The Top 5 Misconceptions of Launching a Speaker Brand (and How to Blast Past Them!)
Whether you’re ready to launch your speaker brand full-force or just toying with the idea, there are a few notes absolutely essential to your success.
What we hear:
- “I’m going to start speaking next year/next month.”
- “I prefer to let my brand grow organically.”
- “I just need to get my keynote ready, and the rest is easy.”
- “I only speak on stages with a keynote fee of $X or higher.”
What we know: Following these misconceptions puts you on a fast track to nowhere.
While these thoughts might feel safe and look good on the surface, approaching your speaker brand like a side gig – and not a business – delays your growth, stifles your credibility, and keeps you invisible.
So prepare for a full mindset shift when it comes to launching your speaker brand, and get ready to invite credibility, visibility, and profitability into your life – and your income stream.
Excited? We are, too.
Let’s dive into the five biggest misconceptions we hear regularly from folks launching their speaker brand, and most importantly, how to avoid them.
Misconception #1: Starting “when you’re ready.”
We’ll bet a few bucks you already know why this one is on the list. If you’re thinking about launching your speaker brand – or even starting to get yourself known as an authority in your field – you are ready. Now.
What’s the danger in waiting? Time is not on your side. Speaking opportunities (including podcasts!) often book six to twelve months in advance, so if you’re ramping up to begin your speaking tour in September, you’ll need to reach out to schedulers – well – yesterday.
It’s the same story with a press release. Today’s news is only news today, and if you have something exciting and compelling to share with your audience, readers, or followers, you need to get that information out there to the people who can expand the impact of your message. ASAP.
The takeaway: The time to lay your foundation is now. Wanting to get on stages in Q3 or Q4? It’s time to craft your message and create your assets so that you can plug them into a solid strategy. Consider a press release to announce you’re ready to begin booking speaking engagements as soon as the inkling to speak crosses your mind.
Misconception #2: Joining a Speaker Bureau.
Here’s how speaker bureaus work in a nutshell: they don’t create demand; they manage demand. Big difference.
Here’s how it works, typically:
Step 1: You sign up with a speaker bureau, promising 20-30% of your speaking income back into their pockets.
Step 2: You sign an exclusivity agreement, limiting your ability to work with others or pursue speaking engagements independently.
Step 3: You wait for the speaker bureau to connect you with (only) paid speaking engagements, competing for the same run-of-the-mill spots as every other speaker in your field.
Notice what’s left off this list? Things like developing your own brand as a thought leader in your industry, gaining support and guidance as a new or emerging speaker, controlling your branding, developing your pitch and your messaging, and cultivating your unique voice are nowhere to be seen.
Speakers who engage exclusively with bureaus may also miss out on the extremely valuable step of developing relationships with the press, event planners, and other key players in your industry. When you’re at the forefront of their minds, they’ll be calling you first when it comes to new engagements or opportunities that fit your mission and your message. And this is definitely the case for nonprofits and podcasting that will rarely – if ever – come to you through a bureau.
The Takeaway: Speaker bureaus don’t create demand; they manage it. And you deserve as big a piece of the speaker pie as you’d like. If you want to increase the demand for your public speaking, turn to a trusted team of experts who are all working for you.
Misconception #3: Trusting your speaker brand to “just happen.”
Have you heard the phrase, “You make your own luck?”
Solid speaker brands don’t happen by accident.
They’re built with consistent hard work, just like any other business. (And yes, you should treat your speaker brand like a business if you want to create the visibility, credibility, profitability, and impact that led you to add speaking to your brand in the first place!)
To develop your speaking brand, you’ll need to simultaneously:
- define your niche,
- develop your messaging,
- strategically create a strong online presence,
- network with industry experts, and
- tailor your pitches to the right audience.
Only then is it time to pitch, land and complete speaking engagements.
The Takeaway: Strategically building your speaker brand takes dedicated time and resources, the same as any other business. You make your own luck.
