Not Just All Talk: Public speaking can be a big revenue generator, if you set yourself up well
June 14, 2019
So what can you do to become one of those high-paid public speakers? It starts with your personal branding.
It may seem like a bit of a chicken-egg scenario: what comes first—the talk, or the talking about the talk? It’s not uncommon for would-be speakers to focus on content up front. But as tempting as it may be to spend a lot of time perfecting your signature keynote, you’re going to be delivering it to an empty room if you don’t spend just as much time at the beginning of your public speaking endeavor developing a branding strategy around you, the speaker.
Ready to turn your public speaking from a pipe dream to an actual revenue stream? Follow these personal branding tips.
Define Your Brand
Even if you haven’t given a speech anywhere, you probably have a feel for the way you talk and the things you like to talk about. And if you are already doing some speaking, you’ve definitely thought about these things. Are you polite and intellectual, or are you brash? Are your speeches emotionally charged or are they evidence-based? Do you use humor often, or are your speeches deeply serious? Do you focus on business advice or life-improving tips?
The way you answer these questions is going to inform your personal brand. That’s right—your brand. Every speaker has a brand, just like a company does. You should apply it not just to your prepared speeches, but also to every single public representation of yourself, like your tweets and your Instagram stories.
Build Your Online Presence
Those tweets and stories? They really are important. Billions of people access Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube every day. To expand your reach and get noticed more quickly, you need a multi-pronged digital marketing strategy:
- Have a blog to deliver long-form motivation to your followers
- Use YouTube to post enticing excerpts from your speaking engagements
- Hop on Twitter for short bursts of inspiration
- Keep your audience motivated through the content you aggregate on Facebook.
Being all over the internet—in a smart, strategic way—will allow you to continue to engage your base. Social media is a perfect example of getting back what effort you put in. Don’t half-ass it.
Not Just Content—Content Strategy
Content creation is one of the most important parts of any online presence today. A strong content creation strategy introduces new people to your brand while engaging your current users. But you shouldn’t just be creating content for content’s sake.
The best content is consistent and relevant—to you, and to your audience. Make sure you consider your personal brand, and stay on-brand and on-message. Ideally, you should aim to create at least one blog post per week, one social media post per day, and two videos per month. You may also want to think about starting your own podcast or appearing on the podcasts of other speakers with a similar audience to the one you’re working to cultivate.
Boom! Now you’ve got a multi-channel engagement content strategy.
Sharing Is Caring
Share your content. I’ll say it again: share your content! But, just like you were strategic in creating your content, you should be strategic in how, and how often, you’re doing that sharing.
Sharing content too often can make you appear desperate. Sharing content not often enough can reduce your visibility. Likewise, you’ll want to find the happy medium between posting exactly the same content across all platforms, and posting so much different content that you seem unfocused.
Because your brand is that of someone who can both motivate and connect with your audience, moderation is key. And when you get it figured out, you’ll significantly boost engagement with your brand without alienating or distracting potential audience members.
Your fans are used to you speaking to them, but they’re going to be pretty impressed to hear you speak with them.
The internet allows public speakers to interact directly with their audiences, well after your Q&A session is done. (Or well before you’ve had an opportunity to offer a Q&A session!) Host Facebook or YouTube live sessions that allow your viewers to comment live with a question, which you can answer in the moment with your special brand of helpful advice. Or get on Twitter for short-form interaction when time allows.
Next Step: Profit
It might be a little while before you see a direct return on all of the time you’re spending on branding work outside of your speaking gigs. But eventually, your investment will pay off.
Once you’ve built a strong brand as a speaker, you can start to turn an impressive profit, even beyond your speaking gigs. There are a number of ways to do this. Some speakers focus exclusively on high-paid events, others pour their energy into books, and still more offer helpful online courses.
One revenue stream you probably don’t want, though? Advertisers. While ads can be helpful on late-career podcasts, they can alienate early audience members and damage your personal brand. If you find yourself needing advertisers, instead consider accepting donations via PayPal or Patreon in exchange or exclusive bonus content not available elsewhere. This can help you pay the bills while you continue to grow your brand, and it might encourage new “patrons” to support you because they want to know what they’re missing out on.
Know When To Ask for Help
If you need assistance on any part of your online branding strategy, Remix Design can help. Our innovative team features creative experts in design and branding. Get in touch today for an approach tailored to you and invested in your success.