May 26, 2017

How Top Speakers Use Content to Engage Beyond the Stage

BY Caitlin Delohery IN Professional Speaking 0 Comment

Professional speaker writing content

Today’s best professional speakers know that engaging and motivating their audience requires reaching far beyond the stage. That’s why they use multiple content channels to spread their message and connect with different audiences.

Think about how fertilizer works for your garden. You may get decent growth without it, but add fertilizer once a week and your garden will thrive!

Quality content is like fertilizer for your business — and the best professional speakers know this. Content will never replace rocking the stage. But it will help you reach more people and build the foundation for a strong, healthy, vibrant business.

Here’s an inside look at how the best speakers manage their content.

They use multiple content channels.

Professional speakers today know that without a website they don’t have a base for their business. Michael Hoffman says that those without an online learning element will miss out on reaching clients the way they want to be reached. “That’s going to be a more and more important piece of a professional speaker’s relationship with the client,” he says.

Besides operating from an online foundation, some professional speakers take their ideas to Twitter and Facebook. Others create weekly podcasts.

Veteran speaker Shep Hyken, for example, releases a new episode of his podcast, Amazing Business Radio, and writes a minimum of three articles every week for his customer service blog. Then he shares them on Twitter and his Facebook page. It’s all a part of tending to his business and engaging his audience. He says,

“The smart speakers are going to exploit these different channels and widen their audience and widen their exposure. Social media and blogging is all part of content marketing, and I think the channels of content marketing are going to expand.”

They know the value of video.

Videos are the key to connecting with audiences in the future, says Mary Kelly. “There’s an increased need for video. I’m focusing on getting more videos done – shorter snippets, like 60 to 90 seconds — for people to see what I’m like and what I do.”

Whether a video shows a quick intro to your personality, speaking style, and thought leadership — or showcases a keynote speech, it helps tell your story quickly while nurturing potential customers.

Scott Berkun, speaker and best-selling author, does this well. He displays an archive of his best speaking videos on his website that his audience can access from anywhere.

If you’re not totally sold on videos, consider this: research shows that 90% of customers report that product videos help them make purchasing decisions. Plus, 59% of company decision makers — like the folks that hire you — would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post.

They repurpose content.

While the way people share content might change (and it does, often), not every single piece of your content that you share online needs to be original.

That’s why Hoffman repurposes as much of his content as possible. From a single weekly blog post, his team tweets on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. He also creates an audio or podcast from it.

Repurposing content can be as simple or as in-depth as needed. Some professional speakers repurpose content by turning a series of related articles into e-books — or repurpose a popular article or topic into a podcast or radio show.

Another example? Author and speaker, Simon Sinek, expanded on themes from his keynote TED talk, “How Great Leaders Inspire Action” into the best-selling book Start With Why.

They set a schedule — and stick to it.

Mastering your content is only as successful as your ability to stick to it every day.

Hoffman sets aside time every day for brainstorming, creating, and sharing content. “In the afternoon, I work on social media, creating a new video or podcast, or brainstorming ideas for future content,” he says. “I have a whiteboard in my office to brainstorm ideas and put them on the wall.”

And although he admits he’s not the most organized person in the world, he hires people who help him set schedules, systems, and processes. “Otherwise, your social media doesn’t get posted,” he notes. “Scheduling is everything.”

Hyken, too, plants out (see what we did there?) every piece of content for each day of the week. But don’t let content marketing or the idea of passive income streams get in the way of actually picking up the phone. He says this is a huge mistake:

“We can talk about passive income from book sales and products, but at the end of the day, if you want to be on a stage or on one of these different channels getting paid to speak, you need to make it happen.”

Moral of the story? Every top professional speaker consistently creates content that engages their audience and grows their business. If you want more expertise straight from professional speakers, check out our interview series.

Caitlin got her roots in inbound marketing before it got its name. As a teenager in the 90s, she promoted her independently published magazines by writing about the importance of indie publishing all over AOL. Now, Caitlin is passionate about moving people and society forward. She follows thought leaders in the National Speakers Association, the staffing industry, and all human rights movements. She loves learning and helping people learn.

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