Speakers are a BIG part of your association’s event. They play into why people register and what attendees will ultimately take back home with them. (A pretty big responsibility.)
That said, you want to leverage your speakers to the best of your ability (to attract members and drive registration rates). To do that, it’s important to ask your speakers for a few key marketing materials. Particularly…
1. A bio and a high resolution headshot
This one goes without saying, but it’s absolutely crucial that you get a bio and a high resolution headshot for all of your speakers. You’ll want to include these on your website, in your newsletter, on social media leading up to the event date, and of course, in your on-site registration pamphlet (or online PDF) that contains the event agenda.
Note: If you’re using an event app, you’ll want to include the bios and headshots there as well. It breaks up the copy and adds a personal touch to the content you’re offering.
2. A compelling session description
To really sell your speakers - and by extension, your event - you need to have compelling session descriptions. That means each description needs to contain a “why” - why your members (and potential members) should care. Is this a new industry trend? Is this something your members and people in the industry have been struggling with for a while? The session description should clearly state that.
Tip: If you can, have your speakers provide full session descriptions (one or two paragraphs), but also one-to-two-sentence descriptions. That way, you can use the full descriptions on your website and in your agenda, but still have short descriptions to use on social media.
3. Their personal social media handles
You should absolutely promote your speakers on social media leading up to the event, but you should get your speakers to promote their sessions and your event as well. Now you may already ask your speakers to do that, but whether or not they actually follow through…well, that’s a different story.
To boost the chances of them actually doing so, gather their personal social media handles and tag them every time you post about their session. They’ll get a notification (if they’re active on social media), and it’s MUCH easier to retweet something than it is to comprise your own tweet. Plus, by including their handles, you’re giving attendees the opportunity to scope those speakers out before finalizing their schedules.
4. A short, 30-second video
Nowadays, video is the number one way to engage people online. That said, ask your speakers to submit a short, 30-second video summarizing their session topic and description. (These don’t have to be anything fancy. iPhone videos are fine.) Then, use those videos to really sell your event! Post them on your website and sporadically on social media leading up to your event. (And make sure your speakers include their “why” - why attendees should care/attend that particular session.)
5. One or two “fun facts”
Most of the time, speaker bios and descriptions are all business. They state where the speaker is from, what they do for a living, how long they’ve held that position, etc. And all of that info is certainly good to have, but it’s not necessarily the most engaging.
To really humanize your speakers, consider asking them to submit one or two “fun facts” about themselves. (For example, what’s a unique hobby of theirs or what’s their dream vacation?) Then, include those fun facts in your marketing materials. You could even turn it into a contest. You could tweet out questions (for example, which speaker is DYING to go on an African safari?) and then pick one or two respondents and reward them with a prize. This encourages engagement, and if an attendee shares in that fun fact, that gives them and the speaker something to talk about. A win-win for all!
Want more tips for marketing your event and engaging attendees onsite? Check out our Complete Guide to Event Planning below! It’s filled with best practices for before, during, and after your next event!