THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING
Marketing Yourself to Speakers’ Bureaus
Do you have
executive presence? PAGE 14
How to Take Your Personal Brand Online Is it Time to Revamp Your Web Site? Get tips from 3 experts
Wired magazine’s Chris Anderson explains why $0.00 is the business of the future
T h e O f f i c i a l M a g a z i n e o f t h e N at i o n a l S p e a k e r s Asso c i at i o n • w w w. n s a s p e a k e r . o r g
THE ART AND BUSINESS OF SPEAKING
The Freeconomics of
Best-selling author and trend watcher Chris Anderson explains how speakers can apply “zero pricing” tactics to their businesses for big payoffs. Jake Poinier
o c to b e r 2009
22 Tools of the Trade: From a Bureau’s Point of View Want to get noticed and get more bookings? Create a dynamite online video. By Jessica Kizorek
26 Virtually the Same: How to Take Your Brand Online A clean, high-tech Web site that reflects your offline image will keep visitors (and clients) coming back for more. By Sara Canaday
30 Fresh Insights on Web Site Design Three Web design experts weigh in on how to revamp your site to attract and retain more visitors.
CO LU M N S 6 Reality Check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry
8 What Would You Do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums
10 Welcome to My World A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us
30 12 Relevant Resources Time-saving tools and technologies
14 It’s Your Business Advice for enterprising speakers
D EPARTM EN TS 35 Turning Point A career-changing moment or experience
38 Humor Me
4 News from Headquarters 36 Index of Advertisers 37 Calendar of Events
Quips, tips and parting shots
34 Beyond Borders Exploring culture, countries and comfort zones October 2009 | SPEAKER | 3
news from headquarters
National Speakers Association Officers Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE, President Kristin Arnold, MBA, CPF, CMC, CSP, President Elect Laura Stack, MBA, CSP, Vice President Ronald P. Culberson, MSW, CSP, Secretary Ron Karr, CSP, Treasurer Sam Silverstein, CSP, Immediate Past President Stacy Tetschner, CAE, Executive Vice President/CEO
Reported by Stacy Tetschner, CAE NSA Executive Vice President/CEO
It’s Nomination Time!
NSA will elect up to five members to the Board of Directors in spring 2010. To recommend an NSA member to serve on the Board, submit a written nomination before Friday, Nov. 6, 2009, to: NSA Nominating Committee, NSA, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. For more information, call (480) 968-2552 or email Stacy@NSASpeaker.org. Upcoming Web 2.0 Webinar NSA’s Web 2.0 Webinar series continues with a free Webinar on October 8. Clint Greenleaf, CEO of Greenleaf Book Group, will describe The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Social Media Marketing and How to Avoid Them. Register and view the complete lineup and topic descriptions at www. MyNSA.org/Webinars.aspx. Speaker Tweets Follow Speaker magazine on Twitter for links to articles, sneak peeks at upcoming issues, instant updates on NSA happenings and more! Find us at www. Twitter.com/ SpeakerMagazine. Spirit of NSA Day Celebrate the Third Annual Spirit of NSA Day, Nov. 14, 2009, by giving back to the speaking community. Introduce a colleague to a potential client, make a business referral or mentor an emerging speaker. Share your experience on the Spirit of NSA Day blog at http://SpiritofNSA.wordpress.com.
Save the Date Are you interested in attending a unique, interactive learning experience that is specially designed and facilitated by leading industry experts to help you hone your platform skills, book more engagements and make more money? Take your business to the next level by signing up for the 2009 NSA Fall Conference in Phoenix, Ariz., November 20-22. Visit www. NSAFallConference.org.
In Memorium John Jay Daly of Chevy Chase, Md., passed away on Aug. 27, 2009. An NSA member since 1978, Daly was elected three times to three-year terms on the Board of Directors. He founded the National Capital Chapter in 1980, and served twice as its president in the 90s. Daly also served on the boards of the Alzheimer’s Association and the National Capital Chapter of the Salvation Army.
This Month on V o i c e s o f E x p e r i e n c e ®
NSA’s monthly audio magazine
• Back Stage: Gerard Braud with David Nour
• NSA Fall Conference: Elly Valas
• Category of One: Joe Calloway, CSP, CPAE, with George Campbell, CSP, CPAE
• If You Could Do Just One Thing This Month: Bill Cates, CSP, Chris Clarke-Epstein, CSP, Ford Saeks and Mike Rayburn, CSP
• Ones to Watch: Jane Atkinson with Ionnie McNeill • Off Stage: Rene Godefroy with Bob Danzig, CPAE • Global Speakers Federation: Lindsay Adams, CSP 4 | SPEAKER | October 2009
• Starfish Humor: Ron Culberson, MSW, CSP, David Glickman and Michael Aronin • VOE Theme Music: Jana Stanfield, CSP • Presidentís Message: Phillip Van Hooser, MBA, CSP, CPAE
Founder Cavett Robert, CSP, CPAE Board of Directors Marjorie Brody, PCC, CMC, CSP, CPAE Kirstin Carey, CSP Jarik Conrad, EdD, MBA, MILR, SPHR Ed Gerety, CSP Scott Halford, CSP Ron Karr, CSP Linda Keith, CPA, CSP Scott McKain, CSP, CPAE John B. Molidor, PhD Ford Saeks Jean Houston Shore, CPA, MBA, CSP Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Francine Ward, JD NSA Foundation The Foundation serves NSA members and the public through: • Financial help for NSA members and their families who are facing health or natural disaster emergencies; • Grants to NSA members who need help with their dues or meeting registration fees; • Scholarships for speech/communications students and professors; • Oversight and funding for speaking-related research; and • Grants to help charitable organizations communicate through technology Founder and Chairman Emeritus Nido R. Qubein, CSP, CPAE Chair Stephen Tweed, CSP NSA Foundation Board of Trustees Lenora Billings-Harris, CSP Terry Paulson, PhD, CSP, CPAE Jane Jenkins Herlong, CSP Sam Silverstein, CSP Don Hutson, CSP, CPAE Laura Stack, MBA, CSP Ron Karr, CSP Phillip Van Hooser, CSP, CPAE John B. Molidor, PhD Al Walker, CSP, CPAE
Speaker Editorial Advisory Board Molly Cox, Chair Eileen McDargh, CSP, CPAE Jill Konrath Gina Schreck, CSP Terri Langhans, CSP Dennis Stauffer Managing Editor Barbara Parus
Publications Assistant Lauren Aiken Editorial Office and Subscriptions: National Speakers Association 1500 S. Priest Drive • Tempe, AZ 85281 Tel: (480) 968-2552 • Fax: (480) 968-0911 Web site: www.nsaspeaker.org. Advertising Sales Mandy Schulze, CMP Sponsorships, Advertising & Exhibits Manager Tel: (480) 264-4297 • Cell: (480) 600-3512 Fax: (480) 264-4298 Email: mandy@NSAspeaker.org Speaker (ISSN 1934-9076) (USPS 012-886). Volume 4, Number 2. Published monthly except February and August by the National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281. Periodicals postage paid at Tempe, Arizona, and at additional mailing offices. Contents Copyright 2009 National Speakers Association, all rights reserved. Subscription rate for NSA members is $35 of $425 annual dues allocated to Speaker; non-member subscription rate is $49 for 10 issues. Add $10 for Canadian or international postage. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Speaker, National Speakers Association, 1500 S. Priest Drive, Tempe, AZ 85281.
