GUEST BLOGGER: 4 Types of Speaking Engagements That Help You Grow Your Business

As an entrepreneur, you are continually looking for innovative ways to grow your business. Unfortunately, too many business owners overlook the power that public speaking has in establishing you as an expert in your industry and bringing greater awareness to your firm.

In addition to having the top local copywriter working on your content strategy, you also should be seeking out opportunities to speak with potential clients.

During these speaking engagements, you want to ensure that your words solve a problem and provide value to your audience, in addition to informing them of your services or products.

When potential customers hear you talk, they will start to consider you an expert far quicker than if they just stumbled upon your website, and they will feel more comfortable to take their relationship with your business a step further.

While fear often stops people from taking on public speaking opportunities, there are a variety of options for you to choose from that may work better with your experience and the type of company you are running.

To assist you in getting started, here are four types of speaking engagements that help you grow your business.

1. The traditional seminar

Generally, the traditional seminar is what most people think of when they hear “speaking engagement.” This is where you have complete control over the topic, the timing, and the location, which also means that you have to put in a lot of work to make it happen.

Your business is responsible for organizing all the logistics, as well as inviting people, promoting the event, ensuring you have a system for gathering attendee contact information, and then following up with each individual afterwards.

Just as with most things, the more work and energy you put into a traditional seminar, the more value you and your business will get out of the event.

If you already have clients, make sure to invite them and encourage them to bring a friend. This will help you to fill the room with people who have already heard something positive about your firm.

2. Industry-related conferences

Speaking at an industry-related conference is one of the most significant ways to get your presentation and business in front of those who are already working within or interested in the topic. This is immediately a considerable benefit of speaking at an industry-related conference, along with the fact that you aren’t responsible for having to supply the audience.

On the other hand, you have less control over the event than you would if you organize your own seminar, as someone else will have to approve the topic and set your time, and you may find it challenging to do a thorough follow-up.

3. Community-school classes

Depending on the industry that your business operates in, teaching a night-school class at your local community college or offering a course can be a fantastic way of attracting your target audience. For your business, the costs are minimal (although it will take time) and the payoffs can be significant, as long as you put together a class or course that provides value.

4. Virtual seminar

In 2018, you have the option of creating a speaking engagement from the comfort of your home or office. Virtual seminars allow you to speak with and present to potential clients all around the world. This in itself makes it easier for you to boost attendance.

The quickest way to set up an audience for a virtual seminar is by obtaining support from a professional group whose members have good client potential. Ask them to offer a sign-up to your virtual symposium to their members, and then you can perform a dial-in webinar with the appropriate slides and information.

Have you ever tried taking on speaking engagements to grow your business? Which types worked the best for you? Are you too scared of public speaking to give it a shot? Or are you ready to be the most engaging event presenter in your location?

Let us know your feelings about this topic in the comments below!

AUTHOR BIO

Hisham Wyne is an internationally recognised MC, broadcaster, presenter and moderator who helps the world’s best-known brands create memorable occasions. He regularly hosts conferences, panel sessions, gala dinners and award ceremonies for some of the world’s best brands. With 150+ events under his belt, Hisham is the professional speaker that brands and agencies turn to when wanting to interview, engage and entertain government VVIPs and Hollywood celebrities.

GUEST BLOG: How to Develop Your Personal Brand

Making the choice to start your own business will likely be the best decision of your life. The freedom and flexibility of working on your own, combined with the earning potential and sense of self-satisfaction, make entrepreneurship very attractive to many people.

But things are a little easier said than done. Competition is fierce, especially online. Every minute of every day, people are exposed to countless emails, advertisements and social media posts. It’s easy to get lost in the crowd. Your best defense is your brand.

Your brand is your identity, and a strong one will help you stand out. It also facilitates a connection between you and your customers that can improve loyalty and engagement. And it makes your company more valuable, which will become relevant if you ever decide to sell your business. Developing a brand, though, requires a focused, dedicated approach. Here’s how you can build yours.

Highlight What Makes You Unique

The first step is to determine what kind of brand you want to be. And one of the keys to a strong brand is authenticity. If you try to be something you are not, your customers will see right through you. This can have a really negative effect on the image of you and your company. You’ll come off as phony or insincere, which will really damage people’s perceptions of you.

