Most of what is involved in improving brand reputation comes at a cost. Whether it’s SEO or PPC or advertisements and sponsorships offline, you’re going to need to have a strategy in place and set aside a little bit of your budget. Speaking at conferences, however, is a little bit different. Those who speak at conferences usually get a free pass to the conference, and giving a presentation doesn’t cost a thing.
You see where I’m going with this. Speaking at different conferences and seminars is a great way to improve your brand reputation as well as visibility. You won’t be speaking about your company specifically, but you will be speaking about something relevant.
Getting up the nerve to speak in front of like-minded people is definitely a challenge for most, but it’s well worth it in the end. If you’re prepared, you’ll find that practice makes perfect with this method of improving brand reputation.
How Speaking at Conferences Helps Your Brand Reputation
The obvious thought that comes into people’s minds when they think about speaking is the fact that you get a little bio that says your company in the conference program and on the conference website and that’s it. This is certainly a benefit, but a lot more happens when you decide to take this approach and give this a try:
- It helps give you face-to-face interaction. This is hard to come by these days, especially when talking about new customers. People usually stumble across your business online, so any chance you have to meet face-to-face you should take.
- You can establish trust by creating a personalized presentation. Making your presentation personal to the audience is something that is harder to do online. At a conference, you have the ability to feel the room and get prepared beforehand, and this type of encounter can help you establish trust. It gives you a great opportunity to show you care.
- You get the chance to show-off your case studies, which will show credibility. If you have your own data and examples, this is the perfect place to bring them out. This establishes credibility and shows the audience that you really know your stuff.
- Using your logo and making mention of your brand helps improve visibility. Speaking at conferences almost always involves a PowerPoint presentation. This is a great opportunity to include your logo in the header or footer of each slide to help improve the visibility of your brand and remind people where you come from.
- It’s easiest to show your personality. This one is pretty self-explanatory and goes right along with the importance of face-to-face interaction. It’s tough to let your personality really shine through online, so now is the time.
Extra: You get backlinks online from the conference. As discussed in the introduction, you will get a link back to your company website on the conference website. This certainly isn’t something that will help your brand reputation so much as your visibility, but it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
How to Find Speaking Opportunities
Whether or not you want to travel to speak at conferences depends completely on your company. If you only have the resources or the want to focus on a local audience, then visit every local conference you can. If you’re looking to expand, apply to speak at a more international conference. I say this because too many companies in lower population cities rule it out – but it shouldn’t be this way.
Regardless of where you’re willing to travel or where you need to be to gain visibility with the right audience, there are many different ways you can find opportunities:
- Search on Google. Google “top [your industry] conferences in [your town]” and see what events pop up.
- Colleges and universities often welcome speakers, even if a conference isn’t happening.
- Look on the most popular blogs in your industry to see if there are any announcements or calendars mentioning a conference or workshop.
- Talk with your clients about the groups they work with to see if you can speak.
- Talk with influencers in your industry to see if they know of any good opportunities coming up and/or how they find their opportunities.
- Go to conferences not as a speaker and network. Talk with the speakers about how they find opportunities and see if you can get involved the next year.
- Visit your local Chamber of Commerce meetings. You may even be able to start your own conference if local business is what you’re after.
Keep in mind that there will usually be an application process to be considered, so if you have any videos where you’re speaking in front of a camera that will help show off all of the things mentioned above – personality, credibility, trust, face-to-face benefits and more. Learn more about creating videos for your website here and more about creating a video SEO strategy here.
So Who Should Give the Presentation?
It’s always best to choose someone who has a passion for the subject as well as good public speaking skills, but of course this isn’t always a possibility. Usually, you’ll find that people in your company have one or the other, but not both, which poses a problem.
According to an Inc. Magazine article, because of this it is therefore best to come up with a topic along with some of the your top public speakers and actively try to have the two match up. By figuring out what subject will help your good public speakers feel passionate, you can doge this all-too-common problem. Visit the article for more specific details.
In the end, there really is no reason you shouldn’t give this approach a try. One thing that all companies of different types, sizes, and industries have in common is the importance of brand reputation and constantly improving that reputation. Speaking at conferences is a way to do this for free, so at the very least it’s worth a try.
Of course, you may have noticed one big section missing from this article – how to actually give a successful presentation. The tips above help set you up for success, but people study how to speak in public to get the most benefit, so this is a huge factor. Visit this article from Fast Company to learn more about public speaking best practices.
Have you ever spoke at a conference to improve your brand reputation? How did it work? Let us know your experience and your thoughts on this method in the comment section below.