A few days ago, I attended PULSE: The Atlantic Summit on Healthcare. As someone who spends her days working to secure speaking opportunities for thought leaders, I relish any chance to attend conferences and live events. So, with the conference set in my hometown of Boston and several clients confirmed to speak – including Leapfrog Group CEO Leah Binder  and Powering Precision Health Founder Kevin Hrusovsky – I jumped at the opportunity to attend. Drawing hundreds of industry influencers for a lively discussion on the future of healthcare, the day didn’t disappoint and served as yet another critical reminder of the power of live, face-to-face interaction. A conference and speaker program can be a vital thread woven into the brand’s PR strategy. Yet, too often, we find it’s the first initiative to get cut as marketers search for ways to trim budgets or reallocate funds in favor of other important endeavors. But before you come to the same conclusion, consider these reasons why you should be prioritizing speaking opportunities for your executives.

Prioritize Speaking Opportunities:

Maximize Executives’ Time, Build Business

We get it. Your leaders are busy. They can’t be flying to all edges of the earth for what may be a few minutes on stage when they could be “out in the field” interacting with customers and prospects. But that’s just it. Meetings and conferences offer important business building opportunities to connect directly with buyers and those who influence them in places they are already gathering. And chances are your brand executives and subject matter experts are already scheduled to attend or exhibit at industry events throughout the year. Why not invest in maximizing their time – and your company’s financial investment – by getting your executives off the show floor and onto the stage? Being a speaker often opens doors to private events and receptions not available to regular conference attendees. These places present powerful networking opportunities with other speakers that can yield valuable sales leads and business opportunities with potential for tangible value to your organization.

Amplify Media Efforts

Media is – and will always be – an important part of PR strategy (emphasis on part). But with the changing media landscape, it’s important to connect with media and journalists in new ways. Top media organizations like The Atlantic (the outlet that hosted the event I attended), The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, have event divisions that are effectively producing live journalism on stage. The events produced by these types of media organizations offer opportunities for your executives to become part of the stories that unfold on stage, while forging connections with the journalists and editorial teams who are reporting them as session facilitators. Journalists from outside media organizations also may attend or cover these events, giving your brand and its leaders additional opportunities for points of connections and media exposure.

Fuel Thought Leadership and the Content Pipeline

We often hear from clients that they want to build their thought leadership reputation. Speaker programs and thought leadership work hand in hand – putting speakers in direct contact with the key audiences they most want to impact. Conferences are important places to amplify your executives’ voices and ideas and help audiences makes sense of the macro-issues and challenges affecting them. With livestreams and robust social media efforts behind many top conferences, we now have an even bigger opportunity to extend the reach of your executives’ talks well beyond the audience in the room. In addition, video captured from the conference (of the presentation) can provide important assets to leverage in outreach to other conference platforms.

Even in an age when technology has greatly reduced the need for direct contact, people still seek out in-person experiences to build business.Click To TweetIn the end, conferences are all about connections. Even in an age when technology has greatly reduced – even eliminated – the need for direct contact, people still seek out in-person experiences to build business. In fact, in a recent Forbes survey, 84 percent of business executives indicated they preferred in-person events, their reason being that they build stronger, more meaningful relationships, and are key to persuasion (91%) and engagement (86%). How can you afford not to invest in a speaker program for your executives?

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Focusing on placing clients on top speaking platforms and developing relationships with conference planners, Stephanie leverages her insight into industry and business trends to secure high visibility engagements. Her work puts our clients face-to-face with the audiences who matter most, whether in the innovation, healthcare, technology, higher education or mainstream business arenas. When Stephanie isn’t in the office you might find her running around town, training for her next road race or chasing after her son.