When it comes to brand reputation, speaking at different conferences is a great way to gain that visibility and that trust in a slightly more unconventional way. There are a few things to keep in mind when embarking on this method of improving brand reputation--finding the right speaking opportunities, deciding who will speak at the event, and choosing the best subject of your presentation. Of course then you get into actually creating your presentation, but understanding some of these preliminary steps will set you on the right track and make sure that your brand's name is getting out there the right way.

Before jumping into the actual guide, it's important to first understand how your brand reputation can actually be improved through this approach:

  • Use your logo in your presentation for visibility. Visibility is the biggest thing that a conference can offer you if you're a speaker. Use your logo in your presentation wherever possible to help get your brand out there in front of the eyes of such a targeted audience.
  • If you use your own examples, it helps show credibility and trust. This is the perfect opportunity to present your own work, which will help show you're a credible company and a thought leader in the industry.
  • Your personality comes out. This is something that is very difficult to achieve online, so this is arguably the biggest benefit. Show some personality and get people to like you and feel comfortable with you.
  • You get a face-to-face interaction with people interested in your field. This piggybacks on the last point, but it's important nonetheless. No only do you have an opportunity to show your personality, but you can talk directly with people face-to-face and gain all of the trust benefits that come with this type of interaction.

A Preliminary Guide to Speaking at Conferences

Below are some of the initial steps you need to take to be successful along with a few tips explaining the steps you can take to achieve your goal:

How to Find Speaking Opportunities

  • Look at your favorite blogs for conference announcements. Oftentimes you don't even need to be searching for a conference to see that something is coming up. If a blog you read is hosting a conference, they are going to announce it on their blog and likely have a place to apply to become a speaker. This is probably the best way to discover conferences that would fit in well with your skillset.
  • Do a Google search. Typing in a Google Search for "Top SEO Conferences," for example, will help give you a list of some of the top conferences coming up. You can then research the conferences and see if anything fits in your schedule and seems like a worthwhile audience. Doing a local search next is a good way to find local conferences if you want to start small.
  • Talk with influencers and others in your field. Many times your connections will have an inside scoop on certain conferences in your industry. Try to pick their brain about some of the underrated conferences around or about some of the more popular conferences and what it takes to get involved. Also consider networking at conferences to see what opportunities are out there.

How to Decide Who Will Speak at the Event

Choose someone in your company who has a passion for the subject and good public speaking skills. It sounds easy enough, but you may find (especially if this is your first attempt at speaking at a conference) that the subject you want to target and the people in your company who feel comfortable public speaking don't match up. For this reason, it's important to come up with a topic along with some of your top public speakers. This will help you determine a subject where your speaker can really be successful, which brings us to our next point.

How to Choose the Subject for Your Presentation

  • Always make sure your presentation is relevant to the conference/ audience. This is a no-brainer, but it's worth mentioning on this list. The very first thing you should do when choosing a topic is research the conference and who will be there. Focus on your audience and make sure you're coming up with something completely relevant.
  • Try to come up with something creative and different. You should always make sure to see what other speakers are presenting if possible; but you may find that many events ask for a proposal and have to approve your idea, so take that into consideration. In either case, the more creative you can get, the better.
  • Focus on staying targeted. Creative is great, but so is targeted information. Conferences like to have a wide variety of topics, and staying targeted will show that you're really an expert in that one area of your industry. This is more appealing generally to conference goers and those choosing the presentations for the conference.

Ultimately, as with any type of PR, the more you can get your name and brand in front of your target audience the more you will improve your reputation as a thought leader in your industry.

Published on: Feb 17, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.