Tools & Resources mentioned during the episode:
Welcome to Episode 16 of the VSM podcast. Today, I want to talk about a common worry that I hear all the time when you’re talking about posting your first virtual summit. And that is that first-time summit hosts are afraid they cannot get great speakers for the event because they don’t have an audience and nobody knows about them.
So they think that they cannot get industry leaders, thought leaders and influencers, to speak at their virtual event for free without paying 1000s and 1000s in speaker fees. So don’t worry; we’ll break that down in this podcast episode.
Start with the Right Mindset and Begin Building a Relationship with Your Dream 100 List
First, you have to have the right mindset, which might sound a bit woo-woo. And a little bit cheesy, but it is true. You just have to start connecting with bloggers, podcasts and webinar hosts, magazine contributors, authors on social media and build genuine relationships with them. Don’t pitch them the first thing you do.
Instead, talk to them about the content they put out. Be genuinely interested in the topic and try to get to know them as a person. You will find out that they will appreciate you sharing how much you enjoy their content and that sooner or later, you will be building relationships with them. And this takes a few weeks, don’t rush into this.
Start with Where You Are
But you just need to be genuinely interested in the other person. And you don’t need to be famous to get speakers. Just start from where you are. Accept where you are right now. Take it as the number one starting point. And then you just grow from your current situation.
Don’t think about where you should be before you approach a certain bestselling author or a podcast host with 1000s of episodes under his belt. Just reach out to them. The mindset needs to be about building relationships, more than about getting them to speak at your virtual summit.
Research the 20 Best Podcasts in the Industry and Connect with their Hosts
The best places to look for potential speakers, let me give you four examples. Those are the common starting grounds for my team and me when we put together virtual events; we research the 20 best podcasts in the industry in which we’re running the event. We connect with the podcast hosts. So those are 20 potential speakers who are used to doing interviews.
And we also connect to their guests. If they have an interview format for the podcast, we reach out to their most recent ten guests or the most popular ten episodes. And we just try to build relationships with those people on those interviews.
And chances are you’d get to do an interview with them because they understand the importance of being out there in public, in the online world, doing interviews, sharing their knowledge positioning themselves as speakers. When they do it on podcasts, it’s very likely that they would do it on virtual summits as well.
Research the 20 biggest Blogs in the Industry and Connect with Their Authors
Now, those are podcasts. We can also talk about the 20 biggest blogs in your industry. Connect with the authors of those content. Chances are they accept guest posts. So for every blog website, you can get anywhere from 3 to 10 people you can reach out to and connect with. And those connections will be very important.
The chances are that you will see less acceptance when you pitch them to interview because those people focus on written content. However, when you are friends with authors who contribute to big blogs, chances are that you can get a guest blog on those things too, or that you can be featured in one of their articles, or that they would do an interview about your virtual event once you start promoting the summit. So those connections are still very, very important.
Research the ten biggest and most popular Companies in the industry
And then the third tip would be to research the ten biggest and most popular companies in the industry and connect with their partnership managers and their marketing managers. Maybe you can even get a hold of their CMO or the COO or CEO and the C level x executive team.
And building relationships with those is very, very important because those are your potential sponsors. And, of course, if you bring them on board as a sponsor, you should give them a speaker slot or a slot for a live webinar or something like that.
Connect with Top Authors and Course Owners
And lastly, you want to connect with the top authors and with the top course owners. Think about Lynda. Think about Udemy in your industry as well, because those people already have audiences that see them as experts, and they are used to teaching what they know online.
So those are four tips, the 2020 best podcasts, the 20 best blogs, the ten biggest companies, the ten most popular authors, and the ten most popular course owners on sites like Udemy.
Now how do you reach out to somebody you want as a speaker? As I’ve said earlier, you follow them on social, you sign up to their email list, and you start replying to anything and everything they publish. Pro tip – keep your replies relevant and personal. You want to help them sell more stuff. That is the biggest goal.
And this is how you can add value to any and every expert on any level. No matter if you have an audience or not. Everybody wants to have case studies. Everybody wants to have praise for what they do. Everybody wants other people to tell them how much they enjoy their content to get social proof they can use in their marketing.
So you can do this by publishing a case study about how their content helped you achieve a certain goal. Take one of their podcast episodes, take one of the tutorials they published in their course, take one of the YouTube videos or blog posts, implement what they taught.
And then share the results in an epic case study. Write down 2000 or 3000 words in that case study and explain from where you were in the beginning, how you found their content, how you implemented what they taught. And the results that you’ve seen afterward. Very, very powerful stuff.
