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Marketing Through Guest Appearances

Guest Appearance

These are hard to get at first, but once you develop a little bit of a reputation, they will walk into your life, and you may have to be choosy about what you do. Guest appearances allow you the chance to promote yourself for free, or even while being paid, and they provide the best possible type of promotion – it builds credibility, expertise, and begins the process of relationship marketing.

With guest appearances, it is all about your reputation and name. If you have made a name for yourself, you can expect to be paid for them. At first though, you do free guest appearances, strictly for the promotion.

There are far more opportunities for these than ever before. With the technology available to startup businesses, someone is always running a teleclass, webinar, or podcast where they need guest speakers. If you are comfortable speaking, it is a good way to start out.

Many are conducted in interview format. Some interviewers will allow you to prepare, some want the interview to be more spontaneous. You’ll occasionally have a live audience, and that can be very unpredictable.

When possible, prepare by writing down some answers to questions you are likely to be asked. You may or may not have the opportunity to refer to your notes, but even if you don’t, you are more likely to remember details and points of importance if you have previously written it down and gone over the responses.

Guest speaking is just another means of replicating information, and of creating a viral type info-product that goes on working for you to get indirect business referrals. People ask for speakers based on the perceived value of what they know. They don’t care whether you sell the best product in the world. They want to know how you know it is the best product. They want generic information that applies to ALL products like yours, not a glorified ad about your product. Check out the article marketing info if you want more information on the kinds of information people want to replicate.

So when you prepare an example replies in advance, make them objective, and make them valuable to everyone, not just to people who buy your product. Never refer to “our product” or “in my company” unless it is in a way that is applicable to other situations.

To prepare for live speaking engagements, you’ll need to practice. You can practice in front of a mirror if you’ll be visible, or just go over your material while speaking it out loud.

Written words and spoken words often use a slightly different phrasing. So actually speaking responses out loud is important, because it helps your tongue and lips practice saying phrases that may be awkward. This may be especially important if you use technical terms that must be said in the right way, or if you have product names that must be exact.

If you want to be able to do public speaking, you have to do two things:

  1. Develop the skills. You can join Toastmasters, or you can just get lots of practice other ways, but do SOMETHING to learn to speak comfortably in public. I have taught classes in church to people of all ages, as well as having taught a few public school classes, I have made presentations to our Town Council, and had the opportunity for a range of other public speaking opportunities, so when I was first asked to do an interview, I was nervous, but knew I could speak well and confidently. My major concern was being able to properly frame my words and descriptions – since I usually write, I don’t have to come up with spontaneous instruction, I can usually think about the best way to say it.
  2. Develop the reputation. No one is going to ask you to speak if you are a nobody. You have to get your name out there, and you have to have good information that they want. You don’t have to be THE expert in your field, but you have to have some experience in the area that they want to know about, and some evidence that you do have that experience. For me, this came as a result of having written instructional materials on my websites, and from having contributed to a book that was published by a trade association. Tell the truth, give valuable information, and market it, and eventually someone will ask you if you want to do a guest appearance..

You’ll have to be willing to start small. At first, when you make a public appearance – in person or just voice – do not expect people to mass to the event. You may get only one or two people in the audience. Your host may themselves be just starting out (otherwise they’d get someone more prestigious). The lack of an audience may seem somewhat humiliating, but you’ll need to focus on other things.

For one thing, many voice shows and engagements are recorded. People may have the opportunity to hear you long after the event has ended. In fact, this may be one reason that they are not listened to very well – if people know they can hear it later, they may not feel the need to tune in at the time.

Focus on growth, not on the moment. Each appearance is a stepping stone. And it may take many appearances before you can see any difference in the quality of the opportunity. If you want to make these a significant part of your marketing campaign, then deal with it, it is a necessary step. Do your homework, prepare well, and deliver your best even if you don’t think anyone is listening. Long term, it is well worth it.

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