Speakerfile’s Expert Visibility Platform
A “Speakers’ Bureau in a Box”
Marketers seeking to leverage the expertise of key executives through speaking engagements and media inter-views take note. A new software platform called Speakerfile makes it easy for event organizers, reporters, and others to identify and begin qualification of subject matter experts. Marketers or the experts themselves simply complete robust profiles which include videos and publications that demonstrate knowledge and speaking skills as well as the expected biographical information and expertise classifications. With all relevant information in one place on the web, you’re prepared to respond quickly to unsolicited requests, and your experts’ profiles start showing up in search engine results.
NETTING IT OUT
Gaining the trust of customers as an expert and thought leader increasingly requires a track record of successfully speaking at relevant conferences and responding to reporters’ inquiries. Speaking enables experts to convey their personality and show enthusiasm for their topic. For the audience, listening can be a more efficient and entertaining use of time than reading. The overwhelming success of video in today’s web communication underscores the importance of verbal communication.
Despite this clear trend, most organizations don’t have basic processes for placing executives in the right speaking opportunities. Many leave efforts to gain visibility to the stop/start and not necessarily on-message efforts of individual employee experts. Such haphazard approaches undermine efforts to build credibility as a trusted resource.
Before now, the task of managing public speaking as a component of an organization’s thought leadership agenda has required a significant amount of time to identify experts, keep qualifications up to date, and continually generate speaking invitations. Many don’t spend the time, so when unsolicited invitations arise, they cannot quickly suggest the right expert and frequently lose their chance to participate.
A new offering by Speakerfile streamlines the task of getting experts noticed. It provides a platform for organizations to assemble qualifications of their experts on the web, where they can be found by search. Marketers can assemble their experts’ profiles under the umbrella of the company brand and thought leadership storyline. The profiles themselves include background information and topical expertise, video and written evidence of speakers’ ability, and a button to contact the expert or the expert’s handler.
Speakerfile’s offering is the first example of a software platform focused on what they term, “Expert Visibility.” We see it as a speakers’ bureau in a box. Take a look yourself at www.speakerfile.com.
MARKETERS NEED TOOLS TO MANAGE AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF CORPORATE REPUTATION
Public Speaking Increasingly Drives Perceptions of Thought Leadership
Regardless of industry, providing valuable content draws customers’ attention and demonstrates alignment with customers’ interests and needs. You can build trust and sustain ongoing relationships by becoming a resource that customers can rely upon for expert advice. And going that one step further—to frame choices facing customers and to point the best way forward—builds a reputation for thought leadership, which in turn, gives companies a perceived advantage in the eyes of their customers.
A track record of successful speaking engagements and media interviews plays an increasingly important role in establishing credibility as a trusted expert or thought leader. Customers seem to increasingly want to absorb information by seeing and hearing, as evidenced by the ever increasing access of online video. Further, trust is based on a perceived relationship, and the personality and individuality of a speaker—whether seen in person or virtually—plays an important role in making a connection.
Marketers Struggle to Capitalize on Speaking Opportunities
Most marketers recognize the impact that experts speaking on the right topics to the right audiences have on customers’ and media perceptions of thought leadership. However, we’ve heard from clients that a concerted effort to use public speaking as a cornerstone of their content marketing strategy takes a disproportional amount of their time and funding. They must identify the experts who can effectively represent the brand, package each of the expert’s qualifications on topics central to the brand’s thought leadership strategy, and then get experts noticed by event organizers and the media. Qualifications can quickly become outdated as corporate messaging changes, expertise deepens, current events create opportunities in niche areas, and the pool of experts changes. New speaking opportunities often send marketers into a frenzy of reactively updating experts’ profiles and availability. But, even then, the attitude is often, “why bother updating qualifications that no one sees?”
So making that concerted effort to identify experts across a company often falls off the marketers’ to-do list. As a result, when marketers receive an unsolicited speaking or media request, they frequently don’t know whom to recommend. And since speed matters when responding to such inquiries, the inability to pinpoint the right expert can lead to lost opportunities. In other instances, marketers keep proposing the same small number of experts for all opportunities, thus constraining customer exposure and media attention by the limited schedules of a handful of individuals.
In an attempt to centralize management of, and effectively capitalize on, speaking opportunities, some companies have developed their own in-house “speakers’ bureaus.” But because the nature of experts and hot topics is always evolving, marketers have a hard time maintaining these manual efforts. They also don’t typically leverage one of the most important ways that event organizers and the media find experts – through web search.
We believe that marketers would clearly benefit from a thoughtful automated solution to the dilemma of identifying and promoting thought leaders that could augment their brand through speaking/video opportunities.
Existing Web Resources Don’t Address the Marketer’s Problem
Traditional “expert finding” resources on the web fall into one of four types:
- Helping reporters find sources (e.g., ProfNet, Expert Click, and ExpertEngine).
- Featuring content that can be traced back to individuals (e.g., Quora, LinkedIn, Slideshare).
- Limiting participation to members (e.g., National Speakers Association).
- Speakers’ Bureaus—agencies that represent paid speakers; since each speakers’ bureau has a different stable of “talent,” there’s no easy way to search across them. The speakers represented by these bureaus command hefty speakers’ fees and expect their travel expenses to be covered.
The visibility that speakers gain from these expert-finding sites is diminished by the difficulty event organizers and media face when searching for an expert. Typically, these sites provide very limited ways (e.g., keywords, articles) of differentiating expertise. This prevents marketers from showcasing the range of a speaker’s capabilities. In addition, most expert-finding sites promote direct contact with individual speakers, ignoring the marketer or other handler who is responsible for vetting opportunities and making sure the corporate brand messages are being presented1.
SPEAKERFILE OFFERS VISIBILITY, ENABLES CENTRAL MANAGEMENT
Speakerfile.com was introduced in January 2012 as an “Expert Visibility Platform” that addresses both the experts’ and the marketers’ concerns. The platform helps experts gain visibility through web search while enabling marketers to centrally manage the packaging and promotion of multiple experts as part of their content marketing strategy. In addition, event organizers and media use the system to quickly find, qualify, and connect with experts or their handlers.
Searching for Speakers
© 2013 speakerfile.com
1. An expertise search using the key words “social media” and “healthcare” yielded 2302 results, listed by relevance. On the left you see additional filters for limiting the search by location, portfolio, availability, and fees.
Experts Gain Visibility Through Web Search
Speakerfile drives the visibility of experts through search engine optimization. Those who know about Speakerfile can log in at speakerfile.com to search for speakers. Illustration 1 shows the first three results of a keyword search for speakers who have social media and healthcare expertise. Speakerfile profiles also show up in web search results. Event organizers or media who find experts, whether inside the application or through web search, can review rich-media profiles and connect to the expert or the expert’s handler directly from the profile. Today, the majority of connections result from web searches.
Marketers Centrally Manage an Organization’s Speaking Assets
Speakerfile provides a place on the web where marketers create both corporate and individual speaker profiles. The template for the corporate profile includes…
1) ExpertEngine is the one resource, other than Speakerfile, that offers a parent account so that agencies can manage multiple experts.
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