Creating a content marketing strategy is an essential part of your overall marketing plan, and helps build your credibility as a professional speaker.
When you share your insights and knowledge using multiple online platforms, you establish yourself as a thought leader and expert in your field. At the same time, you develop relationships with potential partners, as well as with prospective clients and customers.
Here are some tried-and-true strategies to build the kind of credibility that will help you achieve your business goals.
What is an "online platform"?
An online platform is a digital space where you can share your ideas and interact with your audience. The platform may be a blog, a website, or your social media profile. When combined, they enhance your online presence so people can find you more easily. When you publish high quality content on your platform, you're giving people a taste of what you have to offer as a speaker.
In many ways we have become dependent on online platforms for both personal and professional reasons. Obviously we use online tools to keep in touch with people around the world, but we use them for a variety of other purposes as well: sharing important life events or personal musings, entertainment, news, finding jobs or employees, finding and using apps, and buying and selling goods and services.
To build your credibility as a speaker, one of the most successful strategies is to create valuable content that your audience will appreciate, and then post variations of that published content on each of your platforms. Sharing your unique insights and knowledge helps you become recognized as an expert in your field.
Why you need an online platform as a speaker
You must have a ubiquitous online presence. You want to be seen everywhere, which means it's never been more important than it is now to have an online presence. Just twenty years ago people still looked for the service providers they needed in the yellow pages of a phone book!
Today search engines need to be able to find you in multiple places online when people search for the type of service you provide. That means you need to have a significant “digital footprint.” Since search results are not just bound by geography, the more visible and omnipresent you are online, the more likely the right searchers will find you.
Your online presence must be positive. Prospective clients and customers also automatically check online reviews. If you want to be taken seriously as a speaker, you need to have a number of excellent reviews on your site, and anywhere else people might discover your name.
You must demonstrate your expertise. Share your unique thoughts and ideas online. This way people come to see you as a thought leader, and are more likely to hire you for speaking engagements.
Your followers must be able to get to know you. Statistics show that people need to hear from you at least seven times before they begin to really notice you, or until they decide to contact you.
By producing content regularly, your readers get to know you and your work, thus giving you the opportunity to fast-track the "know-like-trust" dynamic that is necessary to develop relationships with potential clients.
Publish online as part of a strategic marketing strategy
Use a step-by-step marketing strategy and include various types of content so you can:
- Attract potential new customers (online searchers) through your valuable online content (so they get to know you)
- Engage followers with more personal content (so they get to like you)
- Convert followers into customers or clients (once they trust you)
What do you write about?
First, you must know a LOT about your target audience. You need to know what their biggest pains and problems are (with regard to the services you offer and your expertise), what questions they ask, and what their desires and goals are.
Anything that could go into an FAQ - that's what you write about. As your prospects perform online searches in order to get their questions answered, they discover your content and come to see you as a trusted resource.
Establish your credibility by publishing online content
Here are some characteristics of credible information to keep in mind, from your readers' perspective, using the acronym TAARP (1):
- Timely - The information should be useful today… and tomorrow and next year, meaning evergreen articles are best. Sometimes it’s also worth mixing it up a bit by making a statement about an important current event.
- Authority - Following each article, be sure to include your professional affiliations, relevant credentials, and of course, your name. Include whatever you can to indicate why you are an authority on this topic.
- Audience - The reader will be wondering, "Is this for me?" Don't make the reader guess. They should be able to read the title of your article and a couple of sentences and think, “I should read this.”
- Relevance - This is why you really need to know your audience. Only write about what you know in relation to what your target audience’s questions and concerns are.
- Perspective - If you present one side of an issue, you will be considered more credible if you present the opposite side as well, and offer your take on which side you agree with and why. Better yet, come up with a unique perspective.
Blog articles vs. social media posts
Your website's blog, or your guest posts on an association blog, are both great places to go more in-depth on topics, and to share stories and case studies that showcase your work. You can also use your blog posts to show off your personality, which is essential if you want to build relationships with potential clients.
You don't have to create all your social media content from scratch. Your social media posts can be short and sweet - just enough to whet the appetite of your followers and get them clicking through to read more where the full article is posted. Use excerpts from your longer articles and add relevant images.
Share each new article on social media, using engaging headlines and eye-catching images. Create "evergreen" social media posts - posts that can be reused over and over again, because they're not tied to a specific time period or events. For example, you could create a series of posts with "tips" for your target audience.
How to measure the success of your online platform strategy
Use Google Analytics to track your website traffic. Look at how many people are coming to your site, where they're coming from, and what pages they're looking at. This will give you a good idea of which topics are resonating with your audience and driving the most traffic to your site.
You can also use Google Analytics to set up goals, which will help you track conversions (for example, if someone reads an article on your site and then signs up for your email list).
Finally, take a look at the social media platform insights to see how your posts are performing. Look at things like engagement (likes, comments, shares) and reach (how many people saw your post).
The benefits of blogging and social media for speakers
By now, you can see how blogging and social media can help you get speaking opportunities. But let's recap:
- Blogging helps you attract strangers and turn them into followers.
- Social media posts help you engage followers and turn them into fans.
- Credibility is essential to developing relationships with potential clients.
- A well-executed inbound marketing strategy will help you grow your speaking business.
By sharing your valuable content, you are:
- Showing that you're an expert in your field
- Providing potential clients with a sample of what you have to offer
- Building relationships with potential clients
- Gaining the trust of your followers
Your online platform is the key to growing your speaking business. When you use this type of digital marketing to publish quality content, you are establishing yourself as a credible source of information - and that's exactly what people are looking for when they're searching for a speaker. So don't underestimate the power of publishing. This type of social network is an essential component that will help you take your speaking business to the next level.
1) How to tell if online sources are credible - Middlesex Library, NJ