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realit y check Putting a fine point on the speaking industry
The NSA Fall Conference: Imagine!
ttending a conference is an investment in your career—but you already know that. What you may not know is just how much you’ll gain from this year’s NSA Fall Conference at the Arizona Grand Resort in Phoenix. This event provides a forum to exchange ideas, best practices and expertise in the speaking industry. It also offers opportunities to engage in and directly contribute to the dialogue among speakers, meeting planners and vendors. Through networking contacts, connections and programs to help you gain knowledge in sales, marketing and resources for generating content, you’ll be able to do more, speak more and earn more. But don’t overlook networking opportunities. This Conference crushes the online social networking experience. Networking is more powerful in person. You’re far more likely to strike up a relationship in person simply because people like talking to other people—especially speaker types who love to share information! You can also gain pearls of wisdom over a cup of coffee, a drink or a meal with another speaker when you least expect it.
The Next Level The line-up for the Fall Conference is packed with content to help you move to the next level. You can customize your learning experience by choosing from Intensive, Mega or Concurrent sessions—or mix ’em up. Saturday’s all-day Intensive session focuses on marketing, with Jane Atkinson, Robin Creasman and Kris 6 | SPEAKER | October 2009
Young. In this high-powered session, you will learn to develop a strong promise statement so your clients know the value of what you offer. You’ll also learn about the No. 1 form of marketing and why you need to master it. Karen Cortell-Reisman will lead a Mega session on platform skills, titled “Anatomy of a Keynote: Moving from Brain to Heart to Soul.” In this program, you’ll learn how to move from “ideation” to “keynote creation,” the seven rules of a keynote, and how to discover new sources of passionate material for your keynote. Avish Parashar will present a Mega session on humor. He’ll teach you how to tap your creativity to unleash your inner comedian; how to think in ways to be automatically funny and how to use appropriate humor even if your topic isn’t funny. And you know what they say about humor: You only need it if you want to get asked back. We have created an intimate event that offers high-level presenters who will help you grow your business. You’ll learn from the best, including: • Vickie Sullivan on branding. • Janice Hurley-Trailor on raising your image and your income. • Marcia Reynolds, Master Certified Coach, on maximizing your “tween” time using coaching to increase your income • Laura Leist on Outlook and productivity.
Save the Dates! Fall Conference Nov. 20-22, 2009 Arizona Grand Resort Phoenix, Ariz. Winter Conference Feb. 12-14, 2010 Nashville Airport Marriott Nashville, Tenn.
• Marilee Driscoll on developing highprofit product.
Be Inspired! To emphasize learning, doing and networking, only two general sessions will be offered, but they will rev you up and motivate you long after the Conference is over. Frank Miles escaped death to discover that true courage isn’t about facing death; it’s about facing life every day. His “Get a Grip” program will help you get a handle on life’s toughest challenges. In her “Press Pause … Think Again” program, Patricia Katz will tell attendees how to cope with the unique and crazy pressures of a speaker’s life. Register for the Fall Conference at www.NSAFallConference.org. Save $100 when you register for the Fall 2009 and Winter 2010 Conferences. It’s shaping up to be a great year for learning. Don’t miss it!
Author, speaker and consultant Elly Valas is 2009 NSA Fall Conference Chair. She is the president and founder of Valas Consulting Group, LLC, and a co-author of Guerrilla Retailing, part of the legendary Guerrilla Marketing series with more than 14 million books in print. Valas also served as president and CEO of the North American Retail Dealers Association (NARDA).
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what would you do? Casting a reality check on real-world conundrums
I would tell them that I consider the actual slides to be proprietary, and I’d be happy to provide them with the handout of the presentation. My handouts contain bullet points and phrases from the actual presentation, reference sources and other information, and include lined areas for notes. When you offer to provide the handout, even for people who didn’t attend, they have a hard time arguing that it’s not the actual PowerPoint®. —Stephanie Angelo, SPHR Chandler, Ariz.
As a speaker, trainer and consultant, I believe the more attendees use my ideas, the more likely they will book me again. During every presentation, I offer to e-mail my complete program workbook so they can share my ideas with their team. My only requirement is that my name must be attached to any idea used. In 28 years, no one has ever taken advantage of me or ripped off my material. I can identify numerous companies who later hired me stating how impressed they were with my openness and sharing. This philosophy has contributed to over 90 percent of my clients booking me more than once. —Jim Pancero CSP, CPAE Minneapolis, Minn.
8 | SPEAKER | October 2009
Let it Slide
The groups you speak to are constantly requesting copies of your slides to distribute to their attendees. Audience members also are asking you to e-mail your slides to them for “reference” or to share with their team. How do you handle these requests? What would you say or do?
This is tricky because speakers are told that “the more you give away, the more business you get.” Giving away proprietary material, however, can get out of hand. I always offer to send attendees an overview of my material, and if they want more detailed information, I let them know it is available in any of my books on the subject. In this way, I don’t turn them down flat, but I’m not giving away material that should be paid for. —Stevie Ray Minneapolis, Minn.
Why aren’t speakers loading their slides voluntarily onto places like Slideshare to add value and share information more freely? Posting your slides, letting the client record your presentation for a podcast, or uploading a video of the presentation will only help your message linger and bond you to your clients. They won’t forgo hiring you for a conference next time because they can gather around and listen to your podcast and click through your slides! I recommend every speaker read Jeffrey Jarvis’s What Would Google Do? This will change your outlook on hoarding your slides and knowledge! — Gina Schreck, CSP Littleton, Colo.
What Would You Do? is a regular column that presents a real-life dilemma faced by professional speakers. NSA members are encouraged to submit a dilemma for possible discussion in this column. Please submit dilemmas to ethics@ nsaspeaker.org. NSA reserves the right to edit submissions for length and style. All dilemmas will be anonymously attributed. Opinions expressed are those of the individual respondents, not NSA.
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welcome to my world A snapshot into the lives of the people who hire us
Close Up and Personal with a Speakers’ Bureau
hen it comes to knowing the business, Preferred Speakers has been around longer than any other bureau. It was founded in 1938—more than seven decades ago. Co-owner Sheila Harris shared her knowledge of the bureau business with Molly Cox.
Tell me about the Preferred Speakers Bureau. Our family acquired the business in 1981. My parents, Warren and Nancy Burke, ran the business along with Preferred Meetings. They didn’t plan for these businesses to run simultaneously; it just happened. I joined the business in 1986, followed by each of my five brothers and sisters. Today, my sister, Annie Spizale, and I are co-owners. We book some of the top talent in the nation, and also deal with nonfamous speakers and trainers. We think they’re famous in their own right.
What fee range do you book most often? $15,000 is the average. We book a lot of engagements under $5,000 and over $25,000. It’s rare to book people in the $6,000 to $10,000 range.
What do you like about working with speakers? I like working with seasoned speakers who do this for a living. They are willing to partner with us to get the job done. It seems like professional 10 | SPEAKER | October 2009
speakers (especially members of NSA) see the benefit of customer satisfaction for everyone involved. We take NSA membership seriously, and check to see if a speaker is a member because it shows if he or she is a professional.
