The topic of public speaking pages and speaking kits has come up repeatedly in recent times. What makes for a great public speaking page? What are the general best practices for a public speaking page?
The Goal of a Public Speaking Page
What is the business goal of your public speaking page? Though it may at first seem to be an amalgam of various facts about you, we must be clear about its purpose:
Your speaking page should generate booking inquiries for you.
That’s the business goal behind it, the value and purpose of the page. It’s not a temple to how awesome you are. It’s not a brochure. It’s a marketing platform with a singular focus: more bookings.
In turn, generating booking inquiries means that your speaking page is a B2B marketing landing page, and should obey basic B2B marketing best practices.
One of the most important considerations when creating a public speaking page is to know who the audience is. Our goal as speakers is to always serve our audience, to speak with them, not at them, and to focus relentlessly on them.
When it comes to our speaking page, the audience is not the people coming to see you speak. Your speaking page is not for the general public.
Your audience is the event planner, the person or committee who would hire you to speak. Design your entire page around them, serving their needs, answering their questions, providing reassurance for their worries. Start by asking out loud what questions an event planner will have about you.
- What kind of speaker are you? Instructional? Motivational?
- How experienced are you? Will you embarrass them or their conference if they hire you?
- What do you speak about?
- What sets you apart from other speakers?
- How much do you cost?
- Can I see an example of this person speaking?
- Are you available on certain dates?
This is sales 101: anticipating and answering questions that your customers will have, to make the process of hiring you as frictionless as possible.
Recall that the primary function of a speaker is to help an event grow its audience with great content or a great personal brand. The better the speaker is, the more audience they draw, and the more they help the event grow. Thus, our speaking pages must convey to event planners and organizers that we will, either through content or our own audiences, help put butts in seats.
To make this judgement, event planners will use heuristics, or shortcuts in judgement. They’ll be looking for four credible displays of your ability to help their event:
Video, Video, Video
Every speaking page should have examples of you speaking. Video is living proof of your skill as a speaker, and watching just a few seconds of a speaker speaking immediately removes doubt in an event planner's mind about whether or not you're capable. Ideally, you’ll have one short reel of highlights (3-5 minutes), at least one full-length reel to demonstrate your ability to deliver a long-form talk (45-60 minutes), and a medium length virtual talk of some kind. You’ll want to have all three kinds; the short video is a good resource for an event planner to share with stakeholders, while the medium and long forms help the event planner see how experienced you are handling different formats, both virtual and live. With so many events temporarily virtual or hybrid, event planners need to see you just as comfortable on a Zoom call as you are on a stage in front of 10,000.
If you have a catalog speaking, publish a YouTube playlist of your talks so people can see you in a wide variety of contexts.
When recording videos, be sure to record the 5 minutes before and after your talk, so you can apply noise reduction if it’s a loud room, as well as capture applause and audiences interacting with you.
Testimonials help prove your credibility and effectiveness as a speaker. They’re third-party endorsements. We want to show testimonials from two perspectives - the audience and the event organizer.
For audience testimonials, one of my favorite methods for storing testimonials evolved from an idea DJ Waldow shared with me years ago. Use the Likes feature on Twitter to save accolades about you, then use either a curated list or a new Custom Moment to share them on your page.
For event organizers, I’ve gathered the extra testimonial or two over the years by listing prominent speaking gigs on my LinkedIn profile and then asking event organizers to write a recommendation. As with Twitter, I then showcase these on my site as well as on my LinkedIn profile.
Topics and Themes
Topics and themes speak to the organizer’s need to provide content for their event. Provide a selection of talks which map to both your expertise as well as what conference organizers want. Make sure they're program-ready, meaning that an event planner could copy and paste from your page right to their event software:
- 5 Ways AI Has Changed Marketing: Learn what the different types of artificial intelligence are, 4 ways AI is in use today, how to prepare your company for AI in marketing, and how to prepare your career for a future with AI.
- Building the Data-Driven Customer Journey: Learn why customer journeys are broken, what a data-driven digital customer journey is, and how to use marketing data you already have to understand how your audience purchases from you, then prioritize and build a digital marketing plan driven by analytics and insights, not guesswork.
