054: Building Interest And Excitement For Your Summit with Abby Herman

Building interest and excitement around your summit doesn't need to wait until a couple weeks before it starts.

In this episode with Abby Herman we're breaking down when to start talking about your summit, what to talk about, and how to encourage your speakers to join in on the fun.

Transcript

Krista:
Hey, hey. Welcome to the Summit Host Hangout Podcast where you'll learn how to plan, strategize and launch your profitable online summit, no influencer status necessary. I'm your host Krista from Summit In A Box, and we are currently in a series about creating engagement in your summit. Today in episode 54, I'm so excited to bring in a guest to talk about building interest and excitement leading up to your summit. So we're going to cover when to start talking about your summit, how to do it so it doesn't get old for you or your followers, and what to provide your speakers to make it easy for them to share as well.

Krista:
To give you some background on our guest, she's a content strategist and consultant for service-based business owners who want to gain visibility for their business. She also creates courses to help newer business owners DIY their content marketing, because she knows from experience that there's nothing more frustrating than not knowing where to start. So without further ado, let's dive in and talk with Abby Herman.

Krista:
Hey Abby, I'm so excited to have you today. Welcome.

Abby Herman:
Thank you so much for having me. I'm happy to be here.

Krista:
I'm so excited for what we're going to talk about today, because I think this is something that a lot of people overlook, and mostly just because we don't know what to do. So, I'm excited to have you kind of talk us through this process step-by-step. Before we get there, tell us a little bit about you and your business.

About Abby's Business

Abby Herman:
So, I am a content strategist and coach for service-based business owners. I help them figure out how to get their message out there and to get visible, so that they can sell their thing or things down the road. I've been in business full-time since 2013. I actually started my business in 2007 when I was a full-time elementary school teacher in Arizona. So not making enough money to get by, and so I started doing some freelance writing and then it just kind of grew from there. I mean, as we all do, have had many morphs and changes in my business over the years. So, I love it.

Krista:
Yeah, I love how it just kind of works out that way, isn't it great? We need a little something that needs to change and then we just create these really awesome things that we never would have been able to dream of. It's kind of exciting.

Abby Herman:
Yes, I agree. Yeah, and every time I think you learn something new in your business or in your field, in your niche, you kind of make those changes in your business to make it into exactly what you want to be doing. Which is, I think, why so many of us business owners love what we do so much, because we love our businesses, right?

Krista:
Exactly, exactly. I mean, I've just loved watching everything you've done over the past couple of years since we started getting in each other's circle. It's just been so fun to watch all those shifts. But what has your experience with summits looked like up to this point? Have you been speaker, host, attendee?

Abby's experience with summits

Abby Herman:
So I've always thought about hosting one. Maybe some day down the road, I don't know. It's just been an idea percolating for the last couple of years. I heard you on a podcast say that exact same thing, a recent episode, that it was just kind of percolating and then you just did it. But I have been both a speaker to, I don't know, maybe six or eight of them and then I've been an attendee to many as well.

Krista:
Yes, and Abby has always been one of my favorite summit speakers. So if you need someone to talk about what we're going to talk about today, reach out to Abby. But let's dive into what we're talking about today. Like I was saying before, something a lot of people seem to struggle with is knowing when to start talking about their summit. Some people want to wait until a couple of weeks before or even just keep it a secret until they're ready to start full-on promoting, so they can do this big fun announcement. Some, myself included, like to do little sneak peaks leading up to it here and there while we're planning. When do you think is the best time to start dropping hints and then promoting a summit?

The best time to start talking about your summit

Abby Herman:
So usually, and this isn't just for summits either, any new thing that you're putting out there, any launch that you're doing, as a general rule, I always say 90 days. 90 days out is enough time that you can generate interest, get people excited about it, but it's not so much time that they're going to get sick of hearing about it or they're going to lose interest. So, I say 90 days for just about everything.

Krista:
I love that. Since my suggested timeline for a summit is 90 days, that couldn't line up any better. Once you have this idea and start taking action, you are telling people about it, right? I don't know what it is that makes people want to hold it in until it's the official promo time. But there really is a power in slowly letting more and more people know about it, even if you're not actively promoting.

