Building Your Brand By Speaking (Christine Gritmon)

Christine Gritmon


Quick—think of someone in your industry with a “strong personal brand.”

In all likelihood, this person is appearing on stages (both live and virtual, including things like podcasts and live streams) to share their expertise—and, of course, to build their brand even further.

These brand-building speaking opportunities tend to be self-perpetuating, snowballing as you speak more and more places and build more and more brand recognition as an expert who people actually want to listen to.

So, how can you maximize speaking opportunities for yourself as a way to build your own personal brand? Read on.

Before the event

Make sure your topic is on brand

Don’t fall into the mistake of focusing on what the organizer wants first and what you want to be known for second. Not all exposure is created equal, and speaking on topics you do not wish to be known for doesn’t help you build your brand. It’s great to take your audience and the event’s needs into account, but find a way to make that work with what you want to build thought leadership on.

Be easy to promote

Do you have a current professional headshot (ideally a few different options), a professional bio, and a list of profile links handy someplace that’s easy to cut and paste?
Make sure that headshot actually looks like you, by the way, and that your bio puts what you’re interested in right now front and center. Outdated pictures make you difficult to connect with at the event itself, and outdated information can give people the wrong impression on what they need to know you for.

Make sure your profiles are prepped for being found

Make sure your name and/or company are phrased in the same way everywhere, or are at least easy to connect to each other (I, for example, am Christine Gritmon, Christine Gritmon Inc., and gritmon.com, yet a quick glance shows that you are very obviously reaching the same person). Your headshots on your social media profiles should be recognizably the same person as in speaker promotions, your headlines should relate to the same niche you’re speaking about, and you can even mention the upcoming events you’re speaking at in your bios, just so it’s super clear people are in the right place when they find you.

Pre-network

The event hashtag is usually in play long before the event itself, so click on it and become part of the pre-event chatter. You can also make sure to network in advance directly with the event organizers, other speakers, attendees, and even sponsors! Build these relationships in advance so that the event itself is a deeper connection point rather than a first impression.

Promote, promote, promote

Part of the point of public speaking is that it raises your profile as an expert—but it can’t do that if you keep your speaking gigs a secret! Let people know where and when you’ll be speaking, and on what. If it’s a public event, let them know how they can attend. If the organizer has given you branded graphics, use them. For bonus points, you can also promote the general event itself, the organizers, your fellow speakers, and the sponsors! It’s a great way to make it clear you’re not all about yourself, while also making yourself look good.

During the event

Look the part

I’ve already mentioned that you should be recognizable from your headshots. But also make sure you present the same vibe as your overall brand impression. If your online presence is super casual and you show up on stage in a suit, you may look “professional,” but you won’t necessarily look like you. Take the event, audience, and venue into account, certainly, but overall you should present yourself in person the way you present yourself in your materials.

Whose presentation is this, anyway?

Of course, your slides should match your existing visual branding—but you also need to match your brand voice. Think of the feelings your brand conveys, and be sure that your presentation (including your personal delivery) conveys those same feelings to your audience. This is an opportunity for an immersive brand experience; make sure you’re presenting a living embodiment of the brand they’ve hopefully already come to know and love, and will want more of!

How to contact you

Make sure people can find you beyond this presentation! Some presenters have their name, logo, Twitter handle, etc. at the bottom of every slide. Some just put it at the beginning and the end. Whatever you do, make sure people can find you!
Bonus: Set up a custom landing page for attendees of that specific event to connect with you.
Double bonus: Create a QR code that leads to that custom landing page. You can use this code in your presentation, on materials, or even as the lock screen on your phone for impromptu conversations!

Check out other speakers on similar topics

This isn’t just a matter of “keeping tabs on the competition” (though if you want to stand out with value, it’s helpful to know what else is out there). It’s also a great source of like-minded allies, co-creators, referral sources—and, above all, LEARNING! You do not know everything, not even in your niche; never be too proud to potentially learn something valuable from someone else in your field.

After the event

Make collaborations happen

Events are a fantastic way to find guests for your own show or podcast, people whose shows and podcasts you can guest on, people whose events you can speak at, etc.—make sure to follow up on any future opportunity to emphasize that you are THE person on your topic!

Share content afterwards

Share UGC of things people in the audience may have shared from your talk. Turn your presentation into a blog post. Share video clips from your talk. Do whatever you can to ensure that “rich content” opportunity on stage lives on and continues to serve you beyond that one moment in that one room.


Christine Gritmon @christine
I think you’re a rockstar.
Yes, YOU!
Let me know what lights you up—I want to hear YOUR stories (and to have you write for Social Media Pulse!) :heart:


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How do you maximize your speaking events to help build your brand?

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