Event Marketing: 3 tips to set your speakers up for success
I’ve discovered firsthand in my role as Event Content Specialist at MarketingSherpa that creating content for your events can be a daunting task given all the factors that weigh in on making them a success.
However, as the cliché goes, “the show must go on.”
As we prepare for Web Optimization Summit in New York City held May 21-23, I decided to put together a few quick tips that can help you on your event planning journey.
Tip #1. Make sure speakers are relevant to your audience
There’s a bit of a dilemma during the early stages of planning: How do you select the right speakers for your event?
Oftentimes, while skimming through applications from speakers, a tempting brand name or title seems to pop out and yell “CHOOSE ME!” but realistically, not every brand or C-suite exec is going to be a good fit into your overall agenda.
For example, if you book the CEO of Puppies Inc. for a keynote at Kitten World 2014, you may have a tough time ahead with your audience on the mismatch.
When vetting the speaking applications, it’s important to make sure that their content applies to the overall event. Speakers that are a good fit will not only keep your audience engaged, but they will also deliver comfortably on stage, instead of working hard to adapt their content on the fly to fit the audience.
For the case study sessions at our Summits, finding speakers that our audience can relate to is a cornerstone in our process. Relevance is even a part of our own value proposition, as we love to feature brand-side marketers as speakers for an audience of marketers who are also in the marketing trenches every day.
Tip #2. Create outlines and templates for external speakers
Each speaker has his or her own style of presenting.
Some people love to use a lot of slides and pictures, while others prefer a wall of text. I’ve seen beautiful PowerPoint decks with wonderful builds – however, I’ve also seen presentations that need a little improvement.
To help keep the content at your events to a fixed standard, try encouraging speakers to use a written outline before any slides are built. This can help provide them with a framework for building out their presentation and it can also help identify any gaps in the content.
Also, creating a PowerPoint (or whichever platform is your preference) template for speakers to use is a great way that event planners can also ensure brand standards are maintained.
Tip #3. Use moderators to help your speakers deliver with confidence
At Summits, with the exception of keynotes, our guest speakers are not professional speakers. They’re marketers who have discovered what works – and what has not worked – and they want to share their findings with their peers.
As you would expect, being in front of a packed house to speak is not easy for everyone. To help our speakers feel a little more comfortable and confident in their public speaking skills, we use moderators.
Moderators take the stage with our speakers and tee them up for success by walking with them through the challenges, key points and discoveries. By assigning speakers a moderator, he or she acts as a liaison for the speaker through the entire process.
They work on the presentation together and build a relationship over the course of the project that really makes a big difference when it’s show time.
Rome wasn’t built in a day
Events are hectic, tiresome and if anything can go wrong, it will.
The most important tip I can offer is this: always learn and improve.
By setting your speakers and guests up for success with a fixed process and clear expectations, you’re already ahead of the pack. The trick is to stay ahead by refining what you do with the new things you learn.
Do you have any tips from a speaker or planner point of view? Let me know what’s worked for you, either comment below, or reach out to me on Twitter @JessicaPLorenz.
Also, if you’re interested in speaking at one of our future events, check out our call for speakers for MarketingSherpa Email Summit 2015.
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