So, to begin building your brand, start focusing on what you do that’s unique to you. What makes your company different or special? If you’re not sure, then you likely haven’t thought about it hard enough. Everyone is unique. It’s just a matter of figuring out how and highlighting it.

To help give you some ideas, research your competition. Successful businesses in your field will likely have already done this exercise, so it should be easy to figure out what they consider to be their competitive edge. Go through each one and figure out what makes you different from them. And after you’ve done this, you should be able to devise a list of the different things that separate you from your completion.

Know Your Audience

Whether their conscious of it or not, people expect things from the companies with which they do business. It’s important you be sensitive to these expectations so that you can develop a brand strategy that will resonate with your target audience.

There’s no one way to do this, though. The best strategy is to conduct surveys and focus groups about your target audience. But these can be costly, and if you’re not careful about how you design your studies, then they can produce unreliable results.

Ideal Customer exercises and Customer Journey maps are useful ways of understanding what your audience is looking for in the brands with which they engage. These activities involve you creating fictitious audience members and thinking through how they live their lives to determine their values, beliefs, pain points and expectations. Here’s a great resource for helping you do this exercise effectively.

Another option is to simply test things out. Try out some branding messages and see what happens to engagement. If you’re not getting the response you want, then try something new. While this will take a little longer, it will help you hone your messaging to meet audience expectations, enhancing its effectiveness.

Concise Communication

Once you determine the essence of your brand—that which makes you unique—it’s time to start crafting your messaging. The key here is to be as clear as possible. The more words you have to use to describe your brand, the harder it will be for people to understand you, and this will hurt your chances at making a connection with them.

Think about some of the world’s most successful brands. For example, Nike, which uses the slogan, “Just Do It.” They have been using these words to describe their brand for as long as any of us can remember, and they’re perfect because they quickly and clearly communicate Nike’s brand identity. When we hear these words, we think of perseverance, drive and dedication, as well as hard work. And this is exactly how Nike wants us to perceive the company.

You won’t be able to catch-up with Nike right away—they spend other-worldly amounts of money on branding—but you can certainly mimic their approach. Work to determine a slogan or description that captures the essence of your brand, using as few words as possible. Images are also helpful, and make sure the colors you use on your site and other communications also reflect your brand identity. Remember, the slogan alone isn’t going to establish your brand, but confusing your audience can have disastrous effects.

Be Consistent

As you start to market your brand, consistency will be key. You can never know for sure when or where someone will come into contact with your brand. As such, ensure every piece of content you create accurately reflects the brand you want to promote.

And this goes for social media, too. You can’t be posting about things that are completely irrelevant to your brand, even if they’re attracting shares and likes. The exposure is enticing, but you’ll be sending mixed messages about your brand identity, making it harder to build the so-desired connection with your target audience.

Consider drawing up some brand guidelines to help you stay on message across your different platforms. These will outline the types of content you will publish, and they will also help you stay consistent with how you present your messages, something that is also very important for effective brand management. This will also be helpful should you decide to outsource some of your content creation.

Start Building Your Brand Today

A strong brand will give your company a significant competitive edge. It’ll work like a magnet that draws your target market towards you, and it’s also something people can connect to, which will help develop loyalty to your brand. Follow the steps outlined here so that you can start building a strong personal brand today.

 

About the Author: Jock is a busy entrepreneur and the founder of Digital Exits, an online brokerage service. He enjoys sharing his thoughts on entrepreneurship and business and offering advice to others. Find Jock on Twitter here or connect with him on LinkedIn.

 

 

 

Blogging…..Should you do it?

So many of my clients and business friends ask “is it worth me to start blogging?”  YES!!

Here’s the deal…..I am not a blogger, I don’t know enough about SEO but what I can tell you, is that since I have starting blogging, it has brought me more visibility, especially from people through Google whom don’t even know me.

When I blog, I just write.  I write how I would talk to people if they were sitting across from me.  I write exactly how I would talk.  I don’t use fancy words, I don’t focus on what I should or shouldn’t be doing, I just write.  I share my thoughts, ideas, tips, just write.

Yes, there are many rules to blogging (like how many words to use) but to be completely honest, I don’t follow the rules, because I just write.  For me, I believe it is a great way to bring more traction to our website, but also to share/teach others more, that hopefully can help them, whether it be personal or business.

BUT how do you come up with all the content?  How often should I be blogging?

