Ahhhh, it’s the constant challenge of every speaker out there! How do you get (and stay) booked? Whether garden speaking is the lifeblood of your income or a supporting actor, you’re probably always wishing your calendar was just a little fuller, aren’t you?
While every speaker may have their special sauce when it comes to keeping those bookings coming, we’ve got a few of our own.
12 Ways to Get Booked
The bottom line is that you have to consistently let people know who you are, what you do, and how to work with you. Make it easy for them to find you—if you make them hunt, you’re likely going to lose bookings. How many of these suggestions are you doing?
- Have your speaking gigs feature prominently on your website: Yep, this is a basic, but you’d be surprised how many speakers neglect this. Go to your site now and ask yourself: If someone didn’t know me, would they know immediately upon visiting my site that I am a speaker? No? Then get busy creating a dedicated page with your speaking topics, a pic of you speaking, and an easy way for interested parties to get a hold of you.
- Become active in industry groups/events: When your colleagues know you, they will think of you when an opportunity arises. Go to the flower and garden shows, the trade shows, the garden writing/communicator conferences, the local meetups.
- Let your colleagues know that you are speaking: Your industry friends want to see you succeed, so let them know what you are doing and ask for their recommendation. “Hey, Claire, I just wanted to let you know that I’ve created a really great presentation on XYZ, and if you know anyone who is looking for a speaker on that topic, I’d so appreciate it if you passed along my information!”
- Update your business cards: Do your cards simply say “writer,” “author,” or “designer?” Add “speaker” to that card pronto!
- Create a One Sheet: Gather all your speaking info in one place and create a graphic One Sheet that you can give or email colleagues or potential venues. Need help with that? Visit our blog post here.
- Post about your talks on social media: You can create a Facebook event for some of your speaking gigs, but otherwise, just post about it on Instagram and Facebook! Post where you’re speaking, post about what you speak about, post pics about getting ready for a speaking gig, post pics at the speaking gig, post a follow up thank you to the venue. Be upbeat, positive, and consistent. Oh, and we know of several successful speakers who have Pinterest boards for their speaking careers—include pics that are pertinent to your topics, pics of you presenting, pics of the venue, and link them to your website’s booking page!
- Keep your Great Garden Speakers profile updated: We heavily promote our speakers, as you know, through social media and regular emails to the industry. If your profile isn’t updated or appears vague, hmmmm, that makes our job more difficult (we’re still going to do our jobs, though!). And if a potential venue pops onto your profile and sees sketchy info, they’ll probably do a hard pass. Again, make it easy for people to find you and want to work with you!
- Be a guest on a podcast: There are lots of garden podcasts out there—contact them! Don’t wait to be asked. Let them know—“Hey, I love your podcast, and if you’re looking for guests, I’d love to join you to talk about ABC!”
- Include your booking contact in your email signature: Easy peasy, guys. One and done. Add a “Book me to speak at your event!” with a link to your booking page underneath your signature, and every time you send an email, you’re advertising and planting the proverbial seeds.
- Update your email address: Please, for the love of all things botanical, don’t tell us you’re still using an obscure yahoo or @aol email address. We beg you. Create a simple professional email address, even one specifically for speaking inquiries (these are made up examples; don’t email these people, y’all): CathyDentonSpeaks@gmail.com, John@JohnSmithSpeaker.com, TomPetersPresents@gmail.com, publicity@SharonJones.com, or info@SarahBrown.com.
- Update your bios: Does your website “About” page mention you’re a speaker? How about your Instagram profile? Your Facebook “About”? Your LinkedIn bio? Your writing byline? Your book bio?
- Be professional: This is perhaps the most important one, friends. When you do a good job, people remember and will either book you again or recommend you to others. Create an outstanding presentation, work on your delivery, always learn how to speak more compellingly, dress appropriately, show up ahead of time, communicate effectively, follow up promptly, and be as prepared as possible.
What would you add to this list? You’re an industrious bunch, so we’d love to know!