Identify influencers for a virtual summit
1. Create a list of A-list, trusted, and up-and-coming speakers for your event.
Some speakers will promote your event more than others while some speakers will attract more attendees. Having the right mix of influencers separates average virtual summits from successful summits. Here’s a breakdown of A-Listers, Trusted Authorities, and Up-And-Comers. A-Listers: The top 10 percent in your industry. Trusted Authorities: Thought leaders that have an established and growing brand but are not A-Listers yet. Up-And-Comers: Those who are newer but are making a name for themselves.
2. Create an ideal speaker line-up of 10% A-Listers, 30% Trusted Authorities, and 60% Up-and-Comers.
This is your dream speaker line-up. If a speaker on this line-up declines, then simply contact another potential speaker that fits the same profile. A-Listers add credibility to your event, but won’t promote your summit much. Trusted Authorities will be open to promote more and still bring on more credibility to your event. Up-And-Comers won’t bring in many attendees organically because their name isn’t known yet, but they’ll heavily promote the summit because they’re sharing the stage with A-Listers and Trusted Authorities. For example, if you want 20 speakers in total, you’d pick 2 A-List speakers, 6 trusted authorities with a reasonable following, and 12 up-and-comers.
3. Use tools like BuzzSumo, BuzzStream, or NinjaOutreach to identify potential influencers.
There are many different places to find potential influencers that you can connect with. Here are a few ideas to get you started: Personal networks. Existing customers (if any). Course affiliate launches. Partner webinars. Other virtual summits in your industry. Industry bloggers. Podcast hosts. Podcast guests. Industry authors. Course creators. Facebook groups. LinkedIn groups.
4. Create a spreadsheet with columns for Contact Details, Expertise, Agreed or Declined and other relevant speaker information to track your outreach.
This spreadsheet helps you track who got back to you, who denied, and who agreed to speak at your event. Organizing an event means you will be sending an incredible amount of messages. Staying on top of your conversations and organization is the key to successfully coordinating your summit sessions.
5. Do what you can to consistently show up in potential influencers' feeds to start building connections before you need them.
You need to stand out from the masses, so get creative in your outreach process and find ways to separate your message from the others they receive. For example, record personalized video messages, or give the influencers shout-outs in your content. Get in touch with potential influencers way before you invite them to speak at your virtual summit. Building genuine relationship with influencers to increase your chances of getting a Yes.
6. Reach out to 3x the amount of speakers you want to invite to your event via their preferred contact method.
Due to how common virtual summits are these days, you’ll be declined more often nowadays compared to just two years ago. Be prepared to contact 100+ influencers if you want to have 30 speakers at your event. For example, you could reach out to them via their website, email, social media, or representative based on their most popular channel. You need to stand out from the masses, so get creative in your outreach process and find ways to separate your message from the others they receive. For example, record personalized video messages, give the influencer a shout-out in your content, and do what you can to consistently show up in comments in their social feed.
7. Set aside a budget for influencers who ask for payment in exchange for speaking at your summit.
In most cases, influencers will understand that the publicity of being in front of the summit’s audience can help boost their brand, and thus won’t ask for payment. If you want to really stand out against the other summit organizers, then offer a payment for every speaker if you can afford to. How much you budget depends on your particular industry, but be prepared to pay a few hundred to a few thousand dollars to have A-Listers speak at your summit. The better known the influencer is, the higher the likelihood you’ll have to pay them to speak at your summit. Alternatively, you might be able to arrange deals like joint-venture promotions to avoid speaking gig fees.