-building value that speaking has for your business. It positions you as an expert and gives crowds of people a tantalizing preview of what it would be like to work with you. As as speaker, you’re treated like a celebrity by the event attendees, who’ll seek you out.

But what if you aren’t in the front of the room? What if you’re just one of the people sitting in the audience, squirming in your hard-backed chair? No worries, you can still build your brand and business fame, even when someone else is the speaker.

Ask a question.

But add a little something extra.

During the Q & A portion of the event, you can create a mini-commercial for you and your business by asking a smart, thoughtful question. (Be genuine, friendly and confident when you ask – your fellow attendees will be able to spot a slimy, hollow attempt at self-promotion.)

  • Stand tall.
  • Make eye contact with the speaker and one or two people around you. State your name, your business and what you do (in 10 words or less. Slime-free.)
  • If it’s genuine and concise, compliment the speaker on a specific piece of information, idea, or the delivery.
  • Then, ask your great question.

After the session, many attendees will crowd around the speaker, but a few will approach you because you’ve been “introduced” in a public forum.

Take action:

At the very next event you attend, come up with several thoughtful questions that you can ask the speaker. Done right, you’ll be in the spotlight, even when someone else is on stage.

 

16 ways to get more of what you want

By Lori

Tesla_sm

My friend Gina is not a “car chick.” Her head doesn’t turn for an Audi, Porsche or Mercedes S-class. She’s been driving the same mom-van for more than a decade.

For her, cars are just a way to get from one place to another.

Then last week, she floored me with this comment, “I really want a Tesla. I’m going to buy one when I get my bonus this year.”

What?!

The funny thing is, I’ve found out that Gina is not alone in her Tesla-mania. Business Insider reported on a study of Tesla owners:

“What we can glean from this is that Tesla is indeed special — so special that buyers are willing to pay substantially more for the privilege of Tesla ownership than to park a traditional car in the driveway.”

“On average, owners were willing to pay 60% more for a Tesla…” [Yahoo News]

Why would a woman who doesn’t care about cars suddenly long for a particular model vehicle?

And, um, pay 60% more?!

Aren’t we all practical, rational humans who buy the best product at the best price?

I’ve got three words for you: emotional hot buttons. 

What are emotional hot buttons?

Those factors that hit us right in the feels (whether we admit it or not.) They make us die to have one thing, and totally abhor another.

There are certain emotional hot buttons that when triggered will force people to take some kind of action. Hot buttons make us buy, listen to, read, or follow certain things and people, but not others.

When your hot buttons are hit, the response you feel is pure emotion.

Logic goes out the window (no matter what you tell yourself!)

Do I buy that darling Kate Spade New York Cherie Three-Quarter-Sleeve Coat because I’m cold?

No. A stuffed Hefty sack would solve that practical problem.

I buy it because emotionally, I think it will make me chic, sparkling, vibrant and a little madcap.

Me in that coat = Audrey Hepburn in Charade.

Connect to their emotional hot buttons

Your audience – whether it’s a group of professionals listening to you speak, the staff you lead at the office or your kids’ hockey team – is driven by desire, too.

And when you can connect your message to their emotional hot buttons, you’ll motivate them to listen to you, follow you and join your

Exactly which hot buttons hook you the most varies from person to person, but there are some generally universal triggers.

Author and marketer Barry Feig has identified 16 hot buttons in Hot Button Marketing: Push the Emotional Buttons That Get People to Buy:

  • desire for control
  • I’m better than you
  • excitement of discovery
  • revaluing
  • family values
  • desire to belong
  • fun is its own reward
  • poverty of time
  • desire to get the best
  • self-achievement
  • sex/love/romance
  • nurturing response
  • reinventing oneself
  • make me smarter
  • power/dominance/influence
  • wish fulfillment

I’ll add a few variations that I’ve seen from my clients:

  • desire to be known for something
  • to leave a legacy
  • to effect change

As Barry says, “Consumers buy from emotions they’re not even aware of…. Hot buttons are the keys to the psyches of your customers.”

For my friend Gina, the idea of owning a Tesla is 100% emotional hot button driven.

But what does this have to do with you?

When you’re selling something, don’t just rely on the old standbys to motivate. Making more money, saving money, or having the most features can be powerful for rational decisions, but hitting an emotional hot button or two will ignite desire, which overrides rationality.

Emotional drivers

Let’s say you’re a coach or consultant to small business owners. You could focus your appeal on how you can help small business owners make more money. (And that’s what most coach-sultants do.)

But if you pay attention to your prospective client’s hot buttons, you might find out that one of his major emotional drivers is Desire for Control.

Here’s what that looks like:

He started his business to have more control than in his corporate job, but instead he spends his days in reaction mode, his mood and self-esteem battered by the latest high or low in his business.

His staff gets along one day, and squabbles the next.

Orders are up (yay!) Orders are down (arghh!)

If you, the small business coach, can show him how working with you will create the control he’s after, he’ll be hooked.

Do people have just one emotional hot button?

Nope, people can have multiple hot buttons that motivate them to buy something or take action.

Let’s say you look around our small business owner’s office and see picture after picture of his wife, kids and extended family.

You notice a toddler seat in his car.

A clearly “handcrafted” clay pencil holder on the desk.

