If you’re having trouble figuring out the best ways to get booked to speak on virtual summits, you’re not alone: this is one of the most common questions I get asked at Virtual Summit Search. We’ll be covering some of the best ways to get in front of summit hosts, so let’s jump in!
Alright, so I know that booking summits can feel really daunting, especially if you’re a new summit speaker. But even if you’ve been speaking at summits for a while, sometimes it feels like it’s impossible to get in front of summit hosts before they actually go and have their speaker lineup nailed down. You might see the summit that would have been perfect for you… and it just launched and it’s way too late to get in on it.
So we’re going to be talking today about getting booked for more summits. And in case we haven’t met yet, you’ve probably already seen me. I’m Jenn. I am the host of this summit speaker edition of Sell With a Summit, and I also run Virtual Summit Search where we have a summit directory so you can find summits to attend, but we also have a summit speaker directory where hosts go to find speakers for their summits. We’ll talk about that a little bit later; that is one of the ways that I do find speakers for my own summits.
So I am actually going to be talking about the ways that I find speakers for my summits and the ways that I see other people finding speakers for their summits, because if you can go and get into those places where the hosts are looking, you’re going to be so much more likely to get booked for more summits.
So let’s just dive on in. The main ways that I find my summit speakers are through my own network, through recommendations from my network and even my audience, from the summit Speaker Directory, through guest podcasts, and even on social media.
So when I am hosting a summit, I start off by deciding what topics I want to have first. I don’t go and look for speakers first – and hopefully the summit hosts that you’re interacting with are doing the same: they’re deciding on the topics so that there is a flow to the summit, and then they’re going and looking for folks like you.
So when I am ready to start looking for my summit speakers, I reach out to my network first. So I see who fits the topics that I already have outlined and I reach out to them. So for this Speaker Edition, for example, I knew that I had to have Jess Rasdall on. She is THE public speaking strategist, and this is also a great fit for her audience because she teaches them about public speaking, and virtual summits are a great thing to include in your speaking strategy.
So luckily, she is on and you’re going to love her talk. And if you want to deliver your presentation in 20 minutes or less, like a lot of summit hosts are going towards, that’s a great one. So that was why I knew I had to have her on. And that is why reaching out to your network first is a really great place to go because you know these people, you know the value that they’re going to provide, you know that you’re a good fit for their audience so you can provide value back.
So the best way to do this is to reach out to your network and tell them that you are ready to speak at summits or that you’ve already been speaking at summits and you’re looking to increase your engagement with virtual summits. So what you can tell them is something along the lines of, “Hey, so I am looking to speak at more summits this year, and I would really love to get in front of more summit hosts. I don’t know if you know anyone who is hosting a summit, but these are the topics that I would love to talk about. This is my audience, so I can make sure that it’s a good fit and this is how I serve the audience of the summit.”
So when you approach it from this angle of service and how you can provide value to the summit – both the hosts and the attendees – you’re way more likely to get recommended because your network is going to know exactly how they can tell folks that they can bring you into the summit.
So the other thing is that they might be hosting the summit, but they might also know people. So that’s why you can just say, “do you know anyone?” Because if they are the person that is hosting the summit, then they know themselves and they might say, “oh, actually I haven’t told anyone yet, but I’m looking at hosting a summit in a few months and I haven’t reached out to speakers yet, but it sounds like a great fit. Do you want to speak?”
And if they don’t, they can keep an eye out. And by telling them the topics that you speak on and the audience, it makes it a lot easier to make sure that they are sending you to the right summits.
You really want to make sure that you are aligned with the summits you’re speaking at. If you haven’t watched Elli Runkle’s session, you definitely want to do that because choosing summits that align with your values and your audience is so important when it comes to summit speaking, so I want you to make sure that you go and listen to that one.
And even if you don’t think that someone is going to know any summit hosts, you might be surprised. I’ve reached out to my audience before and I said, “Hey, who would you like to hear speak about this topic?” Whether it’s the theme of the entire summit, or I have a specific topic that I’m looking to fill for the summit, they have given me some great recommendations. I have had people that have been recommended by my audience.
And if someone is in an audience and they see an ask for summit speakers and they recommend you, that someone hosts is immediately going to view you as an expert that you are – because you are an expert in whatever you’re talking about – and so they’re more likely to take you seriously and reach out to you and you might even get onto summits that you never would have had a chance to get onto because you don’t know anyone who’s personally connected to them, but if they’re having trouble filling the topic and someone says, “Hey, you should have so-and-so talk about it.” “Susie’s amazing at this,” they might reach out to you. You might end up on a summit with people that you never would have dreamed about speaking alongside. So it really pays to reach out to your network and let them know that you are interested in speaking at summits.
