The Problem With Requiring Speaker Promotion + How To Do It Right

There is a major problem with how some summits hosts have gone about requiring speakers to promote their event. But when you see someone doing something a certain way, I know it's second nature to do it similarly yourself.

So today we're going to break down what these issues are and how to fix them so you can create an incredible speaker experience for your next virtual summit.

Why This Is An Important Topic

You work hard to grow your email list.

The people on your list are the ones that buy from you and you need to protect them. You spend time and money growing your email list. These are your people; your #1 fans!   

Growing an engaged list is not an easy thing to do! 

On the flip side of that, there are virtual summit pitches going out that require a certain amount of promotion, and certain types of promotion. Now, all of a sudden, someone you've never heard of wants to come and get in front of your audience for free and tell you how they're going to do it. 

You can hear more of what Ashlyn Carter, who inspired this conversation, has to say about this in Episode 99 of the Speak to Scale podcast.

The Problem With Requiring Speaker Promotion

When you require promotion from a speaker in specific types and quantities, you run into some questions that they will ask themselves, consciously or sub-consciously.

  1. Is this more promotion than I would do for my own offer?
  2. How good is the summit actually going to be?

You might be asking someone to promote more than they actually would for their own products or offers.

For example, for a recent summit I was pitched for, the host wanted us to send 4 emails before the event, 1 during, and one after. And I would barely be willing to send that many emails if it were my own summit. 

Keep in mind that your style of promotion may not align with your speaker's style.

Your style may be to send a straight pitch email, while the speaker prefers to include more value-add. Asking them to send something specific will decrease the likelihood that they're willing to send it and that their audience will even respond well, if they do send it.

The Wrong Way To Require Speaker Promotion

If you are new to summits and don't have relationships with your speakers, you shouldn't require promotion.

That doesn't mean your speakers won't promote, it just means you don't necessarily require it from them and they can base the action they take on their comfort levels.

If you can't promise them anything, you shouldn't make them promise you anything.

The Right Way To Require Speaker Promotion

Now, on the other hand, I know you've put in a ton of hours to create an incredible event. If no one promotes it, no one will benefit from it. That includes both you and your speakers.

So the right promotion can benefit everyone!

If you've hosted this summit before and have a connection with your speakers, I do recommend requiring a little promotion from your speakers. Especially if you can show them how dedicated you are to giving their audience an incredible experience.

If you require promotion, keep this in mind:

  • Don't require more than 1 piece of promotion per platform.
  • Make your speakers want to promote - don't force them.
  • Allow your speakers to segment their subscribers, rather than requiring that they send it to everyone.
  • Don't make them send a straight promo - allow value-add with a promotion included.
  • Provide both straight-pitch and value-add swipe copy for them to use.
  • Let them choose where to promote based on their knowledge of their audience.
  • Offer to promote for them; be introduced as a guest and promote your own summit either to their list or on their main social media platform(s).

What if a speaker says they can't or won't promote?

In case a speaker decides that they can't or aren't willing to promote, know how you'll respond to this in advance.

For example, if someone has a launch going on or is a part of another even that they've already promised to promote, it can still be a great fit for everyone. Especially if you did your part in pitching the right speakers.

However, if someone comes back and says that they simply aren't willing to promote or that they "don't promote summits", you might decide that they're not the best fit, as they clearly have a bit of a disconnect with the mission and aren't up for being a team player.

Either way is your call, but know what you'll say ahead of time.

The Bottom Line

No matter what you do, make sure your speakers can benefit from participating and promoting. Make it fun for them. Make them want to promote, don't force them. When they're excited and seeing something come from it (aka affiliate commission notifications), they will do the work.

It's okay to have a small sharing requirement for your summit, but you need to do it the right way. Make the requirement small, easy, and make it feel good. 

When you do those things, and people see a return, they'll continue to share! 

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