Abby Herman:
Well, yeah, because there are so many things, and you're not just talking about the summit, you're talking about all the ideas that are surrounding the summit. So the topics that you want to cover, you're talking about some of the people, are starting to tag people, the people who are going to be in the summit. I've never planned a summit, so I don't know how far in advance you choose speakers.

Abby Herman:
But, I mean, as you're choosing them, that doesn't mean you're calling them out as a speaker, but you're starting to get in front of their audience also by sharing their content and by tagging them and having conversations with them. You're not just promoting the summit, you're promoting all of the ideas around it, all of the people who are part of it, everything. So, there's a lot to talk about. So if you think that 90 days is too much time, it's probably not enough time for all of the things you could be talking about.

Krista:
I love what you mentioned about starting to connect with your speakers on there. Because when you're hosting a summit, you'll find that when you tag a speaker on Instagram Stories, for example, sometimes them resharing that story is the only time they're going to promote at all, depending on the speaker. But starting to do that early is a great way to start getting in front of their audience, like you said, so that when it's finally the promotion period and maybe they repost something, their audience has seen you before. I feel like that would make them more likely to click over and maybe some of them have already come into your audience, which just makes it so much more likely that you'll convert them to an attendee.

Abby Herman:
Well, yeah, and also too, because we're all busy, so the speakers are always busy, they've got other things that they're promoting as well. But if you are going to tag me on something and you're reminding me that I'm part of the summit. I get the warm fuzzies, because I am getting tagged and I know that, as a speaker, I'm now getting in front of another audience, and so you're driving traffic to me. It just makes sense for me to kind of internalize that and just feel an obligation to be a better promoter of the summit, right?

Krista:
Exactly, that's a big part of it. I love that you know exactly how that works, as someone even who has never hosted. If I'm tagging you on the stories, you're like, "I know what she's doing."

Abby Herman:
Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah, and I mean, you're not being a jerk about it, you're just saying, "Hey, I want to put you in front of my audience." You're asking nicely by tagging, "Please put me in front of your audience as well." So yeah.

Krista:
Exactly. So, okay, we should start letting people know what's coming several months in advance. Talk us through kind of what that overall marketing strategy looks like.

What your overall marketing strategy should look like

Abby Herman:
So of course, every summit is going to look a little bit different, depending on your business, depending on who your speakers are, what you're putting out there, what kind of audience you're trying to get in front of. But in general, I would say 90 days out you start teasing. Maybe you don't talk about it, that you're going to do a summit, but start teasing some of the topics. Tease that something really cool is coming or something that's going to be really beneficial for whatever the audience is.

Abby Herman:
Then think about what is the topic, start talking about it and illustrate the importance. So, of whatever that topic is to get buy-in. Maybe you're doing a summit on creating content for your audience, so how to get more visibility in front of your audience. So what is the importance of visibility? Why do you need visibility? What are easy ways to get visibility? Who are the people that you should be connecting with? There's your speakers right there. Who are the people you should be connecting with to get that visibility? How do you do it in a way that doesn't feel icky and sleazy?

Abby Herman:
So just start talking about that and get their buy into, I need this thing, because they're going to be much more likely to be an attendee and to participate actively if they have the buy-in. Then at the same time, if you don't have your speaker lineup done yet, you'll probably get some people who are interacting with your content that might be good speakers. So either them pitching you to be a part of the summit or just giving you some additional ideas that can help you build out your content.

Abby Herman:
So that's about 90 days out that you should start doing that and then continue doing that the whole way through the entire 90 days. So that's not something that you want to stop. Then about 45 to 60 days, so a month and a half to two months out, I'm assuming you have your speakers, you should be creating swipe copy for them. So swipe copy is copy that you create to promote your summit to make it really easy for them to literally swipe it. So they're going to copy and paste it into their social media posts, into their emails.

Abby Herman:
Maybe you have podcast hosts who are part of your speaker lineups, so they can use some swipe copy for their intros and outros so they can promote the summit. Create graphics for them, have graphics ready. Because we're busy, give it to them early. 45 days ahead of time, a month and a half ahead of time, so that they can get it to their VA or whoever's doing the social media scheduling.

