For More Speaking Gigs, Make Yourself FAMOUS!

Making yourself famous is the single best tactic you could employ if your goal is increased speaking success. You may never become mega-famous but you can definitely elevate your notoriety among your chosen target audience markets. Just practice what I call my “five pillars of thoughtleading” and you’ll soon be driving event planners your way.

Can anyone really become more famous if they simply set their minds to it? Well, yes, they (and you) sure can! After all, marketing, advertising, publicity, networking, and other standard “exposure” methods all exist with this ambition in mind, as does speaking and writing books. And though there’s never a guarantee, the typical result of any of these efforts is a little, or a LOT, more visibility and fame.

So how can my five pillars of thoughtleading help? Let’s take a look:

Pillar #1: Publish Your Ideas

Writing and publishing a book and/or articles in reputable journals is essential for expanding your schedule of speaking engagements. Though a book will sit on the highest rung, publishing articles in your target audience’s publications isn’t far below – especially if the article is about the very topic you’ll be speaking about.

Books and articles together constitute Pillar #1 of my framework because making yourself better known to audiences and event planners in this manner not only widens your visibility but adds tremendously to your credibility and reputation too.

Most of your speaker competitors won't have accomplishments in either area, although those speakers at the top and in demand will. A book (or multiple books) will especially aid your quest for more and better gigs because authors are precisely whom event planners want. If they hear about your book and are interested in your topic, they’ll come looking for you.

Pillar #2: Speak to Groups and Followers

Obviously I don’t need to dwell on this pillar, since you wouldn’t be reading this if you weren’t already convinced it was worth doing. But check out these four side benefits of speaking that none of us should lose sight of:

1. Prepping for a presentation can deepen and refresh your thoughts and hypotheses.

2. Eliciting audience questions and feedback can sometimes enlighten us in a way that sends our thinking into entirely new directions.

3. New directions can lead to future topics that become the basis for a new book, new articles, and even new speaking topics.

In other words, one hand (speaking) washes the other (writing and publishing your ideas), and vice versa.

Pillar #3: Fresh Thinking

True practitioners of thoughtleading also periodically and purposely think great, i.e., new thoughts, so they don't get stale. By conducting surveys and compiling new data, or conducting interviews to learn what others think and believe, or generating discussions about topics you never explored before, you’ll hatch new topics to communicate to others. Such “fresh thinking” will intrigue event planners and help you stand out in their minds as someone new and different to bring in to their conferences and other events.

Pillar #4: Creatively Leverage the Internet

As we all know by now, social media channels that you can use to get our names out include blogging, Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube and numerous other venues. But forwarding e-blasts to your business’s e-list shouldn’t be ignored either. An e-list ensures that your messages get out to your entire network, not just a section of it. All these techniques represent creative leveraging of the Internet.

So don’t forget the supremacy of e-blasts sent to your e-list. And if you don’t currently have an e-list, get one started! Many of the social media channels have been touted as the greatest thing ever despite very little actual data to back up their efficacy. Sure, it can feel like you’re doing something by plugging all your brilliant ideas onto one or more social media channels but what level of impact does that actually produce?

So find ways to access the Internet but don’t assume that a lot of SM activity, such as tweeting or blogging, will be enough. Develop and maintain an e-list too, make it your basic Internet communication channel, then add other Internet channels to augment it. Send your eblasts to your social media so that ALL are utilized. That approach has been proven to actually work.

Plllar #5: Make Vigorous Use of Traditional Media

All too often when you win media attention, in even a national vehicle such as the Wall Street Journal, Harvard Business Review, or CNN, absolutely nothing perceptible happens as a result. Yes . . . nothing whatsoever!

So while it’s great fun to be interviewed by the press (unless you get misquoted!), and especially from a prestigious publication, keep in mind that the chief reason for doing so is what I refer to as the “Nudge Factor.” In combination with the other pillars, vigorous use of traditional media has the capacity to nudge potential followers your way and thus help you arrive at that all-important tipping point. But it can’t be your sole approach.

Begin integrating one or more of the above pillars and you’ll start acquiring more speaking engagements as more and more event planners hear about you. They will want you because you have something significant to say ... and because you’re FAMOUS!

For more on this topic, see Ken’s books “The Speaker’s Edge” (Maven House Press) or “The Expert’s Edge” (McGraw-Hill). Ken’s firm emerson consulting group inc. transforms consultants, business experts, executives and companies into “thoughtleaders” by helping them rise above their competition. Google “thoughtleading.com” to learn more.

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