by Carol Sankar
Leadership advisor and founder of The Confidence Factor for Women, as seen on TEDx, SXSW, Forbes, CNN, The Steve Harvey Show
Writing has always been one of my favorite hobbies. When I was a teenager, I used to go to the bookstore and imagine my name on the spine of one of the featured best-selling books in the front of the store. Although writing a book appeared to be an overwhelming task, I knew it would become one of my life and career goals to create a literary work that would contribute to my personal legacy.
My literary journey started with blogs and articles. In the early stages of my career, I treated it like a hobby. Today, I find inspiration in strange places or from conversations with friends and family. My mission is to bring awareness to the issue of gender inequality in C-level professions. I must say that the past four years of my life have been a whirlwind of travel, consulting and speaking to elite organizations around the world on various issues surrounding gender inclusion.
I was in shock when I was called to give my first TED Talk and several others, simply by writing. Although there are a ton of articles, books and videos that teach you "how to get paid to speak," many which I have read myself, my own experience has been much different. The days of sending pitches and publicity stunts have not worked well for my business model. Instead, my passion for writing has been my gateway to the stage. One of the most overlooked elements of getting booked and paid for your message is in your ability to memorialize your expertise in blogs, articles, editorial pieces and contributions for leading platforms. I had published thousands of articles until I found a system that created value. Here are seven ways to get booked to speak and increase your credibility as an expert. 1. Write often. Credible sources need to view several professional ranges of your expertise in your own authentic professional voice. Feature a broad range of your work consistently. 2. Make sure you solve a problem in your writing. You must prove that you are an expert in your field with a unique solution to its problems. Create a few "how-to" pieces of content that demonstrate your simple solutions. Readers require simplicity to keep their attention.
3. Provide a short bio in every article publication. Many writers are so passionate about writing, they forget to add a short professional biography, which allows the reader to authenticate the author. Create a call to action, as well. Keep it sweet and simple. It also allows meeting planners to begin gathering research about you.
4. Feed your articles and blogs to the market. A crucial mistake speakers and authors make is believing someone will "find" their work without feeding it to the market. Unlike marketing to the masses, feeding your articles and blogs to the market requires you to forward your finished work to meeting planners and professional organizations where you would like to be featured as a speaker -- not just to your base of support. Remember, the market is flooded, and you must ensure others subscribe to your message.
5. Become a contributor on high-level platforms. Publishing your content on your personal blog is wonderful, but well-paid speakers are expected to be contributors and content writers for larger platforms. Connect with other well-known contributors to learn how the platforms are working for their speaking business as well. Remember, reputable platforms matter.
6. Create a theme for your content. All of my content features the title of my movement, The Confidence Factor for Women. It provides consistency for meeting planners who may be seeking a presentation on confidence, women, gender or leadership. Create a theme that you will be known for, not just random content to gain popularity.
7. Become a resource for other writers. There is power in being quoted by other great writers and thought leaders that can lead to lucrative speaking opportunities due to the honorable mention. These stories will captivate an audience by giving them a look at how your expertise and experience is shaping other leaders.
With the immediacy of streaming content, many speakers are getting lost in the market of creating value for live audiences on premium-level stages. However, there is an untapped market that many writers, bloggers and enthusiasts can take to gain the notoriety of executive meeting planners, companies and organizations who may want to book a speaker with your background. Never underestimate the power of memorializing your message in writing.