Misconception #4: Dismissing the idea that speaking can’t make serious money.
Oh, sweet summer child, let us count the ways!
Monetizing your speaker brand has the potential to go SO far beyond keynote fees.\
- Book sales.
Are you an author promoting your book? Get on the speaking circuit. Leverage. With strategic messaging, placement and audience-building, many successful authors understand the power of leveraging both.
- Selling from the stage.
We recently had a speaking client complete a podcast guest interview that led to $115k in new business. When the timing, messaging, and platform are right, you meet your audience in a place where they’re already consuming content just like yours, and they are more ready and willing to buy.
- Online courses and workshops.
Increasing your speaker brand efforts inevitably leads to you building your audience and the likelihood that you will find your just-right clients for online courses and workshops. Plus, many speaking engagements can be repurposed into these types of courses, leading to an evergreen income stream for your business.
- Leveraging. An oft overlooked piece of the puzzle. The name of the game in speaking (and in PR) is leverage- using each experience as an opportunity to climb the ladder. For example, if you successfully speak at Coca Cola’s event, your very next stop should be Pepsi to talk about what you can do for them.
The Takeaway: Monetizing your public speaking efforts beyond keynote fees isn’t just a plus. It’s solid business sense, especially for emerging speakers. There is PLENTY of money to be made as a speaker when you have the assets and the strategy you need.
Misconception #5: Thinking you only need a great keynote.
Possibly the single biggest misconception of them all and one that we hear Every. Single. Week. Here in the Whitter Group.
Here’s the thing: it doesn’t matter if you’ve got the greatest keynote in all the land (and we’re talking really, REALLY fantastic) if you can’t get in the door to share it.
You don’t need a great keynote.
You need a great PITCH.
So many folks will spend months, even years, developing their just-right, perfectly-poised keynote address…only for it to sit in a binder on the shelf collecting dust because nobody knew about it.
When you start with the pitch, you dial in your message to a set of ultra-compelling, high-powered words and phrases that pack a serious punch.
Promoters, press, booking agents, event planners, and conference organizers do not want to read your keynote before deciding whether to book you.
- Proof that you have speaker experience (which makes podcast guest appearances such a bang-for-your-buck approach),
- Proof that you have a message that’s relevant to their audience, and
- Proof that you can deliver your message in an impactful, valuable way.
What shows all three? You guessed it: A solid pitch.
The Takeaway: Spend your time crafting your message with crystal clarity and consistency. Then develop your pitch that is both impactful and sets you apart from the crowd. Finally, use both to get you in front of the audiences most aligned with your long-term vision and goals. The rockstar keynote will follow.
Some real talk: Stop trying to skip the foundational tools and principles you need to launch and grow your successful speaker brand. Can it be done? Sure, kinda. But will it feel good, smooth, and sustainable in the long run? Unlikely. Will it get you as visible, credible or profitable as doing it the right way? Highly doubtful.
Hiring an experienced team- one that has messaging, speaking and PR all in one place- is a far better investment of your money – and your time.
The Whitter Group provides everything you need to launch and grow your speaker brand. In addition to being your #1 supporters, cheerleaders and team, here’s what else you get:
- messaging and brand development,
- content and asset creation,
- strategy buildout,
- 2:1 coaching,
- media training + media relations
- PR (ie. getting you booked!)
Together, we decide how to target your audiences and get in front of them. We create an insatiable demand for your leadership and your message. And we help you grow your connections from local to global, extending your impact as far and wide as possible.
Ready to dip your feet into the water? Yes or yes, because we sure are ready to explore with you what that might look like. Maybe it’s a custom list of podcasts and a new pitch…Maybe it’s a well-crafted press release to help establish your authority and credibility in your industry. Or maybe you’re ready to cannonball into your speaker brand once and for all. Wherever you are on your journey, we’ve got you. DM to set up a time to chat.