Abby Herman:
Then about three weeks out or so, now it's time to really start talking about the summit. You have your speakers, you have the graphics, you have all the copy, you know exactly how the summit is going to play out, so start sharing about it, get people to sign up. Maybe you have a waiting list that you want them to get on, because I don't know if 21 days feels too far out, get them on a waiting list and start nurturing them with some emails.

Abby Herman:
Then I think, going back to what we talked about before, promoting each individual speaker, I think, is really important. Krista, you do a really good job of having individual graphics for each speaker, so we can share it on our feeds and promote ourselves and we can also swipe some of the other people's individual graphics and promote them as well. So one of our biz besties or people who are in a mastermind with us are also speakers, we can promote them as well. Because you share all of those graphics with everyone.

Abby Herman:
So really start talking about it, talk to your speakers about affiliate links. So about two weeks out, speakers can send it out to their audience with affiliate links, so that they can make announcements and hopefully earn a little bit of income as well, if you have an all access pass or a VIP pack or even a special promotion that you are sending out to the attendees. Then of course throughout the entire summit, you want to continue getting more signups.

Abby Herman:
So just because the summit is this week, doesn't mean that you stop the promotion, you can still have people sign up. But when they start to see the excitement around the promotion, around the summit itself, have people comment with their biggest takeaways and tag the summit. You can get more participation by running a contest for an all access pack. If you ask people to tag you during the course of the summit, maybe you can give away an all access pack to one person.

Abby Herman:
Then as a host, I also think it's important, throughout the course of the summit, to share your own takeaways on social media. Get on Instagram Stories, if you have a private Facebook group for summit attendees, get on there and talk about takeaways from each individual speaker. I think that's really important, because then again, you can tag them and then they can share that content.

Krista:
Yes. Abby, so much good stuff. I have a whole bunch of notes and I want to break down some of these a little bit more, but I want to start with that, one of those last pieces. Because I do think a lot of people stop promoting once the summit starts and that is a huge missed opportunity, because people that come in then are going to see the excitement that's already happening, so they're going to be able to dive right in when they're excited rather than having to wait a couple of weeks during the promotion period. If they come in when they've missed some presentations, they're going to want to buy that all access pass to get access to those presentations.

Krista:
This is something I haven't done the best job at, but last week as of recording this, someone who has gone through all of my products launched an incredible summit, and she did a really great job of doing everything you just talked about on Instagram. So each day or each morning, she'd go live and talk about the presentations that were that day and then she would, like you said, share those biggest takeaways, give her speaker shout outs. She was resharing things that attendees were saying on social media and encouraging them to share some things on social media.

Krista:
She had some kind of prize, I'm not sure how it was. But it wasn't even targeted towards me, it was for photographers and I was like, "I want to go to this, because everyone loves this so much." She was doing such a great job every single day of bringing it up to her followers. I think that's something we should keep in mind, promotion doesn't end when the summit begins. So I'm really glad you brought that up here.

Abby Herman:
Well, and it's just like as a service provider, you don't stop marketing because your client roster is full. Because as soon as you start doing that, your client roster is not going to be full and then you're going to need new clients and you constantly have to continually market yourself. It's hard and it takes time, but especially in the midst of a summit, right? You're in the middle of a ridiculous work week and so much work that you have to keep promoting though.

Krista:
Oh, for sure. Something else I really liked that you pointed out a little bit earlier, towards the beginning in that 90 day-ish window, I really liked how you pointed out that, yes, we're starting to tease out this summit 90 days in advance, but that doesn't necessarily mean you have to be like, "I'm hosting a summit, sign up here." You're starting to talk about that content. I do think this is another place that we can miss a great opportunity, where when you decide you're hosting a summit, you decide the topic, all your content between that time and your summit should be related to your summit's topic.

Krista:
Right now, I'm down to monthly blog posts on my blog. Not much, but you can bet when my summit planning starts each month, that's what my blog post's going to be, that's what my newsletter is going to be. So when all of a sudden I announce this big summit to my audience, they are familiar with the topic, they've maybe even made a little progress on it and know they want more. I think that's something that people really need to think about on social media, on whatever type of content you publish, your podcast blog. Start teasing out that content related to your summit, so the topic isn't just coming out of nowhere basically.