“Our best relationships are with speakers who are easy to work with, deliver on their promises, get spin-off business and send us occasional referrals.” What turns you off about speakers? I’m annoyed by their weird fees. I like solid fees. There are certain speakers who want me to tell them about the assignment before they tell me their fee. That’s not the way it works. If it’s a booking for Sprint or Nextel, it shouldn’t matter. It’s all right if someone says, “Sheila’s fee is $10,000 but she’s willing to work at a lesser fee based on availability.” But don’t be all over the board.
What should speakers know about your business? We invest time with a client, learn their needs, budget and venue, and search for speakers to fill that need. Then, out of the blue, we will receive a call that they booked someone else from another bureau, or they no longer want a humorist in the
$5,000 range—they want to book Eric Clapton (true story). It’s also important to know that bureaus like referrals. Our best relationships are with speakers who are easy to work with, deliver on their promises, get spin-off business and send us occasional referrals.
Are some speakers difficult? Yes, and we call them high-maintenance speakers (HMS). But, when speakers are easy to work with and professional, everyone wins. They have their paperwork in order (bio, descriptions, photos, etc.), and don’t need to rework it for every speech. Luckily, only a small percentage of speakers are difficult.
What drives you crazy about speakers? I don’t like speakers who are unresponsive. If we’re working with a client and send out a request, the meeting planner expects to hear back from us immediately. Don’t call us back four days later and say, “I heard you called.”
What changes have you seen in the business? Planners are using more industry speakers. And sometimes they’re not holding meetings at all.
What emerging topics will require more speakers? Healthcare, the environment and living in the solution (attitude). As the economy turns around, we will see more tried-and-true topics return.
How can speakers connect with you to demonstrate their value? Introduce yourself by mailing a handwritten letter. We don’t have enough photo credit goes here
office space to house material, so just give us your Web site address. And stay in touch by e-mail a few times a year. Bureaus are in the relationship business and we want to get to know you. When we visit your Web site, we want to view a high-quality video that shows us what you really do in front of an audience. Also, list your clients, your products and the articles you’ve written. If we’ve never heard of you before, we want to know enough to be able to book you. What makes you an expert or unique? We sell you, so help us by creating a site that is easy to navigate and delivers fast, accurate information.
Anything else we should know?
Molly Cox is a speaker and the
It’s an honor and a privilege to work with speakers and meeting planners to help entertain, educate and inspire audiences nationwide. And, if we can make a little money, that’s even better.
co-author of the book, Improvise This! How to Think on Your Feet so You Don’t Fall on Your Face (Hyperion 2002). Her inspirational and educational film, Humor, Health and the Caregiver, will be released in November
Sheila Harris is co-owner of
2009 in coordination with National
Caregivers month. Cox can be reached at
Speakers, the nation’s oldest
firstname.lastname@example.org. For more
speakers’ bureau. It finds
information, visit www.mollyspeaks.com.
celebrity entertainers and inspirational keynote speakers on leadership, change and motivation, and business for meetings, seminars, events and conventions. For more information, visit www.
Would a crisp $100 bill work?
Are we still on the record?
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October 2009 | SPEAKER | 11
relevant resources Time-saving tools and technologies
Desktop Essentials Four free applications that will change your life
o you ever wish you could save specific parts of Web sites, photos, documents and messages without losing formatting and links? Now you can. EverNote lets you capture what you want and find it whenever and wherever you need it, so you’ll never have to use a sticky note again. Doing research for a keynote? Use the Web Clipper to drag and drop Web pages, e-mails, business cards, photos, audio and more into EverNote where you can organize them into notebooks and synchronize to all of your devices for easy retrieval. Love that wine you had with dinner? Snap a photo of the label with your phone’s camera and load it directly to EverNote so you won’t forget the name. Simply login to EverNote from any device to retrieve your notes. Available for Windows, Mac, iPhone and Blackberry. – www.EverNote.com
All Hands on TweetDeck
witter is all the rage right now, and so are the many Twitter applications that claim to make “tweeting” a cinch. One in particular is taking over NSA headquarters and is also coveted by famous Twitter celebrity couple Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher. TweetDeck, a desktop application compatible with multiple operating systems, connects you with all of your Twitter and Facebook contacts and lets you tweet like a pro whether you opened your account a year ago or yesterday. With all the capabilities of Twitter.com and more, like creating groups, automatic URL shortening and media sharing, TweetDeck organizes everything Twitter into columns and lets you choose what you want to see. As their Web site states, “It’s like air traffic control for Twitter.” – www.TweetDeck.com.
12 | SPEAKER | October 2009
Tip: RT stands for “Re-Tweet.” If someone says something you like and wish to re-tweet, simply hover your mouse over their photo and click on the horizontal arrow icon that pops up in the bottom left corner of the square. Their message will then appear in your tweet field like this: RT @SpeakerMagazine: What are some of your favorite apps? People love it when you RT their messages and will usually return the favor if you add “Please RT” to your next tweet.
Tip: Use EverNote to lighten your load. With Evernote, it doesn’t matter what computer you use, because all of your documents and notes are always in sync waiting for you.
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f you’re not using Skype already, you should be! Paying for phone calls is old news. With Skype, you can make Skype-to-Skype calls completely free so you never have to worry about time, distance or receiving a hefty bill each month. All you need is an Internet connection and you’re ready to start searching for contacts using your e-mail contact list or by simply keying in names. You can also make calls to landlines, mobile devices and international locations at great rates. Going offline? Use Skype to automatically forward your calls. Or, set up voicemail so you never miss an important call again. What are you waiting for? – www.Skype.com.
Tip: If you are chatting with your team and want to distribute a file to several people at the same time, there’s no need to do separate file transfers. Simply drag and drop a file onto the chat window and it will be sent to everyone in the chat (they have to accept it, of course).
Ga Ga for Google
t’s indisputable that Google is the leading search engine around, and if you’re going to be “googling” all day anyway, why not make it your homepage – iGoogle that is. iGoogle is a customizable homepage that includes a Google search field at the top, and lets you add your choice of widgets to boost productivity. You can view your Gmail messages, read headlines from top news resources, check the weather, store bookmarks, make a to-do list and even share your Google calendar or Google Docs with other Google users. Choose from numerous themes and move, add and delete widgets as you please. – www.Google.com/ig. photo credit goes here
Tip: If you take a lot of notes, add the Google Notebook widget (www.Google.com/Notebook) to iGoogle and maximize it to full screen. You can use it as a scratch pad for meeting notes and tag entries so they can later be exported to Google Docs and emailed through Gmail.
October 2009 | SPEAKER | 13
It’s your business Advice for enterprising speakers
Executive Presence: How to Get “It” and Keep It
ust last week, a client confided, “My boss says I’m off the charts in substance, but the company doesn’t see me as executive material.” Obviously, this individual lacked executive presence. When a person possesses this quality, others take notice. They’ll say: “He controls the room” or “She commands attention as soon as she speaks.” Or, they might say she has the intangible “it” factor.
What Is “It”? First, it’s important to define what “it” is not. Executive presence is not about first impressions. It’s not about ability. And it’s not necessarily about content, though knowledge and expertise are important. Executive presence is about consistent long-lasting impressions created over time by the way someone expresses himself and engages with others. 14 | SPEAKER | October 2009
A person with executive presence can walk into a room and immediately command attention by the way he stands, speaks and makes steady eye contact. He can voice his ideas and beliefs, even if they are contrary to others’ opinions. People who exude executive presence seem to understand their ability to influence others is not based on job title. They know what they say will be judged by how they say it. They use their personal style to empower and connect with others. The following 12 steps will help you develop your own executive presence so others see you as a leader who commands attention and instills confidence.
