I don’t know about you, but I love to attend conferences. There are many reasons why but here is my top three:
- Personal Brand
- Personal Brand
Conferences are not only excellent opportunities to learn, but also to build your personal brand. Last week, I had the opportunity to present with Veronica Steele how higher education institutions can build social media strategies with their limited resources. A tall order for some since most enrollment and higher ed professionals in the room were the only resource dedicated to maintain social media strategy and tactics. I’ll share a tip with you. The best way to get the most out of your social media efforts is to have a plan and strategy tied to you tactics. We shared the best way to do this on a shoestring and you can check it out too.
While at the conference, I had a few folks ask how I landed the opportunity to present. Was I a social media guru? While I don’t think there are truly social media experts, I do believe there are folks who are in the trenches everyday learning and building amazing programs. This is why I push to present how someone, like me, doesn’t need to be at a Fortune 100 company to do social media well.
But, I bet you have something too to share. So, how can you build your brand to present at a conference or the next association’s event?
1) Brand Your Social Networks.
What story is your LinkedIn profile telling? First and foremost, your social networks should tell a consistent and cohesive story of who you are and what you are about. If you are passionate about Excel, awesome! Then you LinkedIn should share something about your Excel experience and perhaps your Twitter account shares nuggets how to use it better. Build a story so folks come to know who you are.
2) Build your Authority.
Blogs are a great way to express your knowledge on a topic and build trust with your audience. Hubspot wrote a post on 11 ways to use content to build authority. Everyone has something to share. Start writing down your ideas in a notebook or use Evernote. Here is how I maintain my social media authority through blogging.
3) Don’t Wait for Your Boss
I think many folks wait for their boss, coworkers to validate their expertise. Stop waiting for your boss to say you are the expert. There are very few bosses out there looking to develop their team beyond their current job role. Look for ways to build your personal brand through extracurricular activities such as associations and volunteering. I love to teach about social media whether it is talking to college students how to marketing their innate social skills or speaking with colleagues how to use social media better. Regardless of how big or small, I am always up to share and teach what I know.
4) Find Industry Champions
Find industry allies who know you and what kind of work you do. These influencers will be a great help and will sometimes refer you for other events and conferences to present. Keep in touch with these folks quarterly or at least annually. For me, I tend to share new articles I have written and ask for feedback on projects. You may have something different to share. Whatever it is make sure to always be connecting.
5) The ABCs of Conferences: Always Be Connecting
Just because you are an attendee at a conference doesn’t mean you cannot be next year’s speaker. Whatever your industry is, find out how speakers get selected. Whether it is through professional services or marketing, find the decision makers for the conference content and make friends. Conference planners want to know if you are a good speaker so make sure to share your previous work through Slideshare or a blog. I tend to share pervious conference evaluations on my presentations, so if you have those share ‘em. Remember the conference planner job is to make the conference amazing so help her out by showing how awesome of a presenter you are.
6) Find Internal Opportunities to Present
In order to show you have good presentation skills to the conference planners, you need content to share with them. Create workshops or seminars for your own team or company. Start with your internal stakeholders to see if you have a topic that would be interesting to sales or account teams. Host an internal personal development seminar. Leaders are always looking for professional development opportunities and at a low cost. I wrote how I did my social media training DIY and turned that into an article, which then in turned into a speaking opportunity.
7) Stop Waiting for your Aha Moment
If you are like most people, you are waiting for some earth-shattering event to occur so that it can be your sign to get moving. Stop procrastinating. Personal branding takes time so the sooner you start the better.
8) Create Some Content
You heard content is king, but what does that mean? Anna Famery’s summary shared “If there is no content worth reading or seeing on the site, than people won’t go.” How do you fuel the content machine? Jot down different topics to discuss on your blog. Here is a list to get you started:
- Industry trends
- Best practices
- Top Ten lists
- Case Studies
- Personal Observations
- How To’s
- Work Funny Ha Ha’s
Bonus: Connect with other like minded professionals. You never know what contacts could lead to your next conference presentation.
Everyone has something to share, what will you write or present about?
Rachel DiCaro Metscher, director of advocacy and communications for Hobsons, has worked with many organizations to build their communications and marketing programs, including Fannie Mae, American Psychological Association, and The Princeton Review. Currently, Rachel is responsible for Hobsons’ external communication programs, which include public relations, brand, website, and social media.