I am no specialist here, so I am not the one who ask those questions to but I will tell you that you need to just start doing it!!  One main tip I can give you is to ask others to be guest bloggers for you.  There is no cost for them to do this, it brings you visibility to their followings because you are sharing your blogs onto Social Media and tagging their business to thank them, and it helps with adding more content.  Look for those who can compliment your business and provide value to your audience.  Just ask, since most will say yes (actually I would be surprised if someone said no).

Once I do a blog, I share a portion of it on my Facebook Business Page, with a link to the actual blog (which of course is on my website, driving traffic to everything else that is available) and I also post it on my Google+ (this is where I have received great visibility)…..I will also share my post from my Business Page into a variety of groups for more exposure.

So, just do it!!

When you finally do it……..

Have you ever had something that you wanted to do and you kept putting it off?  Then you finally buckled down and did it?

I am EXCITED to announce that I have finally launched my Creating Your Presence Academy!!!  This was something that I wanted to do for the last year and kept putting it off as I didn’t know if business owners were ready for it, BUT they are!!!

I have created a 6 month online program that will teach MORE than Facebook!  Facebook has become very competitive and we, as business owners, need to do more than just posting on our Business Pages.

Based on my own work and what I have been teaching through my consultations, I have developed a program that will cover different areas that will compliment each other BUT also bring MORE to your target market.

  • Branding
  • Facebook (2 month module)
  • Blogging
  • Opt-Ins/Newsletters
  • Networking

I have provided detailed training through written, video and exercises.  You also get an one hour Zoom call with me, each month of the program.  What is even better, you get to work this program at your own pace, not based on how the others are progressing or not progressing.  We all learn at different rates and some things will be easy, some harder.  I have allowed you a month for each (with exception to the Facebook module) however, you may finish the module quicker.

The program is housed on Facebook with their new groups, Social Learning.  The group has everything done through Units, allowing you to mark as complete when done.  This group will also be a support system for you as you work through each module and an opportunity for me to continue to teach you.

Another element that has been incorporated is other Businesses are providing FREE learning material for you.  These learning materials will enhance what you are already learning, you are going to LOVE it!!

Sooooooo, now the question is “how much is it?”

ONLY $625!!!!!!!  Just think…..I charge $75 for an one Zoom call with me, so this means that you are getting all the learning elements and freebies for ONLY $175!!!

The $625 can be paid in 5 monthly installments of $125 OR if you want to pay in full, you will receive a discount of $100, costing you ONLY $525!!!

Ready to get started?  Send me an email at tammy@tammyhudgin.com so that you can arrange your payment method and I will get you added into the Group to get started!!

Are you as EXCITED as me??

Creating Your Presence Academy

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My Journey

11 years ago I started out using Facebook to build a direct sales business I was in and couldn’t believe how quickly I could grow that business.  It was kinda crazy to be honest, as I never believed that I could sit on a social site and talk to people and then have them become customers and/or new consultants.  People told me I was wasting my time, I was not doing anything productive.

I was playing in FB and trying to figure out how I could build a business, I mean why couldn’t this be about me finding customers, right?  I started creeping around FB to see what was available to me and noticed that there were all these “fan” pages that were for the different towns and cities.  I thought “why can’t I have a fan page too?”  So, I create a fan page for my direct sales business (A Finishing Touch).  Well, this was great BUT who the heck was going to see my fan page?

As, I continued to creep FB, I came upon the different groups however, these groups were really about bringing different hobbyist together.  Well, of course, I decided to create my own group called “Home Based Businesses”.  I loved the idea that I could bring different business owners together where we could network online.  Now, at this point, I had to laugh to myself because I didn’t know any other business owners (I came from the corporate world, then a stay-at-home mom, so didn’t really know what an entrepreneur was or even running my own business).  So, what I thought I would do is a post on the different City Fan Pages, calling all other business owners to join me in my group.  I created a post and copied and pasted it onto a TON of different Fan Pages and guess what happened?  I went into FB Jail lol, yep, I was considered a spammer, my first real FB lesson.

Fast forward a couple of years and I built a very successful group where we brought 5,000 business owners together to network, to learn, to be inspired (I had different questions and topics I would post every day to get people talking), to promote their business (I have since closed down the group).  It was really awesome and it led me to building a successful direct sales business until the doors of the company were closed 6 years later.

