Many summit hosts struggle to get speakers to deliver their content on time. But it doesn't have to be complicated!
In this episode, we'll cover how to get speakers to deliver their information and presentations on time and how to make it easy.
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 kicking off a new series about encouraging speakers to participate and cooperate with your process.
Today in episode 67 we're breaking that down to chat about how to get your summit speakers to deliver their content to you on time and how to make it easy. We're going to cover why you need to prepare for this in advance, the type of content you need to collect from your speakers, the best way to collect that content and automating the followup process to make it all easy, getting content from your speakers on time can make or break your summit's timeline and giving yourself the right amount of time to plan and launch.
Your summit is vital to create any successful event rather than one that looks thrown together. With my free Virtual Summit Prep Timeline, you can see the amount of time I recommend setting aside for a summit, my top tips, a look at the big picture tasks and even a timeline calculator to make sure you plan everything right the first time. You can get this resource by going to summithosthangout.com/timeline.
Let's start by talking about why you need to prepare to collect your speaker content in advance. This process is where most of the communication with your speakers will come from - getting the things you need from them. This will decide the type of experience they have from your summit and how they talk about it in the future. I've had several speakers up to this point tell me that they will only be a part of my summit and summits I host because every other one they've been a part of either has not led to any benefits for them or the process is a mess. I do not want that to be you. I don't want people talking about your summits or any summits that way. That's why it's so important to plan for this in advance and have a plan going in that will be nice and easy for everybody.
Before we talk about that process, let's go over the type of content you need to collect from your speakers. I break this into three categories and two separate requests. So let's talk about the categories first. The first category is their basic information. This is the basic info about them that you need for your website. So their name, their website address, their bio, their headshot, and their presentation title they're planning for. That's what you need to have on your website to have it ready for registration to begin.
The second category is their presentation material. So their video, any resources that you want with that, whether it's slides or worksheets, something else, any extra promotional information. Like what did they promote at the end of the presentation, you want to know what that is and get links for that.
Then the third category is any extras or bonuses. If you are having them contribute bonuses to your all-access pass, you need the information about that, including the name of it, a description, the value, a mock-up for it, how people can access it. If you're asking speakers to give you something to give away, like a giveaway item, you need the same information for that.
Like I said, the three categories, but I break them up into two separate requests with two separate due dates.
The first request I asked for is their basic information. All I need from them right when they sign on is this basic information. Their name, bio, website, address, your image, all that really simple stuff. The second request I send them after they fill out that first one is for their presentation material and any extra information I need, both of these actually have a spot for them to upload their bonus information, and I take it out of the second one if they provide it in the first.
Why do I break it up into two separate requests? It is really helpful to have the information I need for the website as soon as possible. If I can get it within a couple of days and have the registration page ready way before I need it. That is awesome. So that's one reason that I send that basic info request separately. I also don't need the presentations much before the promotion period. I do ask for presentations a couple of days before I start promoting, but I don't need that until much closer. Whereas if I didn't have their headshot and planned presentation title, that would be stressful waiting for that a day before you're supposed to open for registration. It's also more manageable for your speakers to have a broken up like this. Asking them for everything you need all at once will lead them to being overwhelmed. So you know, get what you can right away. The rest can wait until after they have their presentations made.
We know what information we need from our speakers. Let's talk about the best way to collect that information. First things first. Absolutely anything is better than email. Anything is better than emailing them and asking them to send it through email. Give them some kind of form they can fill out with that information. Even if it's a Google Doc where you just write out, I need this, this, this and this, and they can fill in the blanks. It's not what I recommend, but that's even better than email.
I do have two main recommendations, and I'm going to leave the best one for last. So the first one is Airtable. Airtable is really cool because you can create a table for all of your speaker information. Each columnis a different thing, like their presentation title, their website address, all that good stuff. And you can have a form that they fill out that feeds into that table. So when they fill out the form with their information, it's automatically added into that table, which you can reference and see really easily. It's easy for them to fill it out. It's easy for you to manage their submissions.
The downside of this though, even though that part is great, is that you have to manually follow up with them then. And that might not sound too bad. You're like whatever. And maybe I follow up with my clients all the time, but let's say you have a smaller summit with 20 speakers. Two weeks out from the due date, you decide to send a reminder so you have to write up that email at that time. You BCC everyone on and then you go through and double check that you are not going to be reminding someone who did submit. You also need to then manually double check that all the submissions you've got like are accurate and completely filled out and you don't need to ask someone to change something.