Abby Herman:
Yes, exactly. Yeah, the more you tease, the more excited people are going to get, even if they have no idea what you're doing. Actually, it's kind of fun sometimes when they have no idea what you're doing, what the end thing is. They don't know what that is, but you're teasing all of these ideas, they get really excited about it.

Krista:
Yeah, they're hanging on your every word. So when you do finally promote it, boom, you've got people excited to sign up. I think that's such a huge benefit of doing that early and not just waiting until the promo period. People are excited and ready and waiting and asking each other about it and it's good stuff.

Abby Herman:
Mm-hmm (affirmative). Yes.

Krista:
Okay, one more thing you said that I wanted to break down a little bit was that swipe copy for speakers. I think that's so important to have, as many resources as you can for speakers. I think some people may be worried that, if I give them this copy paste script, what if everyone gets the same email on day one of promotion? It's like, okay, what if that happens? But also, what if nobody promotes?

Krista:
Because if I'm a part of something and I have to write an email or social media post from scratch, it might not happen. But if I could say, "Hey, lovely VA, here's this copy that someone wrote for me, will you schedule this? Great." So I don't know, it's just much better to have people seeing a message multiple times than not seeing anything at all.

Using swipe copy for speakers

Abby Herman:
Well, and two things about that. One, is as the summit host, you're gathering many different people, maybe from different industries, maybe they have different audiences, they have different expertise. So not everybody is going to be on everybody's list. If you think about it, and I know email is so important. In fact, I have an episode that came out today about how much more important email marketing is than social media. But people are not always reading their emails.

Abby Herman:
So like you said, if I happen to get the same email from five different people, chances are I'm reading one or two of them, I'm not going to open them all. Depends on what your subject line is, it depends on who you are, if I'm going to open up your email or not. I mean, there's a lot of things that depend on that.

Abby Herman:
The other thing is when you're sending out swipe copy, it's really important to encourage people to make it their own. So you might send me your swipe copy, that helps me, because now I don't have to remind myself, "Okay, when is my presentation going live? What time is it? What day is it?" I don't have to remember any of that, because it's right there in the swipe copy. Plus the swipe copy is in the same ... you do a really great job of organizing everything in Google Drive, so it's right there in the same place. I can copy and paste what I need and then I can tweak it to make it sound like me. I don't always do that, because sometimes I'm a little lazy, but if the option is there. I think it's important to encourage people to be able to do that.

Krista:
Yeah, I totally agree. I love all of these different tips, because they're all different ways to be promoting your summit without feeling like you're sitting and hitting people over the head with hard promotion. You're just getting them excited in all kinds of different ways that are actually adding value and not hard promotion, so I love that.

Krista:
I want to ask if you think there's anything specific we can be doing during this long window, maybe after we announce that a summit is coming, to keep people engaged through that time and make sure they're not excited about it. But then a month later, they're like, "Eh, don't care about that thing anymore."

How to keep people engaged throughout the promo period

Abby Herman:
So during this 90 day promotional time, you mean?

Krista:
Yeah.

Abby Herman:
So I think just getting people to interact with one another. If you have a Facebook group from a previous summit or if you have a Facebook group, doesn't necessarily have to be from a previous summit. I think getting people engaged there is really important, asking questions to get people to reply to you. Maybe do some surveys of your audience members, either in Facebook, on Instagram Stories or even just asking questions in an Instagram post. Ask questions about what they're looking for in a summit or something that would be really valuable to them.

Abby Herman:
Give them some input and whether you take action on that information ... I think that it's important to take action as much as you can. You won't be able to take action on all of it, because you've got your whole program planned already. But maybe you can take action on some of it to show your audience and just show the attendees that you really do care and that you're delivering what they want, because we just want to be heard, right?

Krista:
Yes, and I love that that's what your answer was. I didn't know what direction you would go, but I loved that interaction and community are what you mentioned. Because I think everyone, if this is the first summit, will be surprised to see how much those attendees just want community. Yeah, maybe initially they come for the presentations, but once they get in there, they stay for the community.

Krista:
That has been the most powerful thing for me. That's why I'm so fired up after every single summit I host, because that community aspect surprises me every single time. The connections people make, how much more progress they make, how much more fun they have, just because they can share it with other people. I think that's something that's really overlooked a lot with summits. So I love that you brought that up, because, yeah, I can totally keep people excited for a whole lot longer than social media or emails.

