In 2007, I was an agent at one of the country’s largest speakers’ bureaus, and I had a meeting with an aspiring speaker.
During the meeting, he told me:
“I believe anyone can benefit from my presentations. And if I just have an audience and a microphone, I can help people. My message is helpful to everyone, just give me the chance and you’ll see.”
I smiled and nodded, said something polite, and closed out the meeting as quickly as I could. But I was really thinking:
“Hmmm. So YOU are what the world has been waiting for all this time?”
That guy wasn’t the only person to say something along those lines, but he was the first I’d heard say it to my face and say it with true passion.
He believed it.
He thought all he needed was for me to tell my clients:
“Hey, I’ve got a guy that can help anyone. Whatever event you are planning, this guy can help. Sales audience — yes. Women’s event — yes. Fundraiser — yes. He can do it all!”
And he wanted me to start pitching him for events all over the country.
At this point, I’d been at the speakers’ bureau for just over two years, and I’d already worked with, talked to, or coached over 300 speakers. I had also talked to about 1,000 clients trying to help them find the best speaker for their event.
That conversation was a turning point for me.
It clarified a theme I noticed among speakers who were struggling to start or build their business.
Almost every aspiring speaker who wasn’t getting any traction was trying to be appealing to everyone instead of focusing on a target audience.
They thought they should cast as wide of a net as possible and hope to catch something.
And that was their biggest mistake.
Instead, they should’ve been using a specific rod and reel and a proven bait to catch an exact type of fish.
While you might believe your content can help anyone, that’s never what an event planner or a speakers’ bureau wants to hear. So keep that thought to yourself.
If you want to get booked as a speaker over and over again, you need to think about the needs and outcomes of your client first. And what your clients want is not a generalist. They want to know why you are perfect for their exact audience — not any audience.
Similar to an elevator pitch, you need to know how to describe the best audience for your speaking content.
If you’re not sure how to define your target audience, ask yourself these questions:
Who does my message give the most value to?
Based on my experience and my expertise, what type of person am I most qualified to help?
What topic am I most passionate about sharing with others? And what type of person needs to hear that message today?
If I could only speak to one type of audience for the next year, what audience would I choose?
Not having a target audience prevents you from getting the speaking engagements you want — and that costs you money.
It’s also going to cost you time, leads, purchasers, followers, and potential clients.
All of those things cost you money, too.
So, if you’re struggling in your speaking business or if you’re just getting started, make sure you’ve identified your target audience.
Focus your marketing efforts around being the best possible speaker for just that audience.
Once you’ve built credibility in that area, you’ll start to have the opportunity to expand into other target audiences, but not before.
About the Author:
David Loy is the Co-Founder and CEO of Leverage Creative Group – a digital marketing agency that works with brands and authors to spread their message to the masses. He is an in-demand consultant who has helped authors to create New York Times Best Selling books, as wells a numerous six-figure online product launches.
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