Meghan Ely is the owner of wedding marketing and wedding pr firm OFD Consulting. As a highly sought-after speaker in the wedding industry, she is the exclusive Wedding PR Education Expert for WeddingWire as well as the national Communications and Marketing Director for WIPA. To learn how OFD Consulting can assist you, as well as more about our new wedding PR kits, please visit us today.
When you think about public relations, and Wedding PR specifically, real wedding features is probably one of the first strategies that comes to mind. But public relations, by definition, is the management of one’s reputation in the marketplace, and promotional tactics can extend far beyond simply submitting events for exposure. Public speaking, for example, is a fantastic way to increase brand awareness for your company while also building your reputation as an expert in your field.
Building a career in speaking, if for the above reasons or to assist with building an additional revenue stream for your company, can be an intimidating notion. The good news? If you’re familiar with the process of pitching to the media, you’ll find the learning curve is much less so.
Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Finalize your goals: If you’re going to add speaking to an already busy career, you need to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons. Are you looking to increase your wedding business or get in front of other wedding professionals? Different organizations attract different audiences so you want to make sure you’re ultimately targeting the ones that will put you in front of your audience.
- Consider your topics: What are you an expert in? If the goal is to speak in front of engage couples, then it should be related to planning a wedding, but you can expand on that if your audience is industry wide. Put and all thoughts down and be ready to visit this after step #3.
- Do your research: Now is the time to start combing your area for opportunities. Do you belong to any organizations that regularly feature speakers? Are there industry associations regionally that may be a fit? And think above and beyond the event world. If you are a small business owner, for example, seek out groups dedicated to serving that niche. Look into local chambers of commerce as well as rotaries. Just keep in mind that larger conferences will expect you to have considerable experience so focus on smaller gigs to start.
- Revisit your topics: By now, you should have an idea of potential opportunities, as well as the type of subject matter they accept. You’ll need to revisit the list of topics from #3 and begin narrowing down your offerings to 2-3 (just to start- you can add more later!) that would complement the education from the events you’re currently targeting. The goal is to offer something fresh and inspiring that has an impact on the audience.
- Write your topics: Once you’ve narrowed down the list, you’ll need a brief description of each, as well as 3-4 takeaways. This will give prospects a general idea of what you plan to cover while also serving as a great marketing tool. Writing not your thing? Have no fear- there are plenty of freelance writers out there who could happily take that duty off your hands.
- Revamp your web site: If feasible, add a page to your existing web site dedicated to your speaking. Include your topics and descriptions to start, as well as a way for people to reach you. As you build your portfolio, you can begin adding recent engagements as well.
- Pitch: Roll up your sleeves and begin reaching out to organizations. Stick to email and keep it short, but sweet- introduce yourself, share your topic and how it may be relevant for attendees, and ask how you can be considered (unless expressly outlined already).
And remember – the work doesn’t stop there. Once you’ve checked off the above list, you need to start practicing, even if you haven’t booked anything yet. Create outlines for your topics and craft the start of your presentations on your software of choice. Schedule time each week to practice and bump that time up once you have your first engagement on the books.
I’ve been fortunate to receive kudos for my speaking and I’m quick to point out that I lecture three times a week at a local university, make a point to speak regularly and even practice while running errands. In the book Outliers: The Story of Success, author Malcolm Gladwell notes that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to be successful at a specific task, so it’s essential to make speaking a regular “to do” as you would any part of your weekly tasks.
Public speaking is a rewarding addition to a wedding career and with the above tips in mind, you’ll be well on your way.