Speak up. Be a regular contributor at the table. Don’t wait for others to ask questions. Prepare three to four points you want to deliver before a meeting or important conversation.
State your beliefs. Articulate your ideas with confidence, even if others don’t agree. Leaders stand up and voice their opinions without apologizing or making excuses.
Use strong words. Avoid disclaimers and tentative phrases such as “It seems I get results” or “I hope to have the plan by October” or “In my humble opinion” or “I think” or “I guess.” Use assertive language, such as “I believe” or “I would like the plans on my desk by Monday” or “I get consistent results.”
Passion. Speak with passion, energy, conviction and commitment. High energy and emotional content appeal to listeners on a very human level.
Take credit. Self promotion is not bragging; it’s taking ownership and credit for your hard work so
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people notice you. Give credit to others where credit is due, but don’t overly compliment or repeatedly recognize others—especially when you have contributed to the project’s success.
Pause. Give people a chance to think for a second about what you’ve said before you continue. This will position you as a thoughtful speaker who is comfortable and confident in your delivery of information.
Ask challenging questions. Demonstrate that you will not take things at face value. Continually strive to obtain as much information as possible to accurately understand issues and make informed business decisions.
Delegate. There is a difference between delegating and doing. It’s always important to help people, but that doesn’t mean doing their work for them.
Manage the message. Avoid too much detail when speaking to colleagues. Get to the point quickly. Most people do not want to hear a lot of historical perspective and background. Be direct. State your main point up front so you deliver a clear, concise message. By getting to the point quickly, you can better address concerns and persuade others to see your point of view. Stand tall. Positive body language draws positive attention. Stand tall, make steady direct eye contact, offer a firm handshake and speak in a strong, clear voice. When speaking to a group, stand still when making a significant point and project to the back of the room for more oomph.
Have a heart. Being firm and definite doesn’t mean you have to be rude or nasty. Always be polite
and use tact when questioning or challenging others’ opinions. It will help you foster conversation and put people at ease so you can create an atmosphere of trust and open dialogue. By implementing these steps at all levels—from the mailroom clerk to the CEO—you can create your own authentic style. Then, others will view you as a self-confident and sincere leader they want to follow.
Karen Friedman is an international communications adviser who has worked with executives on four continents. She is president of Karen Friedman Enterprises, Inc., and helps business professionals and spokespeople excel in every meeting, appearance, interview and presentation. For more information, visit www. karenfriedman.com or call (610) 292-9780.
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Speak more. Spend less.
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October 2009 | SPEAKER | 15
Chris Anderson, editor-in-chief of Wired magazine
16 | SPEAKER | October 2009
Speakonomics Understanding the value of “free”can enhance your business profitability By Jake P oinier
n his newest book, Free: The Future of a Radical Price, best-selling author and digital trendwatcher Chris Anderson creates much ado about nothing. Currently editor-in-chief at Wired magazine, and a former editor at The Economist, Nature and Science, he brings a decidedly scientific approach to the taxonomy of zero pricing— from the history and psychology of free goods and services, to specific examples of how businesses are making “freemium” tactics pay off. He digs into the nitty-gritty of the myriad forms that free marketing can take, including who uses them, how they work, and why. As a result, Anderson’s thesis goes far beyond the goodies-for-nothing at your local megamart and prize at the bottom of your kids’ cereal box. His big picture is quite a bit more elegant, and based on a paradoxical truth: Digital technology, with its minimal costs of distribution and nearly limitless storage space, has created a world in which people and companies survive and thrive without direct monetary compensation from many, if not a majority, of their users. “For many speakers, the best analogy is arguably the music industry—in other words, less oriented toward selling of the product and more toward selling of the performance,” he says. “Free music serves as marketing for the artist, who ultimately makes the money from touring. As a speaker, for example, you might give away the one-size-fits-all version and sell the customized version. Fundamentally, a speaker is offering a unique deep experience, an interactive face-to-face meeting. That’s something people will still pay for.”
October 2009 | SPEAKER | 17
Is the Price Right? Interestingly enough, Anderson essentially used to speak for free— donating any fees to charity—until his wife questioned how she benefited from him being on the road all the time for no tangible income. “Currently, I do lots of different kinds of public speaking, because I wear a lot of hats, and some are free and some are for pay,” he says. “I do speeches as the editor of Wired, as the author of my books, talking to clients, talking to schools. I tend to speak in person, maybe three times a week, but there’s an occasional videoconference thrown in.” As an object lesson in cross marketing, Anderson uses his speaking as an example— and delivers a soft-sell plug—several times throughout Free. In addition to the editing, writing and speaking facets of his business, Anderson has an active entrepreneurial streak. In addition to founding a company that makes unmanned aerial drones and robotics, he’s the founder and non-executive chairman of BookTour (part owned by Amazon), which focuses on authors speaking in support of their books, typically for free.
Determine Your Business Model
Anderson believes that speakers are increasingly entrepreneurs.
What Can You Make Free? Chris Anderson’s book lists 50 business models built on one of the principles of free, categorized into three general groups. While not every example will be adaptable to every kind of professional speaker, they collectively serve to illustrate Anderson’s 4th Rule of Free: “You can make money from Free. Free opens doors, reaching new customers. It doesn’t mean you can’t charge some of them.”
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Anderson’s own experiences reinforce his opinion that speakers are increasingly entrepreneurs. “It’s a small business, so you need a business model,” he says. “Those models typically include free in one way or another, but each enterprise might handle it differently. You’ve got to think like an entrepreneur and innovate, come up with something that’s just right for you, your audience, your subject and your market. You need to start experimenting to build on successes, knock down failures, and change things up. That’s how things work online these days.” Because every speaker, subject, audience and idea is different, as is the role that speaking plays in each business, there are no hard-and-fast rules. Indeed, Anderson has seen a proliferation of models built around speaking in recent years. Nonetheless, Anderson believes strongly about what core aspects of free work best for him. “Some authors maintain very vibrant online presences—blogging and Tweeting, etc., and give away a lot to promote their ideas and to some extent themselves,” he says. “I’m among them.” White papers and columns, online or in print, are other examples of “freemiums” that can work whether your primary business is speaking or consulting. Ultimately, marketing with free content comes down to weighing two factors: “The digital costs are near-zero marginal costs, so you don’t worry too much about the cost of the free versions,” he says. “What you do have to worry about is the opportunity cost, which is to say the extent to which the free form decreases what you make from the pay form.” The celebrity, recognition and awareness resulting from the free form can be converted into money in several ways, including selling books, speeches and consulting gigs. “Giving content away allows people to participate and think about how your ideas might apply to their own business,” he says. “Free is best at maximizing your audience and awareness. For some of them, that initial information may be sufficient, and they’ll say, ‘That’s all I
need, thanks very much.’ For others, they’ll see that your ideas clearly have application, but you haven’t gotten into the details that they really need. Then that turns into a speaking engagement or a book purchase.” Anderson acknowledges that many speakers choose not to give away anything, or don’t have anything that can be easily given away. “I wouldn’t presume to say that my model works for everyone everywhere. But every speaker has to admit that, in a market where people are distributing ideas and content for free, it has an impact on you, whether you like it or not. If you have a fantastic idea that you can’t really share, I suspect you will struggle in a marketplace that has so many ideas freely propagating.” In the final analysis, Anderson says that it comes down to your belief in your core, premium product, whether that is speeches, books or something else entirely. “If that still has value, you should not fear the free form, because it’s marketing the premium form,” he says. “You still need to do a good job of making people aware there is a premium form and why they might prefer it. But the two are not in opposition.”