- Predictive Analytics for Marketers: Learn why machine learning is powering the new marketing calendar, what predictive analytics can and can’t do, and how to start using predictive analytics with the data you already have.
- Data Zero to Marketing Hero: What does marketing success look like? Do you know what your key performance indicators truly are? In this keynote, you’ll learn a seven-part measurement strategy and framework that will help you ask the right questions of your marketing team and agencies. You’ll learn what’s important, what’s not, and how to measure your marketing with an eye on bottom-line impact—with tools you probably already have.
Do your homework: determine based on conference agendas what the most popular or needed topics are in your industry by scanning the websites of conferences you’d like to speak at, then crafting talks and topics to fit those events.
Remember: make it easy! What's on your site should be something a planner can copy and paste with no effort.
The final part of heuristics are badges, graphical indicators that conference organizers can use to promote you to their potential attendees. Do you have a special industry certification? Display it or reference it. Have you spoken to organizations whose names and logos are well-known in your industry? Display those with links back to individual testimonials.
Biographies and Headshot
In addition to the heuristics above, be sure your public speaking page contains biographies and headshots. Organizers are often asked to put speaker biographies in a variety of media, from print publications to websites. Offer multiple versions of your biography in differing lengths. I recommend:
- 140 characters (Tweet length)
- 2-3 paragraphs (conference program length)
- 4-5 paragraphs (conference website length)
Finally, conferences need photos of you speaking. You’ll need at the very least a professional headshot photo of yourself in a variety of sizes, from print-ready 300 DPI to web-ready. The focus is to make life as easy as possible for conference organizers who choose to engage you as a speaker. Give them one-stop shopping for their needs.
Your speaking page is a B2B lead generation page with the design intent to generate booking inquiries. Make this as easy as possible by having a contact form right on the page (don’t send people to another page), placed in a conspicuous location.
On my speaking page, I place the form just after the sample video; all the supplementary information falls below the contact form.
I also strongly recommend the use of marketing automation and CRM software on your speaking page, but that’s a topic for another time.
What About Speaking Fees?
I generally don’t place speaking fees on my speaking page any more. Why? Every speaking engagement is different. Every organization has different budgets, and as a speaker, I exercise discretion over what I choose to speak at. I may choose to speak for little or no fee if it’s a cause I’m passionate about. Conversely, I may charge a large fee for an organization which has the budget and need for my services, or is an event company which charges a premium for its attendees. Premium audiences command premium speaking fees.
As a speaker, choose the fee which reflects the value you bring to the event; thus, don’t place a blanket speaking fee on your website unless you’ve decided there’s a minimum below which you will not accept a booking, or you charge the same fixed rate for every inquiry.
That said, do make it clear, if it's the case with where you are in your speaking career, that fees are or are not required, and a general range if appropriate.
I do not profess to understand great design beyond the basic “I’ll know it when I see it”. However, I do recommend to speakers that they use website A/B testing software like Google Optimize to test different layouts. We often don’t know what our audiences want; tools like Optimize let us test various assumptions to find out in a data-driven way.
One of the greatest failings of many speakers' speaking pages is that they're not effectively measuring their pages. Make sure your speaking page, at a minimum, has a completed form set as a goal in Google Analytics. More advanced speakers will use things like retargeting pixels to advertise to event planners over time if they don't complete the form. The most advanced speakers will have a dashboard showing their speaking page's performance over time, which can help them and their agents manage and measure their reputation.
At the very least, make sure you're measuring and tracking the levels of interest in your speaking page!
Make Your Speaking Page Sell
Every speaking page should generate booking inquiries. Every page must thus speak to the audience - event planners - about their needs, answer their questions, and provide reassurance that they are making a sound, safe choice in hiring you as a speaker. Use heuristics such as logos and badges, videos, and testimonials to provide reassurance and safety, combined with best in class marketing automation to maximize your booking opportunities and speaking fees.
Disclosure: this post has been updated through the years. The most recent edits included virtual options to reflect the world as it is now.
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