How to get paid speaking gigs like the pros

I wanted to share one of my paid speaking gigs stories with you. A while back, I received an email from someone that I haven’t spoken to in at least two years. She asked me if I wanted to come speak at an event. She knows me because I wrote a piece about her company when I was at ESPN several years ago.

And that’s pretty much how I get all my speaking these days. The invitations just show up in my inbox. Pretty great, right?

She asked if we could jump on a call, and within days I was booked to speak at the event with my travel covered, two tickets to the SEC Championship Game for me and the hubby (which, if you know college football at all, is basically a ticket you can’t even buy —at least not without taking out a second mortgage!) and a handsome speaking fee.

But, of course, things weren’t always so easy for me as a speaker. Not only was I pitching constantly to land just a few measly unpaid speaking gigs here and there, I even covered some of my own travel in the early days (which, looking back, was totally selling myself short, so don’t do that).

So, what changed?

I became an expert.

I started writing for Forbes. And no, I’m not talking a one-off guest blog so I could stick the logo on my website. I started writing for Forbes multiple times per week (while working FT as a corporate attorney, so please skip the excuse that you don’t have time).

I started pitching myself for radio interviews, first on small local stations and eventually for national programs. (This was before podcasts were a thing, so I’d definitely be pitching for those now too.)

I tweeted at prominent reporters and shared my Forbes stories with them in the hopes they’d link to my piece or quote me.

I even pitched myself to a local TV station to do come on as an expert.

And, here’s the big secret

I kept doing all of that for the last eight years!

It didn’t take me eight years to start reaping the rewards, but it took more than a few one-off guest blogs and radio interviews. It took me showing up consistently as an expert in a number of ways.

Here’s a timeline of how I got the paid speaking gig I mentioned earlier:

This is just one example, but those eight years of establishing myself as an expert get me opportunities like this at least once a month now. Without pitching!

I know, I know — you we all want instant gratification. Sorry, but there’s no shortcut to being a bona fide expert. Sure, there are ways to sell your book for a few weeks when you launch or land a paid speaking gig once or twice a year.

But if you want paid speaking gigs to flow in the door on a regular basis, and you want publishers to come to you and offer you money for your book (yep, that happened for me too) and you want a steady flow of clients that keeps your business running for years to come, start doing the work now that your future self will thank you for.

And if you need some help figuring out HOW to pitch or WHAT to pitch or WHO to pitch…I’ve got your back! Join From the Shadows to the Spotlight today! 

If you need some tips on getting started, check out my free guide on How To Position Yourself For Free Publicity. You’ll get my expert advice on how to position yourself for loads of FREE publicity, including everything from guest blogs and podcast interviews to radio, TV, and speaking gigs. Download it here to get started!
Vicky Lynch
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