Pitching speakers can bring up a lot of uncertainty. Will they say yes? What will they think of me and my summit?
The truth is, pitching is a whole lot easier when you've taken a little time to make connections first.
So in this episode, we'll cover why I recommend making connections before pitching, whether you really have to do it, and a simple strategy for creating those connections.
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 your summit speakers. Today in episode 17 we're breaking that down to chat about how to connect with potential speakers. We're going to cover why I recommend making a connection and whether or not you have to do it and my insanely simple strategy for making it happen.
Like with anything, planning and hosting an online summit is a whole lot more fun when you're surrounded by other people who get it. For a community of other summit hosts who can be alongside you to celebrate wins, share advice, and offer support, join us inside the free Summit Host Hangout Facebook group. This is also a great place to look for or get recommendations on potential speakers to reach out to. Head over to summithosthangout.com/community, and I can not wait to see you inside.
Let's start with why I recommend making a connection before pitching. And it might not be quite the reason you're expected, although that's definitely included. First and foremost, if you have a connection with somebody before pitching, you are going to be so much more confident and comfortable making your pitches. I will tell you from experience, it's no fun sending out a whole bunch of emails and kind of feeling uncomfortable about them all. Having a connection with the people you're pitching makes it insanely easier, so much easier when you have a connection with these people.
When you have a connection, you also know that you're not being ignored or turned down just because someone doesn't realize how much you know and the value you offer and are trying to offer. You'll get good reasons if someone does say no if they already know you rather than just getting ignored or hearing a no for really no reason. But all in all, having these connections will increase the percentage of "yes" answers you hear back from the people you pitch. All of those things together just make it so worth it to take a little bit of time to make connections.
For me personally, I really do it just so I feel more confident and comfortable in my pitches. But you know, it's always a bonus to hear "yes" a lot more often.
For those of you saying, you know, I don't have time to do this, I don't really want to make connections. I don't care. I don't mind sending cold pitches. Do you have to make connections before pitching? Absolutely not. You don't have to. If you're comfortable with cold pitches, by all means, go for it. I would recommend including a video within your pitch to help make that connection and help them see you're a real person, but just know that you will get more no's than you would if you spent a couple of weeks just making some casual connections. You don't have to make connections first, but it's definitely beneficial to do so if it's not something that will take too much of your time or just kind of annoys you in general.
Let's talk about my simple strategy for making connections. This is not rocket science. This is not difficult, but I know most of you listening need permission for it to be this easy so I'm going to give it to you. You're going to start with making a list of the speakers you want to pitch and maybe you already have that, but you can make your own spreadsheet or jump into the Summit Host Vault to get my speaker tracking spreadsheet. There's a whole lot of good stuff that goes into that spreadsheet, so you can check that out at summitinabox.com/vault and get the exact spreadsheet I use to manage and track my speakers.
But in that list, you create a link to a social media platform that they're active on that you use as well. For most of the people I end up connecting with, that's Instagram. For you, it might be something totally different, so you'll just have to kind of tweak the strategy to fit whatever platform ends up being. After I do that, I add a recurring task to my calendar. It goes off twice per week to go on Instagram, or your a platform of choice,, and make a simple connection twice a week. That's all it is and I mean simple. When I say simple connection, I really do mean simple. It's things like commenting on one of their posts, responding to one Instagram story or sharing one of their most recent posts in your stories.
One of those things is all you need to do and you don't have to do it for every single person you want to pitch every single time that recurring task shows up in your calendar, but go through and do as many as you can. It's not going to take more than a minute per person and you're making a great connection even though it is simple and when they do comment back to say thank you start a casual conversation if it does come naturally. If it doesn't, that's totally fine. You can do the same thing a few days later or a week later and all you have to do is do this for two to four weeks. The goal is not to like make you your new best friends, but it's simply to make sure that they know who you are when you do pitch them.
Because I want you to think about it from a different standpoint. Think about what happens or your initial response to reading an email from someone you don't know anything about versus someone you're even slightly acquainted with like it's a much different experience, and you're in a much different mindset when you are being pitched by someone you already know or someone you're at least familiar with. And we want to at least get that acquaintance reaction when we're pitching our speakers, right?
Connecting with these speakers does not have to be difficult. All you have to do is make a few casual and natural connections over the course of a couple of weeks. And even though it's really easy and maybe even overly simplistic, it's good to make your pitchers so much more successful and that just makes it so worth it to do so.
I have a few action steps for you today. First I want you to create you that speaker tracking spreadsheet with the list of your potential speakers if you haven't yet and link to those people's profiles so you can jump in there and click over to them really easily.
Then jump in Asana or a Trello or whatever you use to manage your own tasks and add a two times per week reminder to go ahead and make those connections.
Thank you so much for tuning in. I hope this helped you see how easy it can be and beneficial it can be to connect with potential speakers before pitching them. The next episode we're going to chat with Nicole Beiner about inclusion and diversity in online summits. And this is such an important topic that I really want everyone to consider when creating their speaker lineup. Be sure to tune in for that. Now go take action the plan and strategize and launch your profitable online summit.
Like with anything at planning and hosting an online summit is a whole lot more fun when you're surrounded by other people who get it. For a community of other summit hosts who can be alongside you to celebrate wins, share advice, offer support, and maybe even be your summit speakers. Join us inside the free Summit Host Hangout Facebook group at summithosthangout.com/community, and I cannot wait to see you inside.
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