Today, any speaker who is serious about her business and wants to get booked and paid to speak has to have a professional website. Your website is your online home where event planners can get to know you and your content and get in touch for booking.
Yes, your social media profiles and LinkedIn pages are relevant and useful for an event planner to research you and your content. But no, they aren’t enough if you’re serious about growing your speaker business.
Your website is a one-stop-shop where you “put the cookies on the bottom shelf” and make it fast and simple for event planners to know everything they need to know to consider you for their event. They are busy people who need to work quickly and efficiently. The harder it is for them to find the info they need, the more likely they move on to easier other options.
Everything about your website should be crafted to speak to this target audience, quickly providing answers to the questions that will determine whether or not you’re the right fit for their event and how to book you if you are.
#1 – Who You Are
Your website is your online introduction. It’s your digital “Hello My Name Is” sticker. The visitor’s first impression should provide immediate clarity on who you are with your name and title (if relevant to your topic). Add a face to the name with a professional headshot.
Craft an About Me or bio section that tells your story and cultivates credibility for your topic. Take the opportunity to help the event planner know things like your background, what your life was like before speaking, what brought you to speaking, how you learned about your topic, your passion for your topic and audience, etc. Don’t be afraid to show some personality. Give a glimpse of your life outside of your speaking. Event planners want to work with real people they enjoy just like the rest of us.
#2 – What You Speak About
Second only to who you are, people who may consider you for their event need to know what you speak about. What’s your topic or niche? Is it a story you have to tell? A message you share to encourage or inspire? Expertise you have to teach?
Craft short (1-2 sentences) and long (1-2 paragraphs) summaries of your topic in a framework such as: I teach basic accounting to small business owners so they can understand their numbers and make financially sound decisions for their businesses.
Be sure your topic summary answers both “what” and “why”. Remember that event planners are as interested in why you are passionate about your topic as much as they care how much you know about it.
Speakers should always be writing. Why not include a blog on your speaker site where you regularly create and share content relevant to your topic and the audience you serve? As with your speaking demo (we’ll talk about in a minute), your written content demonstrates your expertise in and passion for your topic along with your unique take on it.
#3 – Where You’ve Spoken
Speaking is a referral business. And event planners have a lot riding on their speaker decisions. Ease an event planner’s mind about booking you by showing where you’ve spoken before and what those event planners have to say about you and your contribution to their event.
As soon as you have them, share 3 relevant places or events that have hired you to speak. As you have more to choose from, pick examples of opportunities or events that are the kind you’re most interested in doing more. Where you can, use company or organization logos that the visitor can quickly recognize.
Every time you speak, ask the event planner for a recommendation. These positive reviews provide you the best references for future speaking events. Seeing solid recommendations from planners or producers of similar events will assure an event planner who is considering you and help tip the decision in your favor.
#4 – What It’s Like to Hear You Speak
Once the event planner knows your topic and your credentials, he or she will want to hear you speak. Your website has to have a demo video of you speaking. You only need a 2 or 3-minute highlight reel of speaking clips. Not only does your demo video introduce and show your expertise in your message or topic, but even more importantly, it shows how you approach your topic.
If we listened to 1000 speeches on communication training, we’d hear 1000 different approaches to the topic. Your demo video should help the event planner understand how your topic is presented through your unique experience and personality.
And it gives a feel for your speaking style. Use your demo video to give event planners a glimpse at your personality and best strengths as a speaker. Is your style formal or casual? More factual or humorous? Are you a gifted storyteller? Make sure your demo video shows the best you have to offer.
In addition to your demo video, use your best high-res speaking stills throughout your website. These subtle visual cues illustrate your brand as a professional, engaging speaker who is a fabulous addition to an event planner’s event.
#5 – How To Get In Touch
Your contact info should be everywhere. It should be easy as pie for an event planner to see right away how to get in touch with you to talk about a speaking opportunity. You’d be surprised how many speakers (or other business for that matter) make finding contact info like a treasure hunt. If the event planner isn’t willing or doesn’t have the time to search, you’ll miss the gig.
Many speakers have a form on their sites where an event planner can provide contact info and event details. This can be a great way to know more about the opportunity before you chat. Just make sure you’re on top of follow-up as the form is submitted. If the event planner has submitted interest in a few speakers, you want to be the first one to get in touch. When you’re just starting out, be sure to have your contact details prominently available in addition to an interest form if you choose to go that route.
In addition to the contact info or event interest form, consider offering a free gift in exchange for visitors’ email address. You can provide a short video message, a checklist, template, whatever makes sense for your topic and audience. Collect these email addresses so you can stay in touch regularly with speaking samples, blog content or anything else you’ll use to keep connected with and on the minds of event planners.
Your Website Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated
Especially if you’re just starting out, don’t make your website more complicated than it needs to be. Truly, a professional, easy to understand, one page site is enough to get you up and running. You can always build from there. The higher you make the bar to start, the longer it will take you to reach it. Start simple and make it fancier later.
I’m not a web designer or programmer by any stretch, but I was able to create a site I’m proud by myself. I use ShowIt and purchased a template from Jessica Gingrich. The design heavy lifting was already done, and I just added content and customized the site for my own needs and preferences. If you’re not sure where to start, maybe these resources can help you.
Sound doable? Any questions? Hit me up in the comments. You got this, sister! Let me know if I can help.