Despite the technological advances that have made it easier than ever for business professionals to network and connect to one another online, trade conferences remain a top revenue driver for B2B companies. Why? Because there’s no such thing as a virtual handshake.
The increasingly digital nature of business has made in-person introductions, discussions, and experiences ever more valuable to stakeholders in practically every sector imaginable. For B2B companies, speaking engagements at well-attended industry conferences and forums can boost visibility and lead to new client relationships, partnerships, or investments.
Yet those speaking engagements can be hard to come by, especially for new entrants to any B2B market. Building a reputation as a sought-after industry speaker takes smarts, patience, time, and the help of a great PR agency partner. In addition, the following tactics can help, too.
Package Yourself Up
If you have public speaking experience and niche business expertise, you’re already a great candidate for trade speaking opportunities in your industry. But new connections and conference executives won’t know that unless you present yourself to them. Earning speaking opportunities requires selling yourself first, so package yourself up with a sophisticated approach.
Write a short bio that highlights your business experience, industry background, and noteworthy awards, publicity wins, or other recognition. Pair it with a list of topics you like to speak on and examples of your past engagements. Work with a colleague to turn it into an easily editable piece of marketing collateral. That way, when you listen to conference panels and think to yourself “I should have been on that stage,” you can reach out to the organizers and show them why.
Own Your Expertise
In our 2016 “knowledge economy,” you are what you know… but only if you share it. It’s not enough to possess expertise: You need to build a reputation, or even a “personal brand,” around your expertise in order to become known for it.
Take the content you crafted for your speaking bio and incorporate it into your LinkedIn and other social media profiles. Start sharing your insights on industry developments and challenges on your company blog or a personal one. Own your expertise and make it a greater part of your value proposition and online presence as an industry executive or professional.
Grow Your Value
From there, expand your value proposition by expanding your expertise. As you start speaking at conferences, don’t just use them for networking and client engagement – use them for knowledge! And keep consistently sharing your intel to boost your visibility.
Broaden the scope of your expertise to ancillary disciplines connected to your sector. Work with a PR or marketing partner who can help you mold your insights into media storylines and larger industry narratives. Put your ideas out there and share with conference organizers as potential standalone presentations. Take your time, and be patient (and smart), but go big in your pursuit of speaking opportunities; they can ultimately provide great benefits your business.
ThinkInk PR helps many clients across the airline, loyalty, mobile, payments, travel & hospitality, and advertising & marketing sectors to win high-impact speaking engagements and maximize the value of trade conference participation. Contact us to learn how we can help you!