By having a solid line-up of speakers who can deliver excellent quality content for your audience, you can raise the likelihood of your conference becoming a successful event. In this article, we will go over some proven strategies and tips for finding the right kind of speakers for your conference and making it a huge success.
Strategy #1: Surveying the Attendees
What could be a better idea than asking your event attendees who they would like to see at your conference? By doing this, you will gain insights into the type of speakers your audience is interested in hearing from. In fact, by surveying the attendees you are also letting them know that you truly care about their event experience and would like to give them a chance to choose the kind of content that will get presented at your conference.
Strategy #2: Go Through the Top Publications in Your Industry
Bestseller lists, popular blogs, top academic journals, and news sites, are all great for discovering topic and industry-specific speakers for your conference. Most of the talent you will find by using this strategy is also likely to be seeking speaking opportunities as a way to gain more recognition and reach new readers. So, it’s a win-win for everyone!
For example, if you want to look for blog authors with a large pool of active and engaged audience, use online tools such as BuzzSumo Alternatively, you may want to check out blogs that have won or have been nominated for a UK Blog Award.
Strategy #3: Call for Speaker Proposals
It’s always a great idea to offer all the potential candidates a speaking opportunity by letting them submit their proposals with a call for proposals on your conference’s official website. Not to mention, if you’ve already got a couple of big-name, reputable keynote speakers locked down for your conference, this will help you fill your roster with up-and-coming speakers in your industry.
However, you will need to promote your call for speaker proposals and cast a wide net if you want to attract the most number of pitches. Needless to say, you will also require the resources to sift through the submissions and find the “hidden gems” in the proposals that you manage to attract.
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Strategy #4: Find Speakers Using Speaker Lists and Online Databases
Organisations like the Professional Speaking Association let you sort through their online databases and filter thousands of professional speakers, based on their topic of expertise and speciality. Most of the speakers you will find using this strategy will have the required credentials, academic knowledge, or industry experience to back up their expertise. Look for speakers who can make your audience feel engaged and deliver a lot of value with their presentation.
Strategy #5: Get Employees, Partners, and Sponsors to Speak at Your Conference
It’s not that uncommon for employees, leaders, and members of an organisation to speak at their events. This also applies to the organisation’s partners and sponsors. More often than not, these individuals will have a knack for public speaking and are already invested in making your conference a success. Having said this, try not having too many employees, sponsors, or partners of your organisation in your speaker lineup – or it may seem as if you were unable to find or afford any reputable external speakers from your industry.
Strategy #6: Tap Into Your Existing Online Network
It’s always a great idea to begin your search for conference speakers with your existing online network. Look for potential speakers that are connected with you or your peers on LinkedIn. Most professional speakers will have a LinkedIn profile and frequently use this social network to find upcoming events to speak at.
Strategy #7: Look for Social Media Influencers in Your Niche
Without a doubt, topic expertise and relevant industry experience are one of the most important aspects to look for in a great speaker. However, their social influence can be yet another important quality to base your selection on.
Social influencers in your industry have clearly got the passion for their topic of expertise and often have the potential and social influence to attract more attendees to your conference. Here are some online tools that can help you find social media influencers in your industry with relative ease:
Apart from this, YouTube and SlideShare are also great places to look for professional speakers – a quick search with relevant keywords will provide you with a list of presentations by reputable speakers in your industry while also giving you insights into their personality, topic expertise, and whether they are a suitable speaker for your conference.
Set your primary goal to put together a wishlist of potential candidates for the speaking arrangement at your conference. The decision-making process comes in much later, in which you to closely evaluate speakers based on their potential and choose the ones to reach out to with an offer.
Keep in mind that you don’t always need a lineup of big-name keynotes to attract audience interest in your conference – just credible speakers who have something of high perceived value to share with your audience.
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