Born (and Raised) Free While the book Free launched in July, the topic of free has been interwoven in Anderson’s experience for decades. “I certainly didn’t invent free,” he says. “And for the type of free that we’re talking about, you need to consider that the Web is now 20 years old. So really, the book came out of my own experience of free, rather than the other way around.”
“Giving away content allows people to participate and think about how your ideas might apply to their own business.”
Give away Web content, sell printed content
Give away generic management advice, sell customized management advice
Give away “snippets,” sell books
Authors using Google Book Search
Give away content, sell access to the audience
Give away content, make money by referring people to retailers
Give away content, sell stuff
Free with purchase
Retail “loss leaders”
Buy one, get one free
Free shipping for orders over $25
(some customers subsidize others)
Three-party markets (one customer class subsidizes another)
Direct cross-subsidy (standard giveaway)
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October 2009 | SPEAKER | 19
A Free Sample When it came time to execute a “free” strategy for the launch of Free, Anderson says, “We were completely guessing.” The book was available for free in a variety of formats (Kindle, Scribd, Google Books, iTunes podcast, an e-Book, and even abridged paperback versions) for varying durations and customer groups. An unabridged version of the audiobook is free from Audible.com forever, while an abridged version was reserved as a freebie for hardcover purchasers in the United States. “Every market was different,” he says, admitting that the marketing team went into the project without a preconceived notion of what the right methodology was, whether the Scribd was available too long or the Kindle wasn’t long enough, or whether the abridged audiobook should have been the free one. “We were experimenting, measuring and hoping to have a more sophisticated understanding next time. There’s no formula or perfect mix.”
A Speaker Speaks about Free: “Abundant information wants to be free. Scare information wants to be expensive … Information that can be replicated and distributed at low marginal cost wants to be free; information with high marginal costs wants to be expensive. So, you can read a copy of this book online (abundant, commodity information) for free, but if you want me to fly to your city and prepare a custom talk on Free as it applies to your business, I’ll be happy to, but you’re going to have to pay me for my (scarce) time. I’ve got a lot of kids and college isn’t getting any cheaper.”--Chris Anderson
Anderson describes having written The Long Tail, his best-seller about the power of niche marketing, “in public.” He gave everything away on his blog and in articles, even while selling hard- and soft-cover versions of the book. “I’ve always been a big advocate of open sourcing ideas,” he says. “Everything I publish under my own name is under Creative Commons, so I don’t even protect my copyrights.” The process worked so well for “I’ve always been a big advocate of The Long Tail that it helped open sourcing ideas,” Anderson says. inform how he approached Free, giving the book away in a variety of media [see sidebar]. “That’s really pushing it out there, because now you’re not just talking about me as the author, you’re talking about the publisher’s economic interest as well.” So far, so good: It’s been firmly entrenched in the upper echelon of best-sellers list since its launch in July. Popularity aside, Anderson is not without his critics. In a book review in The New Yorker, fellow author Malcolm Gladwell (The Tipping Point, Outliers) took him to task for his comments about the future of journalism and the role of paid journalists. In various web forums, dissenters scoffed at the irony of the book’s $26.99 cover price, the environmental costs of free, and the idea that you can give away everything and still make money, which is a far cry from Anderson’s true concept. “You know, nothing in Web comments surprises me anymore,” he says. “People don’t read past the headline, then imagine what a book titled Free might say and disagree with that. One of the reasons for giving away the book is so that people could read it and discuss what I actually said, rather than what they imagine I might have said.” Given that the book was downloaded in various free electronic forms 300,000 times in the first month, in addition to the best-selling hardcopy versions, there’s surely enough fodder to allow a rousing debate.
Contributing writer Jake Poinier embraces the power of freeconomics by blogging about writing, entrepreneurship and marketing at jakepoinier.blogspot.com.
(excerpt from Free)
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NSA is proud to continue its FREE 2009 Web 2.0 Webinar series. There are four Webinars remaining in the series, and each is packed with information on using social networking to boost your business, whether you’re a beginner or pro.
The next Webinar will feature Clint Greenleaf on “The 10 Most Common Mistakes in Social Media and How to Avoid Them” on October 8, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST.
Save the date for other upcoming Webinars:
November 12, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST
December 10, 4 p.m. to 5 p.m. EST
Profiles, Pages, Groups—Building a Facebook Presence for Business
How to Optimize Your Organic Search Results Leveraging Social Media and Your Own Website
Presenter: Michelle Cullison
Presenter: Heather Lutze
For more information and to register for Webinars, visit www.mynsa.org/Webinars.aspx.
Introducing the Digital Edition of Speaker Magazine! r Online and interactive r All the features of Speaker’s print edition
r Fully searchable r Clickable table of contents r Hot links to advertiser sites r Use your browser—no special software needed
www.nsaspeaker-magazine.org photo credit goes here
October 2009 | SPEAKER | 21
Tools Trade From a Bureauâ€™s Point of View | By Jessica Kizorek
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Bureau executives will argue about the pros and cons of going digital, but all agree that technology is changing the nature of the speaking business. As a speaker, you have two core job functions: marketing yourself and delivering programs. Speakers’ bureaus are calling for you to alter your thinking in both arenas.
How to Market Yourself Online Video A bureau’s No. 1 marketing tool is online video. You can do everything right, but if you don’t have a superb, marketable collection of online video for each of your programs, you will fail miserably in your attempts to get booked through a bureau. In the initial selection process, meeting planners are skipping over the lengthy bios and program descriptions and heading straight to speakers’ videos, whether they’re on Vimeo, YouTube, a speaker’s Web site or the bureau’s site. You have about 60 seconds to make a good first impression
before they will consider watching and reading more. Online video may not be the only determining factor in getting hired, but it’s the only way to get a foot in the door. “Tailor-made video clips delivered through the Internet make a great addition to live speaking engagements,” according to Barrett Cordero, executive agent at BigSpeak Inc. and Leadership Excellence University. “Whether it’s a pre-event promotion, or a follow-up on YouTube, customized videos sustain learning and help my clients get a better ROI from the event.”
Hard Copy Media Online video and audio downloads may be intrinsic to capturing attention, but don’t overlook the continued need for hard copy media. Bureaus lose patience with speakers who want to do everything electronically. According to Diane Goodman, president of Goodman Speakers Bureau, “Your job is to actively provide me with whatever tools that I need to work with my clients. I’m not going to have someone in my office rip video content off a speaker’s Web site and burn it onto a DVD. Send me what I want.”
updates can keep you top of mind and provide ammunition to for your bureau to sell you. Updates may be short, but link back to your blog to elaborate on noteworthy appearances or information. Post updates such as TV appearances, published articles, video testimonials, raving client reviews and new material. Your intention is not to brag about how great you are, but simply to increase the touch points where bureaus can find out about your value proposition and accomplishments. “Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter may eventually be footnotes as newer portals emerge,” says Rich Gibbons, president of Speak Inc., and past president of IASB. “Embrace digital platforms with wide-open arms, but you’ll never be able to synthetically reproduce the organic chemistry of people in a room together.”
