I receive at least five or six emails, tweets, or Facebook inquiries each day asking when BlogWorld will be accepting speaker proposals for our 2011 event. The truth is, we’re still firming up dates and the location and once we have that in place, we’ll be better equipped to open up for speaker proposals. That you’re already enthusiastic, makes us even more enthusiastic and inspires us to set the bar even higher for next year! However, just because we’re not ready for your proposal, doesn’t mean you can’t start working on it ahead of time. We get kind of bummed when we receive proposals on the last day before deadline and they were obviously written up in five minutes. When you take the time to send in a well-written, proofread, engaging and intriguing proposal, it shows and puts you in our good graces. Hastily written proposals might end up in the denial pile.
Giving you what you want!
We’re often asked for tips for our potential speakers, especially those who are too shy to submit a proposal or from those whose proposals were denied in the past. Thus, a new series is born. I’m going to come by here on a regular basis to offer our best tips for speakers – especially those of you wishing to submit a killer proposal, or haven’t been successful before. You see, at BlogWorld it’s not necessarily about having the same big names speak each year. We especially enjoy featuring the space’s up and comers. There’s nothing we like more than introducing a new speaker and watching that person skyrocket to fame as a result of a super talk.
I’m also going to do my best to get other members of the BlogWorld team to come by here with their best tips for speakers and speaker proposals. They’ve been doing this longer than me and have plenty of insight. Also, if you’re someone who speaks at events and would like to write a guest post featuring tips for writing speaker proposals or tips for new speakers, feel free to contact Nikki Katz, our Managing Editor at Nikki@blogworldexpo.com
Today’s Tip: Follow Directions
The simplest things are the ones that trip us up every time. In 2010, many speakers weren’t selected because they didn’t complete the online form. It wasn’t that we were being nitpicky, either. When we don’t have all the details, we simply can’t make a decision. Some folks didn’t even put in contact details. Some folks, only submitted a proposal without anything else filled out. You might think that some of the items we requested weren’t necessary as long as we have your proposal and contact details, but maybe if I explain why it’s ALL necessary, you’ll be more likely to take the time to check every box and type in all information.
Everything on the speaker proposal form is there for a reason. For example, your first step is in checking off the boxes in the speaker agreement. Without the speaker agreement, you can’t speak. Period. In addition to agreeing to our terms, it also means you’re granting us permission to use your image, video and audio in our content including blog posts and the virtual conference.
It seems pretty basic, but we need your contact details to, well, contact you. Without your email address we have no way of knowing how to tell you your proposal was approved or denied. Also, we ask for your phone number and email in case we require more information. Plus, having your cell phone number is handy in case we can’t find you at BlogWorld and we need to get in touch.
Bio and Social Media
There are several criteria for accepting speakers. Not only do you have to be able to speak well, teach and engage. But we also want to be sure you’re going to fill a room. Your bio and social media accounts tell us what we need to know about you. Sometimes, if we don’t know a potential speaker, we’ll give him a Google to see what kind of following he has, or if he has any videos out. We comb through a lot of YouTubes to see what kind of speakers you are. We want to see your blogs and websites to be sure you know what you’re talking about and also want to know if you’ve done this before. Not having experience isn’t a deal breaker at all, but it does help to know you’ve done this before.
Proposal and Takeaways
Filling out your speaker proposal requires brevity. We ask for a certain amount of characters, enough for a quick paragraph or two. This proposal has to cover what you’ll be talking about while allowing your personality to shine through. You see, if you offer a boring, no nonsense, no personality proposal, we’ll assume you’re a no personality speaker.Try not to submit a topic 100 other people are going to submit. Be unique enough that we’ll be intrigued, but not so nichey that only a few people will show up. Think about the topics you would like to see and propose them. Also, please don’t submit more than two or three proposals, too many make us feel as if you’re unfocused. Stick to one to three topics within your realm of expertise. Keep in mind that we’re looking for topics for all levels, but we would absolutely love to see some advanced topics for the social media professionals who are at the top of their field and still looking to learn.
Don’t overlook your takeaways, either. We ask for takeaways because we want to be sure you know that your attendees are to walk away with something tangible. They’re to leave your sessions armed to take action. By listing two or three solid takeaways, you’re upping your own ante and catching our attention.
It’s all there for a reason
I know there’s a lot of information to fill out, but it’s all there for a reason. For example, in the month before BlogWorld, it’s difficult to put together a speaker roster without all your information. If we don’t have the information it means we’re spending our time hunting you down asking for your bio or Twitter handle. This took us weeks to complete last time around. Plus, if you’re chosen, we want to be able to help promote your sessions. If you don’t give us your Twitter handle, we can’t Tweet. If you don’t give us your blog address, we can’t link to you.
In the upcoming weeks well get into more detail about what we look for specifically in speakers or panelists. For now, I can tell you that my biggest tip is to take your speaker proposal form seriously, fill out all the information and don’t rush through it.
Trust me, we notice.