5 tips on securing high-profile speaker for your online event

CFC Big Ideas has organized many online events since 2020, including the Global Inclusion Online Forum, Davos Energy Week, and Djooky Music Investment Summit. Despite not having pre-existing networks or contacts within the targeted sectors, the organization successfully secured several high-profile speakers including Ministers and Global senior leaders from Fortune 500 companies. Herewith we would like to share our best recommendations on how you can conduct your online events and attract high-profile speakers to them.

Communicate how participation in your event can benefit them, not only what potential speakers bring to your event

High profile speakers are usually in high demand and receive a large number of invitations to speak at events. As such, they may be selective about the events they choose to participate in. Additionally, online events lack the personal interaction and networking opportunities provided by physical events. This means that you need to offer something unique and valuable to attract high-profile speakers to your online event. Typically, to attract a potential speaker, your event must align with their personal mission and offer a unique opportunity that cannot be found elsewhere. You have to prove it with your words and actions. Sometimes, it is even worth adjusting the agenda and putting the right wording that would resonate with the potential speaker.

Choose speakers who can help your attendees solve their problems.

Today, a successful event requires not only star speakers but also content that appeals to consumers’ specific problems and pains. Therefore, researching thoroughly and selecting the right speakers is critical. This involves understanding your target audience and identifying speakers who can provide value to them, considering the speaker’s expertise, industry experience, and their ability to engage and inspire your audience.

Always have a backup list of potential speakers.

While looking for speakers, you might pick your favorites but sometimes they just can’t make it. Therefore the more potential speakers you reach out to, the easier it will be to find those who fit better, without having to compromise on the quality of your events’ content. Also, speakers with previous experience in virtual events are essential as online events have become more prevalent since the pandemic. Having a strong online presence and being recognized for delivering high-quality content are crucial for speakers. It is equally important to have relevant experience, as it helps in creating awareness about your event among the audience.

Maximize your outreach efforts through media partners and social media platforms.

If you don’t have a personal connection with the speaker you want to invite, there are several ways to reach out to them. First, identify your media and network partners and reach out to them before reaching out to your potential speakers. If you have some reputable partners on board, it will make getting speakers easier and quicker. Dropping the names of your other confirmed speakers might help you persuade new speakers to take part as well.

Second, reach out to potential speakers via social media platforms to start a conversation. You can also use email or contact their colleagues such as company Head of Communications, their agent or manager, in case you want to reach a high-ranking person.

Be organized and act consecutively.

These steps will help you speed up the speaker invitation and securing process:

  • Create a list of potential speakers at least six months before your online event. 
  • Prepare a clear and concise invitation letter that outlines the benefits of participating in your event. 
  • When reaching out to an important person via email, personalize that email and mention what the case or experience our audience would be delighted to learn. 
  • If speakers you try to reach out do not reply or are reluctant, be persistent but polite: send them follow up messages containing positive news about your event and updates on other speakers. 
  • Have a timeline for the invitation and follow-up process, and send regular updates to avoid any gaps in speaker communication.
  • Plan testing sessions, and keep a speaker tracker to avoid losing any attendees. 
  • Try to create a common chat with all your speakers and moderators to ensure quicker communication during the event.

Through the implementation of the above techniques, CFC Big Ideas successfully drew the participation of seven Energy Ministers from different countries and over 80 speakers, and brought together more than 5000 attendees globally for Davos Energy Week 2021.

Another example of a successful speaker engagement campaign is from the Collision Conference, which is an annual tech conference held in Canada. The event organizers used a combination of social media outreach and personalized invitations to attract high-profile speakers. They also created a unique virtual platform that allowed speakers to engage with the audience and network with other attendees. As a result, the event attracted over 30,000 attendees and featured speakers such as Al Gore, Melinda Gates, and Brad Smith.

According to Linkedin research virtual events are expected to remain highly popular over the 2023-2026 because businesses value their scalability, accessibility and the ease of booking high profile speakers. The virtual event experience is evolving to TV-standard production, but it doesn’t mean that live events will disappear entirely. Virtual and physical events will likely complement each other in marketing strategies with virtual events ideal for upper funnel targeting a broader audience and in-person events focusing on lower-funnel objectives, emphasizing quality time with buyers. Hybrid events, combining the benefits of both, are the big bets of future marketing strategies.

Securing high-profile speakers for your online event can be a challenging task, but it’s not impossible. By following the tips outlined in this article, you can increase your chances of attracting the right speakers who will add value to your event and engage your audience. Remember to research thoroughly and identify the speakers who can provide the most value to your target audience, create a clear and concise invitation letter, and be organized and prepared throughout the process. With these strategies in place, you can successfully secure high-profile speakers for your online event and deliver valuable content to your audience.

If you want to learn more about various aspects of online events, feel free to download СFC Big Ideas Online Event Guidebook.

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