Jan Hutchins Speaks On Conference Marketing

By on July 2, 2013

We need all the help we can get marketing our events. Here’s a short, valuable interview I did with keynote speaker and speakers bureau operator, Jan Hutchins, CEO of SocialAgenda Media, about how the speaker can help you get the event marketing done right.

Jan, every event organizer looks for a perfect speaker that will help to sell out the event. How to hire a speaker that will promote the event?

JAN HUTCHINS: I’ll take the long view and put many profitable sellouts in front of a single marginally profitable one. So the first thing that comes to mind is to book someone lesser known who is better than people will expect. The audience will be pleased because their expectations were exceeded.

Also, you’re likely to pay less than for a more well known speaker and wind up with more profit.
Part of creating sizzle at your event is having a speaker who leaves the audience praising the ideas, entertainment and useful content they received.

That word-of-mouth marketing will lead to more sales.

Another way to get sell outs is to engage speakers who are good at marketing themselves or whose representation gets you PR and helps to market the event and client organization.

Speakers and their representatives can list engagements on event sites, blog about the event and prominently include testimonials, add it to their own newsletters, guest post about trends and controversies on industry blogs to get industry leaders to link back to them, offer to bring valuable giveaways to the event, promote on their social media, buy ads, send out their own press releases, bring or volunteer something that adds to the overall conference experience, invite media and hold a press conference right after their speech to generate coverage and of course, engage the attendees in an ongoing, meaningful conversation after the event.

How to find speakers that will not only entertain and educate but also inspire change? What to look for in speakers to find those whose vision and talent can really make a difference?

JAN HUTCHINS: I’m sure the better the decision maker knows their audience the more likely they’ll find the right speaker to answer the audience’s key questions, meet their needs, inspire an intended action. We engage people for our speakers bureau in just that way. Experts who answer key questions and leave audiences, as you say, entertained and educated.

I’d suggest booking speakers who combine win-you-over-charm with stand up for something important spirit.

You run a speakers bureau and a thought leadership marketing company. How do you help conference organizers to market their events?

JAN HUTCHINS: Our experience in PR and marketing coupled with our commitment to the success of our speakers enables us to generate awareness and drive interest for events. We issue press releases about each event at no cost to the booking company. We push it via social channels.

We recommend something like this interview, where the event organizer sends the speaker a few questions about the speech topic before the event and then uses the answers in a newsletter or blog. If the speaker has recently written his or her own blog about the speech topic you can repurpose it for the event site and have the speaker repost it to generate SEO.

Doing a short video with the speaker to promote attendance is a good idea. You can even use video conferencing like Google Hangout prior to the event to prime the conversation between the speaker and your audience.

A live interactive conference during the conference with members of your ecosystem unable to be present at the event is also both a good service and promotion for future events. I can offer hundreds of tactical tips, but at the end of the day, of course, it all gets down to resources available for the event – budget and staff.

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License: Image author owned

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By Tim Brown, business writer and blogger.

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