A speaker bureau is more or less exactly what it sounds: a list of people who are available to speak at events or meetings on a particular topic. Setting up a speaker bureau is quite challenging. These people are going to be representing your organisation, so you need to be sure that they will put across the right message in the right way. Why, therefore, are more large companies considering creating their own speaker bureaus?
1. It raises awareness of particular issues
The first aim of thought leadership is often to increase awareness in your target audience about particular issues and problems. A speaker bureau can be a very good way to share diverse experience and information about a new topic, and extend the message to more people. By maintaining a speakers’ list of both customers and internal experts, you can provide a balanced and nuanced view on almost any topic or area.
2. It allows you to increase visibility and personal branding of your thought leaders
Thought leadership generally focuses on written and other online content: blogs and videos, white papers, books and perhaps webinars, as well as social media. Live speaking engagements, and meeting people face-to-face allows your thought leaders to deepen their engagement and relationships with their existing audience. Attending events and speaking can also, however, allow thought leaders to reach a whole new audience, and therefore increase the potential reach of their written content too.
3. You can get the right people in front of your audience, but still keep control of the message
A diverse speaker bureau means that you can (almost) always supply the right person or people for an event, whether individual or panel. Pharmaceutical companies find it particularly helpful, for example, to field healthcare practitioners alongside sales reps, especially for a professional audience. The discussion is much more productive and honest. We are all more inclined to trust one of our peers than a sales rep, after all.
4. It gives you a reason to contact event organisers and customers
Setting up your speaker bureau is actually only the start. You then have to ensure that it is used appropriately, so that your speakers are invited to talk at events attended by your customers and target audience. Setting up a speaker bureau is therefore a very good reason to reach out to event organisers, peers and target groups to suggest that you could provide a speaker or panel for an event, either now or in the future.
5. It allows you to increase visibility of your brand
With an organised list of speakers, you can reach far more events and a much wider audience. This contact can be amplified by good use of social media and other digital channels before, during and after the event. This can extend the visibility of your brand, as well as your thought leaders themselves, to a much wider audience.
6. You can provide positive role models in particular areas
Speakers can often act as positive role models for others. For example, in an area like data science, there are worldwide skills shortages. Hearing from data scientists about their work can encourage others to consider data science as a career. Fielding particular minority groups can be especially useful in providing role models, for example, to encourage more women to join tech companies.
7. A speaker bureau supports employer branding efforts
Positive role models are one way to recruit more people into a particular profession. However, speaker bureaus also support individual employer branding efforts. Speaking engagements increase the visibility of individual employees. By carefully curating your speaker selection, you can use your speaker bureau to demonstrate and champion your employer brand in action.
8. Having a speaker bureau makes it easier to organise your own events and find speakers
In a large organisation, there is always someone organising an event of some kind, or looking for a speaker for a particular occasion. Having your own speaker bureau means that they do not have to look hard to find someone with the expertise that they need. This applies to both internal speakers and external customers, such as companies willing to act as ‘case studies’. If you keep careful records of who has attended which events, it also means that you can share the load more evenly, and ensure that nobody is asked to do too much.