Same thing again, maybe you wanted to send another email reminder five days later, but again you have to go sort through that. They have to go through that entire process every single time. Checking that you're only sending the email to people who need it. Double checking that all the information is right. Same thing the day before or the day of or the day after the due date. Every time you have to send a reminder it's you going in there and manually doing all of this stuff and each time it gets more and more messy. It also takes you away from other summit tasks you need to be doing, and it stresses you out by forcing you to look at all of the content you still need because people will be late, so that's like the downside of Airtable. I know I sounded a little sassy there. I do love Airtable, but I hate manual follow ups.
That leads me to my top recommendation for collecting speaker content, which is by using Content Snare. With Content Snare, I swear it's like the heavens opened up and dropped down a tool to make our summit hosting lives easier.
With Content Snare, you make a form just like you would Airtable, you make a form that you need your speakers to fill out, one for the basic information and one for the presentation material. When a new speaker responds to you and says, yeah, I'm in, you add their information to Content Snare, you just upload their name and their email address, you set the due date that you need their material by, you assign a template and you hit publish and you're done.
All of the followup is done for you. In Content Snare you'll write a couple of canned responses and set when you want them to go out. So maybe you want to remind that's going to go out two weeks before, five days before, one day before you need it, and one day after you write all those emails of one time ahead of time. And as each of those days rolls around, Content Snare looks at all of your speaker requests who hasn't given you all of the material and it emails those people for you. If someone filled out everything, they don't get emailed. If someone filled out a few fields, but left others blank, they get emailed. If someone hasn't started, they get emailed with these templates you've already done and you don't need to even look at it. It is so dang easy. Like there's no headaches from you going in and looking at all the people who have not sent you things because Content Snare is doing that for you. You could also review your submissions really easily in there and if you're like, Oh I don't like this presentation title, or Oh it looks like they didn't finish putting their bio in here, you can like click one button to reject it and Content Snare you can also set it up to email them automatically for you, which you can write a canned response for.
This is how you do it and make it easy not only for you but for your speakers. But maybe more importantly for you. I swear this isn't just like a big Content Snare promo. That's not why I'm recording this episode, but I seriously cannot imagine running a summit without them. Like I can't imagine it.
The cofounder James was a speaker at a couple of my summits in the past since Content Snare is also a really great tool for brand and web designers. So we get on a call a few weeks back to chat about using it for summits and as of recording this, if you reach out to them via email or their chatbox when you've got a sign up, they'll double the number of requests you can make on your plan if you tell them you're an event host. So right now they have a startup plan which has a limit of 20 requests, which means you could only have 20 speakers without having to upgrade, but they know that most summits have between 20 to 40 so they're willing to double that limit without you having to upgrade to their team plan. So just reach out, let them know you're an event host and they'll do that for you. But seriously, you need Content Snare in your life.
I actually have like step-by-step tutorials, my exact form templates follow up scripts both for Airtable and for Content Snare in my Summit in a Box program. I just think that this speaker process is so, so important no matter what tool you use though like it's just important that you make this process as easy as possible for everybody. This is going to be what makes speakers say they loved being in your summit or never want to do a summit again and yeah, it just needs to be easy.
So your action steps for this episode are to identify which tool you'll use and then to identify what your followup schedule is going to look like. How far in advance are you going to email them reminders, how many reminders are you willing to send? What's that going to look like?
Thank you so much for tuning in to this episode. In the next episode, we'll be chatting about how to encourage speakers to share your summit so be sure to tune in for that.
Giving yourself the right amount of time to plan and launch your summit is vital to creating a successful event rather than one that gets thrown together. With my free Virtual Summit Prep Timeline, you can see the exact amount of time I recommend a setting aside for your summit, my top tips, look at the big picture tasks and even a timeline calculator to make sure you plan everything right the first time. Get the Virtual Summit Prep Timeline by going to summithosthangout.com/timeline.
Now go out and take action to plan, strategize, and launch your profitable online summit.
Learn how much time to set aside for planning and launching your profitable, stress-free online summit and use my calculator to set the due dates for you.