Virtual conferences are great for lead generation and establishing thought leadership. These events have been replacing in-person conferences due to the fact we live in a pandemic world.
Not only are in-person conferences being canceled, but virtual conferences are thriving. They have the functionality of in-person conferences like vendor booths, resources libraries, networking lounges, and more. Better yet, virtual conferences are more affordable than in-person conferences and can generate more attendees.
However, your virtual conference can’t succeed without great speakers. So, in this post, we are going to explore every angle of getting the right speakers for your next virtual event.
Why Do I Need High Profile Speakers?
In your marketing materials for your virtual conference, you need to include the speakers. If you get a well-known speaker, it’s going to make people more likely to sign up for your event.
Virtual conferences are all about thought leadership so having a seasoned speaker will ensure a great session.
Additionally, high-profile speakers have large social media followings. So, they can help you promote your virtual conference to their followers.
Assets to Create Before Pitching Speakers
There are a few ducks you need to get in a row before you start pitching speakers. These details include:
- Date of the virtual conference
- When their pre-recorded presentations are due
- Desired length of presentations
- The theme of your event
- Budget (if there is one) to compensate speakers
Having these assets in place before pitching speakers will save you a lot of time as they will weed out speakers who aren’t a good fit.
What Attendees Expect From Speakers
When someone signs up for a virtual conference they want to be educated and inspired. So, your speakers must have the knowledge and experience to deliver great presentations. In order to find such speakers, you can vet them through webinars and even other virtual conferences that they may have participated in.
Attendees also want to feel engaged with virtual conference speakers. In order to achieve this, you need to have speakers ask questions during their presentation, engage on Twitter after their session, and even be available in the virtual networking lounge.
Locating the Perfect Speakers
Lining up awesome speakers is arguably the most important thing you’ll do when putting your virtual conference together. Here are a few ways to find speakers who are the perfect fit:
- Contact bloggers you follow
- Utilize LinkedIn
- Tap into your happy consumers and ask them to present
- Purchase targeted email blasts to invite speakers
- Put up a request on HARO
- Poll your clients and ask them who they would like to see as a speaker
- Conduct a Google search to find thought leaders in your niche
The most important thing when you are pitching speakers for your virtual conference is to personalize your outreach. State why you think they would be a good fit and reference content or virtual events they’ve done so they know you did your homework.
Most of us get hundreds of emails a day and tend to skim them so be sure that your pitch is short, sweet, and to the point. Give potential speakers the necessary details about your virtual conference and give them the rest of the details if and when they decide to present at your virtual conference.
Match Your “Ask” with your “Give”
Presenting at a virtual conference can be pretty time-consuming. Speakers have to create slides, practice their presentations, record their presentations, and interact with attendees. So, you can’t just ask them to be a speaker, you also have to return the favor and provide value to them.
Matching your give with your ask can be done a few different ways:
- Monetary compensation
- The attendee list
- Return the favor with a guest post or webinar for their brand
- Let them have their own vendor booth
- Tell them how many attendees they will be in front of for the promise of new followers
Keep Your Speakers Engaged for Future Collaboration
Once your virtual conference is over, it’s important to keep your speakers engaged so that you can establish an ongoing relationship with them. Thank them for speaking at your event and send periodic emails to them to keep in touch.
It’s also a good idea to share their presentations after they stream on social media and tag them so that they get some recognition and appreciation.
Your Speakers Can Help Promote Your Event
One of the most effective and free ways to promote your event is to enlist the help of your speakers. They can promote your virtual conference in a variety of ways including:
- Sharing the event on their social media
- Emailing their contacts in their newsletter list
- They can do a sneak peek version of their presentation
Your lineup of speakers can make or break your virtual conference. Be strategic on who you choose and keep open communication with them so that they feel valued and can help you promote your event.
High-profile speakers tend to have large social followings and if you use them in your marketing materials, they have the power to increase the number of attendees by a ton. Take the time to research and identify the right speakers and this will pay off in gold.
Do you have any strategies when it comes to lining up high-profile speakers for a virtual conference? We’d love to hear what you say in the comments below!