For clients and bureaus that want a hard copy, there’s a new product on the market called DualDisc—DVD on one side, and audio CD on the other (www.dualdisc.com). Minimize your production and shipping expenses by sandwiching your material. Beware of tech morons who won’t know what to do with your disk. Make sure the packaging clearly labels what’s on it and how to use it.
Social Media Updates Social media may be the craze, but are 24 | SPEAKER | October 2009
your clients listening? Do they respond, react or comment on your posts? Are you posting updates that make you more marketable for them? Bureau executives like Gail Davis have a daily routine of scanning social media sites to catch up on speakers who pique their interest. According to Davis, “We are all inundated with email and phone calls, so social media is a non-invasive way to keep someone like me informed. It’s an easy way to be aware of their [speakers’] schedules, travels and audiences.” Regular
When people leave home each day, they take their keys, money and cell phone with them. With the increased capability of mobile devices, people are accessing more and more of their data on those devices. Not only do they make phone calls, they also send and receive text messages. Now they are surfing the Web, searching on Google, looking for videos and downloading files. Get ready to make your Web site, videos and emails mobile friendly. For example, cell phones don’t display Flash, so your Web site needs to be coded in HTML. Given the small size of the screen, and the short attention span of users, it’s unlikely that they will watch a 60-minute virtual presentation on their cell phones. There’s an increasing number of people, however, who want to take an initial peek at a speaker’s profile and info while on the go. “It’s not just about employing the current digital tools—we have to have photo credit goes here
our eye on the next horizon as well,” says Esther Eagles, president of Eagles Talent Connection, Inc. “Right now, we’re trying to figure out how to deliver all of our content on mobile devices, because it’s all about staying one step ahead of what our clients want.”
Snail Mail: The Anti-Technology Business professionals are heavily reliant on digital communication, especially e-mail. Speak Inc.’s Gibbons comments, “Email may be faster and more efficient, but it’s led to a tremendously saturated digital fabric. As a result, pen and ink jump out at you more than ever.” When’s the last time you received a personalized thank-you card in the mail? Hand-written cards and letters (not an obvious bulk mailing) make a tremendous impact on a bureau when you need to add the human touch and get points for extra effort.
Delivering Programs Hologram Technology
Though practically all bureaus agree that nothing will ever take the place of a live presentation, there are plenty of factors that enable a more effective virtual delivery. A British company, Musion Systems (www.musion.co.uk), developed a system that delivers lifesize holographic figures with full motion and no latency between sound and image. Using a high-speed Internet connection, it is, quite simply, transforming the future of communication. We’ve all seen it on StarTrek, so we get the point. At the current juncture, the technology is still cost prohibitive, so it will be a while before 3D projections rival video through a projector or on a flat screen. Brian Palmer, president of National Speakers Bureau asks, “People do seem to be really taken by the holographic photo credit goes here
technology, but are they willing to absorb the expense and complexity?” Bureaus might not be pushing the option, but they are catering to the requests of their clients. “Virtual platforms seem to be more effective when conveying information rather than an experience. A conference may feature a satellite video feed of a trainer for breakout sessions, but they are still placing a live person on the stage for the opening and closing keynote presentations,” remarks Patti Plough, RT, owner and CEO of Speakers & Events-R-Us. “The hair doesn’t stand up on your arms and you don’t get goose bumps from watching a video screen. Will they miss out on an experience? Yes, but they get the gist.”
Video Webinars Nothing is more boring than a monotone voice talking over PowerPoint® slides. If you’re going to do a Webinar, incorporate live video. Engagement is key. Ask them questions, and make sure they are alive on the other end. Deborah Smith, president of Deborah Smith Group, Inc., recalls, “I have a program that I turned into a Webinar, but it’s challenging to create a real connection with people. I ask questions, no one answers, and we don’t produce the results together that I do with a live group.” Go with a service such as Telenect (www.telenect.com) where you can appear on the viewer’s screen as part of a live video feed. Develop a presentation with a heavy emphasis on participation and interaction if you plan
to keep people from checking their e-mail and shuffling papers around their desk. You have to be far more engaging on a Webinar than in person if you want to hold their attention—especially with larger audiences. Smith says, “I’ve signed up for free Webinars before, but the emphasis is generally on selling things rather than providing valuable content. They may promise seven tips, but they are so general that you don’t get anything useful unless you spend $100. It’s annoying.”
Ask the Audience Peter Shankman delivered a live program about Web 2.0 for the American Marketing Association, and started his speech with, “Who in this audience is going to be tweeting during the next 60 minutes?” About 25 percent of attendees raised their hands. Theresa Beenken, vice president of Global Speakers Agency, confesses, “I used to be offended when I saw people playing on their cell phones during a speech. Now, twittering, emailing, texting and blogging actually can enhance the experience of sitting in an audience.” In addition to hearing and feeling a speech, we are able to interact, digest and share the messages being delivered. Assuming it’s relevant to your topic and will ultimately add value for the audience, invite them to blog, tweet and post updates regarding the presentation as it unfolds. Scrap the idea if you are unsure whether it will cause confusion or be a distraction.
As a young punk who enjoys playing with the big boys, Jessica Kizorek straps on her high heels to speak about Internet video and keep up with the college students she teaches at the Miami Ad School. Kizorek is a regular contributor for CNN, and was nominated as one of CNN’s “Young People Who Rock.” She is the author of four books on digital media and speaking. The interviews and quotes in this article were drawn from her newest book, Digitally Speaking. For more information, visit http://jessicakizorek.com. October 2009 | SPEAKER | 25
Part of leaving a positive first impression is being memorable for all the right reasons.
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Virtually the Same: How to Take Your Brand Online By Sara Canaday
hether you’ve gone eagerly and willingly, or been dragged kicking and screaming, the unavoidable world of online marketing and social media has you in its grasp. Now what? How do you take your valuable personal brand online? How do you convey all of that charisma and personality without losing yourself in translation?
Fortunately, the online “you” is subject to many of the same governing principles as face-to-face and offline communication. As a speaker, you’re likely familiar with these concepts. You need to take what you know about personal presence and translate it to the virtual realm.
The All-Powerful First Impression We’ve all made assumptions about a man’s income based on his watch, or guessed at a woman’s job title by nothing more than the bag she carries. We can’t help it; it’s how we’re built. Snap judgments based on perception are an evolutionary response. Whether it’s people, our surroundings, or a commercial on TV, we are designed to be discerning creatures. When it comes to sizing up people, we notice everything from their facial photo credit goes here
expression to their footwear. For better or worse, we sum up a person and form our opinion of them in less than 30 seconds. And that opinion is nearly impossible to change. Leave a good first impression, and the implications are far reaching. The positive feelings will bleed into all manner of assumptions: You must be intelligent, friendly, successful, helpful, and a generally good person. This “rubbing off ” is called the halo effect. The same is true of your online presentation. According to a recent BBC News article, “Researchers found that the brain makes decisions in just a 20th of a second of viewing a Web page. The study, published in the journal Behavior and Information Technology, also suggests that first impressions have a lasting impact. If people believe a Web site looks
good, then this positive quality will spread to other areas, such as the Web site’s content.” Of course, the halo effect cuts both ways. A negative first impression will likewise color all other areas with less savory attributes. Given that so much is riding on it, the following ingredients are critical for making an excellent first impression.
