It’s been a week since we returned form WordCamp Chicago where Shelby Sapusek and I launched the public speaking arm of the She Said, He Said project. In that week, people have begun reaching out to us for help with social media and offering opportunities to speak. So how did we get here?
Landing speaking gigs is no accident
While She Said, He Said grew organically, securing speaking gigs never happens by accident. For example, to secure the WordCamp Chicago gig, we attended the WordPress Milwaukee Meetup so we could meet Heather Acton whom we knew was one of the WordCamp Chicago organizers. Yes, we still filled out the speaking proposal which was required to speak at a WordCamp. But showing up to meet one of the event organizers face-to-face? That’s hustling.
We are completing lots of speaking proposals for events like BlogWorld, PubCon and other WordCamps. Don’t expect the conferences to come find you, you need to go find them. Then, you need to become active in the communities the event organizers manage. It’s no accident Shelby has participated in every BlogWorld Twitter chat since we submitted our proposal.
Will we land every gig we apply for? While I hope so, the answer is probably not. Landing speaking gigs is like any other form of sales. It’s a numbers game. Also, like any other form of sales, it’s competitive. I love that I’ve been selling for three decades. It gives us an edge. However, you can have the real edge too. Hustle. Keep your brand in front of people. Apply, apply and then apply some more. Then, participate in places the event organizers will notice you. Remember your participation is helping them. We all like to help those who have helped us.
Apply to the biggest events
While you may not land them in the beginning, there is another benefit. When I applied to speak at BlogWorld last year, I spent a week making sure the application was perfect. I got turned down. I then used the content from that application to land a series of smaller gigs. By applying to a big event, you’ll force yourself to rise to another level when completing the application process.
Be willing to commit 12 to 18 months of your life to launching a speaking career. Then get outside your comfort zone, think big and hustle!