Throughout this journey, one of the things that was happening was the different business owners I was meeting, started reaching out and asking me to teach them what I was doing on FB to build my business.  Funny, as I had never really thought about what I was doing, I was just using my time on FB to talk to people.  I launched my FB business “I was a FB Nobody” 6 years ago.

I started out doing group training sessions, traveling from one city to another, and teaching business owners the importance of privacy, their news feed, their personal timeline, groups and of course, their business page.  I absolutely LOVED doing this, LOVED teaching others, LOVED watching them grow their business.

As I did more and more training sessions (I trained over 600 different business owners), and overwhelmed some owners, I was now receiving requests to manage their business pages for them.  My next step was now adding Business Page Management to my growing Facebook business.

I continued to grow from many different aspects, which allowed me to add more elements to my business, including speaking engagements (one of my all time favourite things to do).  It also taught me about understanding my true value, that I was worth something, that I had knowledge that people wanted to learn from, to absorb, to be mentored.

I decided to rebrand and launch my NEW business as Tammy Hudgin – Creating Your Presence.  This was so perfect as I had been creating my presence since I started working FB way back when.  It is ultimately what I have been teaching other business owners to do for themselves.

These past 6 years have seen me take different steps BUT always steps forward.  I continue to add more to what I can offer based on all my own personal experience, because if I don’t do the work myself, then how can I ask others to do it?

I have learned many things about myself and FINALLY give myself the credit that I deserve.  I have worked very hard to get where I am and can honestly say, that I am truly happy with where my business is.  I am always looking to grow and will continue to do so, because I am not ready to say “sorry I can’t take anymore clients.”

 

GUEST BLOGGER: Do You Want to Get More Bang For Your Buck? Then Repurpose Your Content

We hear it all the time: “Content is King!” We are told we must have the content that reflects our values and expertise if we are to grow our businesses. But how do we find the time?

  • Do you want to spend less time creating new content and more time finding new clients?
  • Are you finding it really hard to find quality time to create quality content?

If you answered yes to either of these questions you may want to consider repurposing your content.

What does it mean to repurpose content? It means taking content you have used for one purpose, example a blog, and using it for another purpose, example course material.

Repurposing content helps you to share your work and expertise with a different audience. Some people prefer the written word, others prefer audio and still others absorb information best when it is on video. So by repurposing work across different mediums you satisfy more people and thus grow your following.

But the content must be evergreen; that is topical for a long period of time. A whitepaper that compares different desk top computers from 5 years ago is not topical. An instruction video that explains how to achieve value from networking is topical; its content will not significantly change over time.

Blogs Are Rich with Content to Repurpose

Blogs are full of valuable content that deserve a second and third life by being repurposed into something else.

Dissect your most recent blog into very small chunks of content to post to your favourite social media platforms with links back to the blog. This will reinforce your expertise to your followers and provide additional traffic to your blogs, without writing any additional content!

A favourite of ours is to write a series of blogs on a topic important to our ideal clients and followers that we later repurpose into a workbook that can be offered as a free value or as material to accompany a paid course. While we don’t have to rewrite the content we can add to the design and visual elements that increase the learnability of the content.

To reach a further audience we have selected some of our favourite blog topics and created very short audios. We call them the 2 Minute Tips; a way to learn something new in a minimum amount of time; very valuable to some people. You can find these on our website under Free Resources; www.yourplanningpartners.com.

Like many business owners we knew we had a book in us! The challenge that kept stopping us was the enormity of the task. Then we had the ‘aha’ moment. We spent time creating the structure and topics for the book and over a year started writing blogs on all the topics. You guessed it. The time came when we had the book content written and now they just needed editing and tweaking. Our book the Balanced Business Wheel was born by repurposing our blog content.

Tools of Your Trade

We work with small business owners to help them grow their business into a strong and sustainable entity. Over the years we have created tools to help our clients achieve this end. For example, we created a process and checklist to help our clients bring the right people onto their team. This tool was repurposed into a number of blogs and I am sure it will be further repurposed into something else.

Take a good hard look at some of the tools you have created for your practice. Which ones could become the subject of a blog or be used in a course? Keep in mind you are not giving away your intellectual property. You are further proving your expertise and knowledge. You are building your fan base.