So that’s the networking side of getting booked on summits. And this next one is kind of in the middle because it’s both visibility and it’s networking because you are putting yourself alongside other speaker. And that is the Summit Speaker Directory. So I created this because of this exact reason: it’s hard to get in front of summit hosts before they have the speaker lineup, but it’s also really hard as the summit host to find people who fit the topics and the audience that you’re looking for if you’ve already exhausted your network.
So this is where we kind of go from networking into the visibility because it also gives you that visibility aspect. So what the Summit Speaker Directory is, is it’s a place for you to put your speaker profile so you can share your primary speaking topic, your secondary speaking topics – if you have those – and your audience so the summit hosts immediately know if you are the right fit for their summit. And then you can have your past speaking experience on there, as well as your contact info so that it’s really easy for summit hosts to reach out to you and invite you to speak at their summits.
I’ve gotten pitched from people who found me on my own Directory. I know plenty of other people in the Directory who get pitches on the regular, so it is a great place to get in front of summit hosts because more and more hosts are finding the Directory, they’re looking through it. I look through it! I’ve booked speakers from my own Directory before.
So if you want an easy way to get in front of more summit speakers who want to find people that are well aligned with their summit theme and audience, this is a great place to go. And we’ll talk about that a little bit more later, so I won’t get into it too much more here.
And then if I haven’t covered all of my speakers through my network or through the Directory, then I start looking at stuff like guest podcasts. So I’ll go and do a search for the topic that I’m looking to fill, and especially if I can find someone who fits the topic and especially the angle, but has also spoken at summits. So I might find someone who looks like they’re really great fit and I go, and I Google them with the word summit attached and I find out they’ve been on a summit. Perfect. I need them.
So if you can showcase your expertise on guest podcasts, that is a great way to get in front of summit hosts as well. And so that may mean going and looking for podcasts on places like Listen Notes – I highly recommend that because you can go and search for podcasts topics, but then you can even search inside of those podcasts for another specific topic. And then you can say, “Hey, so I see that you have had guests on speaking about this topic. I come at it from a slightly different angle. Do you think that would be something that would be of value to your audience? Would they be enjoy listening to something about that? And also, I have another resource that would go along with that to help them take it to the next level.” So that way you are immediately showing that you’re providing value to their audience and that’s what you’re focused on.
I know that a lot of folks have trouble with pitching. So if you are not ready to go and do guest podcast pitching, but you still want to be able to showcase your expertise in that way – especially if you don’t like video, audio is a great way to do that – then you could even host your own podcast. You could have guests on, or you could just do solo episodes.
And if you don’t want to do a full blown podcast, just put audio files on your website, on blogs or whatever it happens to be, so that if a summit speaker reaches out or someone in your network says, “Hey, I have someone who’s looking for speakers, but they want to get a feel for your speaking style beforehand,” you can say, “oh, well, I can just send them this link!” And that way, they can go and get a look and listen and see if they feel like you’re the right fit for their summit. So those are my top ways that you can get booked on more summits. So if you’re hitting up the places where summit hosts are looking for speakers while they’re still making their speaker lineup, you are exponentially more likely to get found and booked for more summits.
So I did promise to talk a little bit more about the Summit Speaker Directory. This is one of the easiest ways to get in front of summit hosts because you can go and put in your speaker profile for free. And I created this, like I said, because I was having so much trouble finding summits to speak at. I’ve been speaking at summit since 2015, and I still sometimes have trouble finding the right summits to speak at.
So, what I want you to do after we wrap this up is go to virtualsummitsearch.com and fill out the application to join the summit speaker directory. What that means is you’ll be getting in front of summit hosts who are looking for people with your expertise and your audience so that you can serve them and in your audience at the same time – and hopefully make some money, which we’re talking about later on in this summit.
So if you have any questions about getting booked at more summits, I would love to answer them. Shoot me a DM on Instagram or an email – firstname.lastname@example.org – and I would be more than happy to answer your questions. I love talking shop about summits, both with hosts and speakers, and I want to help you create more reach and impact from your one-hit-wonder summits that you speak at.
So go out, take some action, book some more summits, and I can’t wait to see you on more summits in the future!
Now, those aren’t all of my secrets for getting booked to speak on summits, so if you want more, join me in Sell With a Summit: Speaker Edition. It’s totally free and there are so many other speakers who have incredible strategies for booking more summits and making more sales from them. I highly recommend getting in on that if you’re incorporating summit speaking into your business strategy. Just go to sellwithasummit.com/speakeredition and join us.
Don’t forget to join the Summit Speaker Directory so that summit hosts can find you when they’re looking for for speakers!