Then what you can also do is, of course, you can talk about how much you like their books, how much you like their products, what specifically you enjoy so much about their products, and how much you appreciate the work that they put into their content. Again, try to make them look good in front of their audience.
This is the very beginning of building relationships. You do this for a week; you do this for two or three weeks. And you try to be genuinely interested. Don’t approach this with a mindset of “I just need to sugarcoat everything, tell them how awesome they are.
So that they eventually say yes to the pitch that I’m making when I’m inviting them as a speaker”. People see through this stuff. They smell it from 10 miles. You need to be genuinely interested in the topic and in the person that you’re connecting with. When you have done this long enough, you can ask them to speak at your event.
And you will see, you’ll see this point in how the conversation shifts that you’re having with those speakers, they start to become more personal, they start to ask you things instead of you always asking them. And when you see this shift in the conversation, you invite them to speak at your virtual event.
And if you don’t have an idea of how big it will be, how many people will attend, you just tell them why you put together the virtual summit. So you need to give them a reason why they would be interested in speaking at your virtual event.
Of course, they will often ask you how many attendees you expect and from where the attendees will be from. Who’s the target audience, and so on. And you should be able to pinpoint the target audience, of course. But if you don’t know if you have 1000 attendees, or if you have 5000 attendees, tell them why you put together the virtual summit and how they specifically can benefit your target audience.
Tell them in very clear words why you think they are the best fit for the event and make it clear that you don’t care about your personal success so much and that you focus on educating the attendees. This is a huge point in virtual summit mastery. In the program we run, we always put the best attendee experience first because that will naturally lead to awesome results for you as the summit hosts, and people will see you as a true authority.
Don’t Take No Personally
If you’ve taught them a lot or the experts you brought together taught them a lot, they will see you as an authority. So make that very clear. And then make it easy for them to say yes or no and don’t take a no personally. The chances are that if you hear a no, it’s just bad timing for them, maybe they have their own launch coming up, and they cannot devote time to an interview.
Maybe they are just working on something new. And they don’t have a clear strategy yet. Maybe they’re just too busy. So don’t take any no personally; still, keep that relationship intact because it will pay off sooner or later. And lastly, use a booking tool like Calendly or calendar hero to coordinate the recording dates and keep the workload on their shoulders as low as possible.
In A Nutshell
So to recap, the mindset is the most important thing. You just start connecting with those people on social media and via email. Talk to them about the content they put out, build a genuine relationship with them, try to get to know them as a person because even the most popular authors, even the biggest podcasters, are still human beings in the end.
We all have similar emotions, no matter what stage we operate in. And so we all like to have a little bit of praise every now and then. We all appreciate great conversations. And that is what you try to do. And you don’t need to have 10,000 or 100,000 followers to have a good conversation with somebody on Twitter or LinkedIn or wherever you prefer to do this outreach.
Be aware that you don’t need to be famous to get speakers. Start from where you are, accept that position where you are right now. We all started from zero at some point. and work your way up there. Research the 20 best podcasts, best blogs, the ten biggest companies in your industry.
Connect with those people running those platforms, whether that’s the hosts of the podcast, and their guests, whether that’s blog authors, whether that’s marketing managers, at the companies, connect with authors, connect with course owners, and then build a relationship with them. Try to help them sell more stuff, try to make them look good on social media.
And when asking them to speak at your event, tell them why you put together the summit, why you think they are the perfect fit in your speaker lineup, and make it easy for them to say yes or no. So this is the best advice I can give you in terms of finding great speakers. Obviously, the course dives into this lot much deeper.
The book does that well that’s virtualsummitmasterybook.com. You can get it there for 50% off compared to what it is on Amazon. That’s really it. The biggest point here is that you are very likely holding yourself back in this limiting belief. And you don’t want to do this. Of course, you don’t do this consciously; you do it subconsciously.
And I hope this podcast episode inspired you to just get started, build that little bit of momentum that you can feed off and that you can then use to build those relationships. Just try to connect with ten people every day. Build your dream 100 lists. Connect with ten people daily. You build a habit out of this, and then sooner or later, rather sooner, you will see the first speaker saying yes at your virtual event, and you will get speakers you didn’t think possible before you listened to this podcast episode.
Thank you so much for listening. If you want to learn more about virtual summit mastery, go to virtualsummitmastery.com. If you want to learn more about the process we teach, the book is the best place to start. It’s only $4.99 at virtualsummitbook.com. You can, obviously, of course, ping me, directly subscribe to the podcast. I will try to appreciate that if you can leave a review. If you enjoyed this podcast, that would be epic too. Thank you so much. I’ll catch you next week.