So sit down with your favourite beverage and list all the tools you have in your program and identify which ones you want to repurpose. These tools might be processes, questionnaires, checklists, articles all aimed at helping your clients achieve the results they want. You will be surprised how long the list is!

Webinars Are an Excellent Source for Repurposed Content

If you do webinars read on. If you don’t do webinars read on so you can see their ongoing value.

Clarification; I mean recorded webinars. The result is a video of the webinar that can be used for many other things. A reminder; the reason we want to repurpose is because we want to expand our followers and some people much prefer video over the written word.

You repurpose the video into many things:

  • Video clips for social media
  • Video tutorials on how to use specific tools. We have done this with our business development tool called Top 20, which was part of one of our webinars.
  • Video blogs
  • Videos for your website
  • Videos for online courses

To effectively repurpose webinar recordings you need to edit the recordings into smaller chunks. To do this you have two options. Find someone to do it for you or do it yourself. If you don’t want to do it then you can find someone by asking around and/or searching Upworks.

If you want to edit videos yourself here are three different softwares we recommend:

  1. If you are PC user – Windows Movie Maker. It’s free.
  2. If you are a Mac user – iMovie. It’s also free.
  3. Photoshop Premier Elements. This is the software we use. It’s priced around $145 at Staples and you can buy it bundled with Photoshop Elements ($215) if you want to also edit photographs.

Keep in mind there are numerous video editing softwares available. These are the three we are most familiar with.

Repurposing content is only as restrictive as your creativity. We created a series of blogs to help small business owners understand their financial statements. We then took those blogs and turned them into a workbook called the Three Pillars of Financial Management™.   Its third lease on life became a webinar. All three of these still exist and are still available, each one attracting a different following.

This blog does not attempt to cover every possible repurposing strategy. If you have any questions or comments on the content of this blog, and/or you have an example of repurposing you would like to share then please don’t hesitate to be in touch with me; nick@yourplanningpartners.com.

Happy repurposing!

Nick 100x100

Nick Hughes is cofounder of Your Planning Partners Ltd, a company that works hand in hand with small business owners to help them grow their businesses.  He and his partner Judi Hughes owned a number of successful companies before launching Your Planning Partners

Follow them on Facebook HERE

Consistency!!

If you know me in person or even follow me around on Facebook, you will know that I talk about routines and consistency.  If we want to build a business, we have to always be doing things to bring our business attention.

You can’t just randomly work your business if you want to see growth, it is doing it every single day.  I know we are all busy, because we are the type of people who just keep on taking things on lol BUT you have to decide what your priorities are.

  • What must get done?
  • What am I good at?
  • How can I get my message out there?
  • Can I handle it or do I need to hire someone?

These are questions you need to ask yourself and seriously look at.  You have to determine where you can focus your time and COMMIT to it.

I have a TON of elements to my business and I schedule them into my calendar so they do get done.  I also will choose specific tasks that I can send to a VA to complete for me.  These are tasks that yes need to be done, but not by me.

Why is consistency so important?  Let me give you a couple of examples based on my stats:

These are my Facebook Stats for my Business Page within the last 7 days

page stats

What you see here is growth, which is regular for my business page and it is because I am consistent!  I post every day, Monday to Friday, one post (no need to do more); I share my posts into a variety of groups throughout the week; I mix up my content so I am always providing value.  I am consistent!

These are my stats for my website, for the month of January

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So far this is my biggest month BUT for February, to date, I am sitting at 671 views.  Notice where most of my visibility is coming from?  Facebook!!!

If I can drive traffic to my website, based on what I am posting on Facebook, then it opens up the opportunity for people to look at what else I have to offer on my website.

The KEY for me here, is the blogging I do because I then do a post on my Facebook Business Page driving them to my website to read the blog (as you can see in the number 1 page listed for views).

I try to do a blog a week BUT when I am running out of content to write about, I reach out to other business owners (that compliment my business) and have them be Guest Bloggers.  The BONUS here is that it is a free service, brings visibility to both them and myself, and opens us up to potential new clients.

In summary, if you are doing what you need to do, consistently, then how does your business grow?  I am not saying that Social Media is what you need to be doing consistently BUT I would strongly encourage you to look at how it could potentially affect the growth of your business.

 

P.S.  Download my FREE Daily Checklist for Facebook, it just might help create consistency for you.