Fast-Loading Pages A slow-loading page is one surefire way to turn off a visitor. It’s the online equivalent of arriving late for a speaking engagement. It’s discourteous and disrespectful, and bound to leave a bad taste. You should also front-load your important messages so they jump off the page. Don’t force your audience to slog through too much content— they have better things to do. October 2009 | SPEAKER | 27
Clean, Uncluttered Design Too much of anything is a bad idea. We’ve all met someone who wore too much jewelry, too much make-up, too much cologne, too many bright colors—or any other over-the-top combination. In the South, you’d be called a “hot mess.” It’s distracting. Keep your online presence tidy so your visitors can focus on your message. And stay up-to-date on eye-scanning and reading patterns, placing key messages and visuals in the reader’s natural path.
Don’t Be a Web Wallflower Professional speakers are naturally outgoing. Your online presence should be equally lively. Part of leaving a positive first impression is being memorable for all the right reasons. Online, this means choosing custom designs over templates, crafting solid messaging, and distinguishing yourself from competitor—all the way down to your typography and color scheme. When it comes to social media applications, your control of design may be limited. Take advantage of the customization options you have, but don’t go overboard.
Be the Real You, and Nothing But You “Authentic” may be an overused word, but it’s important nonetheless. Your online presence should be an accurate portrayal of you, your topics and your services. Visitors should be able to “hear” your voice through the tone of your content, get an idea of the atmosphere in your work place, and feel comfortable in the accuracy of their assessment. Use current, flattering headshots for your social media icons, and post status updates in your own vernacular. The last thing you want is a complete disconnect when someone picks up the phone or meets you in person.
Color Me Successful There’s a reason that a whole field of psychology is devoted to studying color. It matters! Just as you carefully select the right color suit, shirt and accessories, your online “you” should also dress to impress. Colors evoke deep, visceral emotional responses, so keep these color translations in mind: • Red: Energy, attention, passion, danger, debt, halt • Blue: Trust, security, peace, open, stability
• Green: Freshness, growth, vitality, calm, wealth, prestige • Yellow: Light, optimism, motivation, warmth, positive • Black: Power, class, seriousness, drama, sophistication, boldness • White: Purity, peace, cleanliness, freshness
Mind the Details An untied shoelace or a stained shirt says that you’re unprepared, unreliable and incapable. A slovenly appearance cries out, “I’m rushed, sloppy, and tend to drop the ball when it matters.” Be sure your online presentation is spotless by paying attention to these details: • Use up-to-date photos, headshots and imagery • Be mindful of diversity, both in imagery and your language • Check for broken links and outdated content • Triple-check for typos, and ask for feedback on style and message • Use company-wide style and usage guidelines to maintain consistency • Utilize professional design to keep the focus on the message • Think through the placement of critical items, like contact information
A walking cloud of cologne, a jangly mess of jewelry – a gum-chewing, loud-talking, chaotic mess
A confusing mess of flashy icons, sloppy design, and impossible to read content
One look and your audience is annoyed.
Mismatched socks, a coffee-stained shirt, and a loose thread trailing behind
Typos, out-dated or incorrect information, and broken links
You aimed high, but fell through on the execution. Now you’ve lost their confidence.
Late for meetings, never pick up the tab, and generally inconsiderate
Slow-loading pages with tons of dense content
You don’t mind making your reader do the work.
The latest handbag, the finest watch, a well-cut suit, and an engaging handshake
A custom-designed Web site with fresh content, and a “voice” that conveys your brand
You make the right lasting impression.
Thank-you notes after meetings, follow-up phone calls to clarify details, and a keen recollection of what’s important to each person
Focus-tested sites and content, venues for audience input, and a genuine twoway conversation
You actively engage your audience and take what they say to heart.
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Gather Feedback Collect data about your visitors’ first impressions. In a face-toface encounter, you are constantly monitoring the other person’s responses and correcting your own behavior accordingly. You should do the same online. Gather input on your design, content, message and navigation from formal focus groups or a collection of close advisors and trusted friends. Be sure you’re coming through clearly, accurately and genuinely. Most important: Take that input and make changes accordingly. Find out how people see your Web site with a free heat-mapping service at www.feng-gui.com. It uses an algorithm that predicts what the human eye will most likely be looking at. Check out Jakob Nielsen’s Top Ten Guidelines for Homepage Usability. Learn how potential customers will get a first impression of your homepage, company, and decide whether or not to do business with you based on that impression.
Build On Your Brand Making a great first impression is not enough. Managing your personal presence is an ongoing proposition— both on and offline. You can’t show up in sweats and a T-shirt on your second day. Once you’ve gotten out of the gates strongly, maintain your momentum. Your online presence should be polished, consistent, thoroughly planned and diligently monitored.
Choose Your Gatekeeper Wisely Gone are the days when your neighbor’s nephew, a self-proclaimed “Web guy,” could handle your online presence. In many cases, your online presence and social networking is a full-time job. Take the time to choose the right person—someone photo credit goes here
who is credible with marketing or PR experience, understands your company, and can convey your messaging clearly and consistently.
Fresh Content Proactively build positive content for journalists, prospects and clients seeking information about you and your services. People will fill in gaps with their own assumptions and unreliable research. Don’t give them the chance.
Brand Yourself, or Someone Else Will Every day, a new customer review site is born, and consumers everywhere are building on the power of connectivity and consensus to spread the word about who they love and don’t love. Sitting on the sidelines with your fingers stuck in your ears is no more effective now than it was as a gradeschooler. Get in the game and play it your way. Participate constructively to counter concerns, generate leads, control the spin and build a fan base, using these guidelines: • Choose the right social venues— applications that fit your audience or client base. • Start the conversation, and then stick around. Commit to an ongoing dialogue so your clients will see you as a reliable and trustworthy expert. • Monitor for any online firestorms, keeping an eye on all forms of social media, not just your favorites. • Respond quickly and consistently to any concerns or bad press. Failure to do so will cause a backlash that is worse than the original offense.
world is about as two-way, multi-way, any-way as it can be.” Engage your customers with interactive features to keep the conversation going and hold their interest. Try signups for information, free products, contact forms, voting and commenting opportunities, surveys, online coupons and reviews.
Align Your Offline and Online Marketing Strategies Encourage your customers to cross over, back and forth between their offline activities such as happy hours, events or reading at home, and their online interactions like online shopping, blogging and online social networking. Use your Web site, search engine optimization, pay-per-click advertising, social media, podcasts, videos, virtual tours and blogging, to name just a few.
Go Forth and Mingle Successful speakers and leaders don’t sit on the sidelines when new games come along. Take what you know to be true about professional presence in the offline world and apply it, using these strategies as a road map, to your online brand.
