9 Action Steps that Will Increase Your Bookings and Get the Attention of Bureaus
You probably ask yourself...Why are the bureaus not booking me? What do I have to do to get them to call me?
A bureau's first responsibility is to satisfy its clients -- organizations who hire speakers. Put yourself in the bureau's position. They want to place speakers who are:
- The easiest to book. Meaning... they're famous, they get rave reviews, they don't require much publicity, their presence as a keynote speaker at an event will increase attendance, etc.
- Exclusive with them. This means that all interested organizations have to go through the bureau to book the speaker.
- High profile personalities that have favorable reputations and instant name recognition.
- High fee speakers. All other things being equal, why not place the higher fee speaker?
- Dependable. They respond quickly to inquiries, are courteous, punctual, focused on stage, stay on point and keep agreements.
- Predictable. They have high ratings consistently, get standing ovations and stay on topic.
- Referred and endorsed by past clients.
1. Get published.
The three most important words following a speaker's name are, "the author of..."
Write a book that tells your story or teaches others what you know. Every chapter can become an article. Become a regular columnist in a newspaper or a guest columnist in your industry publication or trade journal. You may choose to write manuals, workbooks, home study courses or sales scripts, for example, for others to follow.
To learn how to write in a compelling manner, there are two and three day boot camps for prospective and active writers. There are many speakers offering their own boot camps, but I think one of the best is Mark Victor Hansen's Mega Book Marketing. Why not learn from someone who built a billion dollar enterprise from one book series (Chicken Soup for the Soul)? His faculty usually includes successful writers, agents, publicists, ghost writers, publishing companies, self publishing experts and famous speakers who are published. Visit http://www.markvictorhansen.com/ for the next Mega Book.
Articles about you or by you are marketing fulcrums that have stood the test of time. Writing and submitting articles to major article directories will increase your online visibility instantly! (Learn more under #3.) It will drive traffic to your site, establish you as an expert in your target market and give you valuable content to repurpose into information products.
Articles can be submitted directly to industry online publications, your association's online newsletters, local tabloids and magazines.
Writer's Digest is an excellent reference for prospective and active writers. It produces eight (8) magazines a year for under $20 with solid techniques for a wide variety of genres; insider info on what editors and agents really want; professionals' secrets for winning queries and cover letters; tips and tricks for kindling your creative fire and savvy business advice for writers. Visit http://www.writersdigest.com/.
Another resource is Jeff Herman's Guide to Book Publishers, Editors, & Literary Agents 2009: Who They Are! What They Want! How to Win Them Over!
Begin to commit to paper what you know so that you can reach readers when you cannot reach an audience in person!
Stop procrastinating. Start writing.
2. Utilize Internet technology to reach your customer base faster, more frequently and more effectively.
In other words, make sure that you've either learned the strategies and tools of Internet marketing to increase and convert traffic to your website or that you've retained those services from Internet marketing experts. Since technology changes daily, it's best to stick with your own expertise and leave this skill to those who do it as a primary source of income.
Simple opt-in strategies offering free reports, CDs, articles and tips that demonstrate your ability to help people solve problems and build their dreams are the quickest way to reach those in your industry. The objective is to make contact with decision makers within organizations who are seeking speakers with your expertise.
I use a combination of one-on-one marketing (picking up the telephone) and electronic marketing to introduce a speaker.
Stay in touch with your customer base after you speak. You may be able to share helpful industry trends that can be used in management and leadership capacities. The relationship that began with your appearance should not end your relationship but begin a customer for life relationship. Given your insider's perspective, you may offer assistance in suggesting their next speaker. You may offer your new products designed specifically to help them and others in the same industry. Or you may offer the second and third presentation in your series of programs.
Read Janet Switzer's Instant Income and/or visit http://www.instantincome.com/. You'll find 319 pages chocked full of ideas to prospect and build your brand in a profitable manner. The more recognizable your name or brand is as an expert in your field, the more bureaus start to notice.
3. Increase your media exposure.
Be the go-to person in your field of expertise. Generate articles, media attention, television interviews and press releases telling your story, demonstrating your competency, expertise and value in the marketplace. Either write articles or be the subject of others' articles.
Again, great article marketing directory websites that want your articles are http://www.ezinearticles.com/ and http://www.articlemarketer.com/.
Learn to write press releases. A press release is simply a written statement distributed to the media. It can announce a range of news items: scheduled events, awards, new products and services, new book releases, sales accomplishments, etc. Check out http://www.wikihow.com/Write-a-Press-Release and http://www.prweb.com/. If you'd like to hire a publicist to set up media appearances, talk with an expert such as Imal Wagner at http://www.imalwagner.com/.
You may inadvertently get exposure through adversity, an error in judgment or an accident (such as committing a courageous act like cutting off your arm to survive, becoming a war hero, championing a cause following a crime as the founder of MADD did, etc.). Let those in your field know you have some residual philosophy from your personal experience or creative solutions that can help others.
All forms of social media further establish your brand. Consider joining at least LinkedIn (http://www.linkedin.com/) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/). Contact the experts on the proper strategies to use for each application. They're free services but can prove useless if not properly set up and managed.
4. Increase your visibility in your industry.
Become a spokesperson for an organization. Write industry specific articles to appear in online and offline publications. Volunteer your time and talents to your favorite charity. There were many people who surfaced after the Katrina Hurricane that became public figures for positive change simply because they became leaders during and after the crisis.
Serve your professional association in some capacity, such as being an officer, speak and find other speakers, be a spokesperson for their cause, board member, fundraiser, adviser or sponsor.
Host teleclasses/teleseminars and webinars marketed through Internet technology. It is an instructional format with you as the expert or with you interviewing an expert in a field of importance to others.
Conduct a research project that those in your field will find valuable for leaders, salespeople and administrators. You can offer the results to your customers in the form of an article, teleclass, white paper report or CD.
If you are seeking a representative and do not have the time or desire to train her/him on the daily activities necessary to secure paid speaking engagements, visit my website at http://www.turnkeyspeaker.com/ for products to help you find, interview, hire, pay, train and keep your booking agent.
If you are not yet ready to hire someone to represent you, I have products that you can use to know what to say and do on a daily basis to systematize the booking process. You'll learn what to do before, during and after your appearance to uniquely position yourself, optimize your appearance, generate referrals and enable more revenue potential through product sales.
Check out Alex Mandossian's http://www.askmylist.com/ and learn how to know in advance, what your audience most wants to learn.
Offer continuing education credit if required in your industry.
Write a free ezine for those in your target market. Teach others how to do what you do and become successful so that they can actualize their dreams. Be the subject of a documentary, made for TV movie or the wide screen.
5. Outperform your competition.
Do what you do so well that you rise to the top. Become a leader in your field.
Begin with your company or your local association and branch out to your district and regional events and then on to your state and national levels. When you're a top producer or when you lead an organization to greatness or when you originate a new idea that solves problems and creates a new paradigm, others want to know how you did what you did. You'll make the news. You'll be asked to appear on television shows, be interviewed for radio shows and magazine articles. Your invitations to speak will increase.
Who are the champions in your field? Has your performance or production exceeded that of others? If so, these are facts that bureaus want to know. This will put you ahead of others in your field and bureaus will start to notice.
To be continued...
Mary McKay is a booking strategist for experts, business and community leaders, speakers, educators, top producers and cultural heroes who want to secure paid speaking engagements.
She systematizes the booking process to uniquely position the speaker, optimize the appearance, generate referrals and enable more revenue potential through product sales. Visit www.turnkeyspeaker.com or call 949-429-6646.