Build a speaker line-up for a virtual summit
1. Create a spreadsheet to track your speaker outreach, adding the Speaker Name, Category, Contact Information, Potential Topics, State of the Conversation, and Audience Size as columns.
The state of conversation is whether they agreed or denied to speak, or if the conversation is still ongoing.
2. Use tools like NinjaOutreach, Followerwonk, BuzzSumo, or Alltop to research A-List speakers that will bring authority and credibility to your event, and add them to your list of potential speakers.
A-list influencers are high-profile and well-respected thought leaders in your industry, people that your attendees see as “rock stars” and “must-follow” thought leaders. For example, best-selling authors and keynote speakers. Having one or two of these speakers at your conference would add immediate authority to your event because your attendees will recognize their names.
3. Research Trusted Authority speakers with 2,500 - 25,000 followers that have a reasonably well-known brand and can deliver most of your summit sessions, and add them to your list of potential speakers.
These speakers will make the biggest group of speakers at your virtual summit. They aren’t as popular as A-Listers but can still drive attendees to your summit.
4. Research Up-and-Comers who aren't recognized much but have an important message and are willing to promote your event, and add them to your list of potential speakers.
Find speakers that do not have big brands but are sharing an important message or teaching relevant concepts. These will promote your event the most because they get to share the stage with other high-profile experts.
5. Comment and share on speakers' social posts, buy and review their products, promote them to your audience, and become a case-study for their work to build relationships with each speaker on your potential list and track the conversations in your spreadsheet.
Engage with speakers on your potential speakers list to get to know them and make them recognize your name.
6. Send a request that explains exactly how speaking at your summit is mutually beneficial, and ensure they will promote the event among their audience.
When asking a speaker to join your event, be precise and tell them exactly how speaking at your summit is mutually beneficial. Track their responses in your spreadsheet. For example, when inviting a speaker, emphasize that you’re working hard on putting together the best speaker lineup possible to make the event a valuable resource for their audience and offer to place links to their profiles or products on their speaker page.
7. Send speakers who agreed information about the next steps for recording their session, like a link to book a recording date, the format and duration of the recording, deadlines they should be aware of, and the intended outcome for the recording.
You cannot communicate too much in this step. Send the speaker all the information they need to deliver a great summit session. Think about what you would need to know from them to position them as a speaker on your event.
8. Send the speaker swipe copy for email and social media updates, custom graphics for promoting on social media, video reels, and any other materials that make it easier for them to promote your event, and share the promotional calendar.
9. Add an affiliate marketing program for your virtual summit if you don't already have one, and onboard the speakers to your program.
Setting up an affiliate program is a great way to offer monetary rewards for your speakers while also increasing the number of people who promote it.