Clearly, a strong candidate for the Family Values hot button.

During your conversation, you can paint a picture of the psychic rewards of family togetherness that he’ll enjoy once he starts working with you.

Gotta team? Hit ‘em in the hot buttons

If you manage a team, you can retain your best employees by combining both external rewards, like public kudos, bonuses and raises, with internal rewards like new challenges. (Boom! I’m Better than You and Self-Achievement hot buttons.)

Become an emotional hot button detective

Ask your audience (whether it’s your staff, a prospect, or an actual audience) questions to uncover some of their emotional hot buttons. Notice when their eyes light up and when they glaze over.

Weave some emotional hot buttons into your marketing.

Sprinkle them into your conversations with your team, for motivation.

Spark those desires in your presentations or talks.

Your fame boosting assignment

This week, hone your emotional hot button-finding skills.

There’s one dead-simple way to do this. When you find yourself in a selling situation – whether it’s selling an idea, a message, a service or a next step – try to uncover at least one emotional hot button.

Whip out the easiest, cheapest research tool available:

Asking “why?

Boom! 100% chance of awesome.

Power Up Your Marketing, Part 3 (The Speaking Series)

By Lori

Hello and welcome back for Part 3 of The Speaking Series. In part 1, I laid out the reasons why speaking is such a powerful way to market yourself as a consultant, and the business building benefits of speaking programs for professional service firms. Part 2 was the proof – I shared results from three different types of professionals – an engineer, a management consultant and a technology firm.

And now in this post, I want to let you in on a few mistakes that business professionals make, that keep them from reaping the business building benefits of speaking.

You’re doing it wrong

Have you or your firm pursued speaking engagements, only to experience lackluster results? You might be making one or more of these common mistakes.

Not speaking to audiences of potential clients. It’s natural; many firm professionals want to stay in their “comfort zone.” Technical types may pursue speaking engagements for themselves, but those events are typically full of academics who judge the merits of the ideas discussed, but don’t hire firms to perform work. Likewise, your staffers may deliver presentations at professional organizations made of their colleagues and peers, rather than potential clients.

Not proposing topics that are interesting to the potential audience. The best topics are those that your target audience would consider to be “hot” (meaning that its current and generates a great deal of interest.)

Not demonstrating the expertise of the speaker. Make sure your professional’s bio includes credibility indicators, and isn’t just a tedious work history. Where you can, tout your professional’s previous speaking experience and include session evaluation information – it offers conference organizers an independent level of assurance that your speaker will perform well.

Ways to market potential speakers

Want to increase your win rate for speaking engagements? Copy these techniques used by professional speakers’ bureaus.

1. Stack the odds in your favor. Before you submit a proposal to an organization, do your homework. Read about the organization’s membership and mission. This will give you insight into the information its members would value and what the hot topics might be.

2. Make the conference planner’s job as painless as possible. Provide all the information the selection committee needs to choose you (or the firm professional you’re promoting.) Here’s what goes into your package:

  • Brief bio
  • Clear statement about the topics your speaker covers (i.e. sewer modeling, hydraulics and hydrology, regulatory compliance.)
  • List of topics (with catchy titles) and what the attendee will learn with an abstract about each session.
  • Video demo of your professional, live and in action. YouTube is a perfect place to host this. Include the link on your sheet.
  • Testimonials and evaluations from organizations that the potential client can relate to.
  • List of companies/organization your professional has previously spoken for.

Because this is meant to be concise, all the written content should fit on a single page.

Take action

This week, position yourself for speaking success! Create a one page speaker’s sheet with the six elements listed above.

Want to jump start your public speaking? Start here.

The 3 Minute Trick to Getting More Traffic to Your LinkedIn Profile

By Lori

Try a little experiment with me, will you?

Search for your own name on Google.  What results pop up?

Chances are, your LinkedIn profile is near or the top of the results page. (Unless you don’t have a LinkedIn profile, which means you need to get busy creating yours!) When Google’s algorithm determines what search results are most relevant to display, it evaluates a number of factors including a websites “authority”, or how credible a source it is on the particular search topic. And Google considers your LinkedIn profile to be a pretty authoritative source of information about you.

So how do you use this to your advantage? There is an easy way to “draft off” LinkedIn’s Google power to boost your own business authority. It’s all about keywords, my friend.

Brainstorm for a moment. What are the keywords that people would use when searching for the service that you offer? If you don’t know (or even if you think that you do know), ask half a dozen of your ideal clients and prospects what specific words and phrases they would use to search for a service like yours.

Next, add them to your LinkedIn profile.

There are five LinkedIn profile sections that you want to load up with your keywords and phrases:

  • Professional “Headline”
  • Current Work Experience
  • Past Experience
  • Summary
  • Specialties

If your business provides strategic planning to entrepreneurs, you would use keyword phrases like ‘strategic planning’ as often as possible in those five key LinkedIn profile sections. Really pack ’em in. Be sure to throw in a couple of variations, too, like ‘strategy consultant,’ ‘strategy planning’, too.

Your fame-boosting assignment:

1. Talk with 5-6 of your ideal clients and prospects and ask them what words they would type into Google or LinkedIn to find a business or service like yours.

2. Edit your LinkedIn profile’s five key sections, using those keyword phrases as often as possible (while remaining readable, of course!)