Krista:
So, so much good stuff today. What is your biggest takeaway you want everyone to get from what we've talked about?

Your Biggest Takeaway

Abby Herman:
It's a lot of work and that's okay, but you need to start early. So starting early with the promotion, getting people excited about it is so important. One of the things that has held me back from doing a summit is it's a lot of work. So yeah, you really do need to start early, be organized, so that you don't burn out. I think the more pre-work you do, the more you can get, as a host, the more you can get the promotion and the backend work done ahead of time, the more energy you're going to have during the actual summit. Because, I mean, this is like a launch, right? You're launching this thing and it's a week long launch of so much energy and excitement and so much stuff going on, so plan ahead.

Krista:
I hope everyone's listening. They don't all listen to me, but my hope is that every guest that comes on and also tells them to not try to do it in a month, just increases the chance that they'll listen. So thanks.

Abby Herman:
You're welcome.

Krista:
Where can people go to learn more about you and all you have to offer?

Abby Herman:
So I am at abbymherman.com, that's my website. My Instagram is @AbbyMHerman. Then I also have a new thing that I am, as we're talking right now, it is not a thing yet, but it will be by the time this episode goes out. So I'm creating my own community, it's called Content Mastery Lab and it's a membership community for people who need help figuring out their content. So their content strategy, how to create the content, what to create and where.

Abby Herman:
I'll have masterclasses each month, I'll have live Q&A sessions, life master classes and some recorded lessons as well. But basically I'm taking all of the stuff that I've created over the many years of my business and putting them into one place, and then continually adding to that to help really meet people where they are right now. So that's contentmasterylab.com, is where that will live.

Krista:
Love it. That sounds incredible. I'll link to all that in the show notes and thank you so much for being on today, Abby.

Abby Herman:
Yes, thank you for having me.

Krista:
I hope you loved this episode with Abby. I don't know about you, but I have got a pretty decent page of notes sitting here with all kinds of great ideas for promoting the summit, really before the official promotion starts. I love how these ideas are shaped in a way that you're promoting without feeling like you're promoting or without really feeling like you are just pitching people constantly for months. You're adding value, you're getting them interested in your topic, spreading the word through your speakers. So much good stuff. My action step for you today is to really just sit down and make a plan for what you want to do to promote before your summit begins, based on what Abby talked with us about today.

Krista:
But thank you so much tuning in for this episode. Now go out and take action to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit.

 

About Abby

Abby‌ ‌Herman‌ ‌is‌ ‌a‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategist‌ ‌and‌ ‌consultant‌ ‌for‌ ‌service-based‌ ‌business‌ ‌owners‌ ‌who‌ ‌want‌ ‌to‌ ‌gain‌ ‌visibility‌ ‌for‌ ‌their‌ ‌businesses‌ ‌with‌ ‌personalized‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategies‌ ‌and‌ ‌implementation.‌ ‌She‌ ‌specializes‌ ‌in‌ ‌idea‌ ‌generation‌ ‌and‌ ‌content‌ ‌strategy‌ ‌and‌ ‌delivery‌ ‌so‌ ‌her‌ ‌clients‌ ‌can‌ ‌keep‌ ‌on‌ ‌doing‌ ‌what‌ ‌they‌ ‌love‌ ‌in‌ ‌their‌ ‌businesses,‌ ‌making‌ ‌the‌ ‌marketing‌ ‌piece‌ ‌feel‌ ‌easy.‌ ‌She‌ ‌also‌ ‌creates‌ ‌courses‌ ‌to‌ ‌help‌ ‌newer‌ ‌business‌ ‌owners‌ ‌DIY‌ ‌their‌ ‌content‌ ‌marketing,‌ ‌because‌ ‌she‌ ‌knows‌ ‌from‌ ‌experience‌ ‌that‌ ‌there’s‌ ‌nothing‌ ‌more‌ ‌frustrating‌ ‌than‌ ‌not‌ ‌knowing‌ ‌where‌ ‌to‌ ‌start.

Content to Ka-Ching | Abby's Instagram

 

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