How to attract top speakers & influencers for your next virtual event

Sanchi
• November 27, 2020
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id you know that the number of virtual events planned by organisations has doubled in 2020? It’s even more surprising to know that the main reason for choosing virtual events is not to boost sales but to keep the team members connected (as suggested by 91% respondents; source: Wild Apricot)

Are you wondering how it is being implemented, what challenges are being faced? One of the common challenges is to attract top speakers and influencers in your event because the success of any event depends on the “keynote speakers” or “influencers”. 

Influencers can be easily called “human billboards” as they attract huge audiences while highlighting the reputation and the superiority of the event.

However, searching for the right event influencers and convincing them to speak at your event is not a cakewalk. Many organisations struggle to find the most appropriate methods to capture the attention of a potential event influencer. Let us examine some top suggestions and how you can leverage such practices to your advantage.

Read: Getting started with virtual events

How to search for speakers and the right influencers?

There are several speaker databases and lists available, which you can sort through and find the relevant people to contact. The more well-known names will come straight to the mind, but for the lesser-known ones, you may have to explore several sources to find the right individuals.

Before the event, you can advertise about your event on your website or social media, seeking out speakers, and interested ones may contact you. It’s an effective way to appeal to the fresh talent related to your industry. They might be looking for events to make a mark.

Social media can spread the word far and wide, so utilise it to the most. Researching Hashtags is another way to identify target influencers. You can tune in to the conversations surrounding these hashtags, to identify active talkers as well as the audience in these categories.

From the list of candidates, filter those that you think can fire up your event. Review the work of each influencer by reviewing their content, to get a real feel of their work. Highlight the top performers whose speech has been impressive, engaging, and matching with your stipulations. 

Finding the right speaker that aligns with your brand and purpose is the most vital feature of organising the event. When your speaker or influencer complements what you have to offer, and provides epic content, the target audience will be attracted massively.

Now that you have made your choice, how do you convince them, such that they accept your invitation? It’s a little more tricky than sending a mere invitation, especially if you are unknown to them. 

Read: Event trends to watch out for in 2020

How to prepare a compelling invitation to the speakers and influencers?

Extend your research on the selected speakers and plan a proposal offer in a meaningful way. Focus on how you can make it attractive for them, that they cannot deny your request. You may keep these things in mind:

  • Give them more exposure. 
  • Plan a long-term relationship and promotion even after the event is over
  • Associate with your other partners, speakers, and contacts
  • Offer them appropriate compensation and perks. 

Most of the time, speakers do not want hefty “speaking fees”, instead they want more popularity and connect. Therefore, if they feel they may gain a more opportune audience or community of people, they would agree. Create a draft and start the process of connecting with them.

Read: Best practices to make your webinar speaker ready

It’s not about having the biggest influencer to speak at your virtual event but about finding the right fit that can attract more audiences.

It’s not about having the biggest influencer to speak at your virtual event but about finding the right fit that can attract more audiences.

Pointers to address potential speakers

• Communicate wisely

Don’t communicate without an entire plan; vague statements lead to uncertainty in the minds of potential guest speakers. Be confident of what you are offering; no party is doing a favour to anyone; it’s mutually beneficial. 

It’s as much an opportunity for speakers as for event organisers. Speakers find a platform to influence the audience while organisers get a face for the event in the form of speakers. Ensure that you contact them in a way that they cannot reject your offer and have more probability of accepting.

If some speakers are finalised for the event, you can mention their names too.

• Define the scope of the event and be persistent

Clearly define the size, scope, and purpose of your conference, the type of audience, the number of audiences to give more clarity and vision to the speakers. 

Be persistent in the follow-up. The big names in the list of speakers may not respond to your invites, as they are quite occupied. Rather than getting disheartened about no response, try to be more persistent, and follow up through emails and calls. Know where to stop. 

• Prepare a catchy landing page on the website

Design an attractive website or landing page for your event with lots of buzz information that would interest the viewers. It should also include all critical information, date, venue, networking opportunities, and links to other social media. 

Hashtags and teasers on social media can hype-up the event and tempt more speakers as well as attendees towards attending it. Everyone wants to attend an event that is the talk of the town. 

• Keep some topics ready

Discuss the topics you have planned with potential speakers and also stay open to ideas; this will open a discussion, help get more clarity, and more chances of getting brighter thoughts. Sometimes the speaker may agree after listening to the topic.

Takeaway

Once you know the right speakers for your event, focus on building a real and sincere long-term relationship with them, and you’ll achieve it.

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