Sara Canaday is a leadership consultant, speaker and personal branding expert who helps clients chart a course for greater credibility and success. Canaday’s expertise goes beyond business school basics, factoring in nonverbal communication, leadership presence, personal branding and emotional
Interactive is the Name of the Game
intelligence. She has been featured in The
The Web is no longer a passive, controlled experience. As Josh Bernoff notes in his Advertising Age blog, Digital Next, “The online social
austinwoman, and The Austin Business
Wall Street Journal, PINK magazine, Journal. For more information, visit http://casualpower.com or contact email@example.com. October 2009 | SPEAKER | 29
fresh insights on Web Site Design
30 | SPEAKER | October 2009
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Should you have a Web site? That’s a no-brainer, but what kind of site should you have? If you’ve been around awhile, how should you go about redesigning your site? Whether you choose to invest in a template (translation: generic) or spend more money on a custom look, you will need to do your homework before making any decisions.
Find the Right Designer One of the best ways to find a Web site designer is to get recommendations from colleagues and other business owners. Surf the Web and take notes on what you like and dislike about other sites. Look for people who have designed sites for similar businesses and view their online portfolios. This will give you an impression of the quality, style and content of sites created. A gallery of sites created by a Web design company should showcase its best work. If you don’t like what they’re showcasing, move along. Find a designer who has experience in your type of Web site. Online selling can be lucrative, but setting up an e-commerce site operation is often frustrating and complex. Who you work with does make a difference.
Make Sure You Click If the working relationship is not a good fit, things will go poorly. Do you enjoy talking and
working with the Web designer? Do you believe he will act ethically? Does he stay focused or does he ramble and waste your time? Work with a Web designer who doesn’t throw around techn jargon or, at least, explains it to you. Does he offer you insight and advice about your site design? Your Web site is crucial to your business success. By extensively interviewing potential designers, you’re more likely to pick one who can do the work you want, listens to you, wants to learn about your business, and can create a site that reflects you and your business—all while keeping within your budget and timeframe.
three’s a charm Speaker magazine asked three highly qualified Web designers to share their thoughts on launching or redesigning a speaker Web site.
Build Your Brand Patrick North, Pride Designs, LLC Professional speakers have strong personalities and unique areas of expertise. They are marketing themselves and have a real stake in the outcome, so it often becomes a very collaborative process. Whether their strengths are in presentational style, content knowledge or both, professional speakers are very clear about who they are, and the brand they want to create. This clarity of purpose streamlines the creative process. It allows us to quickly build an effective, well-branded site.
Your site is designed to establish credibility, but it should also be getting you more speaking engagements.
October 2009 | SPEAKER | 31
seven keys to a successful site • Build off your persona. Allow your visual communications strategy to reflect who you are in front of an audience. If your presentations are uplifting and humorous, use playful graphics. If your material is more scientific or technical, go with a more conservative, elegant approach. • Get great visuals. Hire a professional photographer and get some cool shots of you in action. Ask clients for a copy of photos and video taken during speaking engagements and the right to use them for promotional purposes. • Organize your content. Create an information architecture flowchart. It will clarify the scope of the project and serve as a roadmap for the writer and designer. • Tell your story. Spectacular live presentations don’t always translate well into the written word. In addition to video, consider working with a writer to make sure that the copy on your site is easy to read and written to your target audience. • Establish a consistent style. Good branding = Consistency. Use the same color palette, typography and design elements for your Web site, presentation slides, business cards and any other promotional materials you create. • Provide a clear call to action. Your site is designed to establish credibility, but it should also be getting you more speaking engagements. While showing off what a great speaker you are, make it easy for your guests to contact you or request more information. • Keep it fresh. Once your site is live, give your clients a reason to come back. Add a new video clip, update your testimonials or incorporate a blog and update it often. 32 | SPEAKER | October 2009
Patrick North, owner of Pride Designs LLC, has over 15 years of experience in the design and production of award-winning communications for print, Web and video. He offers the perfect balance of creative and technical skills. Clients range from one-person start-ups to Fortune 500 companies such as Xcel Energy, 3M and Qwest Communications. Visit www.pridedesigns.com.
Communicate Like Crazy Larry Blankenship, Digitaldoginc.com Good Web sites aren’t about technology; they’re about communication. Try to make it as easy as possible for the meeting planner to learn about you and make a decision. Create or redesign your Web site based on how people process information.
Good Web sites aren’t about technology; they’re about communication. Oh, you want to see a video? Got it. Oh, you want to print something out? Got it. Oh, you only have 60 seconds? Got it. Think about how you want to package your content. Speaker Web sites are often reviewed by committees of two to five people sitting around a table discussing the speaker’s content. So why not control the content they talk about? Often, they will print and
distribute your information so, to meet that need, we created The Package. It consists of five to six pages of everything you need to know about the speaker. And it prints out in the order you want them to read it. The great thing about this approach is that it helps you champion your site and organize your content in the correct order. If meeting planners are comparing speakers, they’ll download whatever pages they think are important, which puts them in control of your content—not you. You also should provide The Package as a PDF, so it’s easy to forward to another decision maker. Everyone involved looks at the material in the same order. Most speakers already know this, but video is huge. Billions of videos are viewed every month on the Internet, which can be a benefit or a liability to you. Buyers now have an expectation that there will be high-quality video. Consumer behavior research says that sophisticated buyers can’t get past poor-quality video and, from an attention standpoint, four to five minutes is all you’ve got. Make it good. Our No. 1 suggestion is to embed video in your site. This connects directly to consumer expectations. If your video is embedded, it doesn’t require a planner to open the video or download a program. We’re also big fans of interviews. This can be a very effective way for a prospect to get to know you. After all, speakers are professional communicators, so use your skills!
Larry Blankenship, owner of Digitaldog Inc, is a 15-year veteran who offers workshops and seminars teaching clients how to use the Internet. Visit www.digitaldoginc.com.
Super SEO Dwight Maskew, carbonBased Media A good starting point is verifying that you have a standards-complient Web site that is search engine optimized (SEO). This makes it easy for search engines to crawl and index your Web site pages. Web standards are simply best practices to follow when creating a Web site, and ensure that your site will be easy to maintain in the future. It also makes updating more efficient. Optimize your site by creating content that sends a consistent message about who you are and what services you provide. Content is the most important part of your Web site. Search engines sort their results by content relevancy, so you want your site to be a relevant authority for your speaking topics.
LISTEN AND LEARN FROM THE PROS NSA introduces Sales & Marketing for Todayâ€™s Speaking Professional, a special five-CD set of best-selling recordings. These specially selected presentations provide valuable tips and techniques to help your speaking business meet the challenges of todayâ€™s economy.
Many speakers write articles, so itâ€™s important to create a clear, concise list of 15 to 20 specific keywords or key phrases and use them consistently throughout your pages and articles to increase your topic relevancy. When the search engines see that most of your pages relate to a series of specific topics, they will begin to recognize your site as an authority in those areas. The best advice comes from an expert, right? Having links to your site from other Web sites in the same topic categories also increases the significance of your content. Trade site links with other speakers who focus on a variety of topics and everyone will benefit from the exchange. When visitors come to your site, you want them to stay. Keep your site fresh by offering some tasty media snacks on
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Dwight Maskew is owner of carbonBased Media, which builds Web sites that highlight the important parts of our companyâ€™s services. For more information, visit www. carbonbasedlife.com.
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Selling Your Speaking When You Stink at Selling â€“ Robert Bradford, MBA, CSP