As a doctor, it is important to gain speaking engagements to promote yourself and your practice to both your peers and to gain new patients. Here are the top ten things you can do to get more speaking dates.
1. You need a terrific website that is informative and grabs the viewer’s attention as soon as they click to your page. A website is one of the first things someone who is interested in you will check out. If they like it they’ll contact you, if not they won’t. Your website is the perfect place to post a video of you at a speaking engagement or feature an article you’ve written. One way to insure your website is as good or better than others is to benchmark it against websites of your competitors or practitioners in your same field. It is also important for your website to look professional. In order to achieve a clean, professional look hire a web designer who is familiar with medical marketing to design your website. The days of doing it yourself are over.
2. Patient testimonials are a useful marketing tool and can be easily added to your website. Testimonials can be acquired by asking your patients. Simply ask them questions and videotape their responses. Once you have a few testimonials, edit and compile the videos and upload them to your website and YouTube.
3. Doctors who publish articles get asked to speak. My clients are invited to speak on a regular basis because their articles are discovered online. How? A conference organizer who is looking for a speaker on a particular topic will search the Internet for someone demonstrating that expertise. If you have an article on that topic they can find you. It’s that simple. When writing articles, it is important to understand that you have two main audiences. First, you have patients. Second, you have your peers. Your patients are not going to understand the serious medical lingo that your peers might. One solution to this issue is to develop two different websites; one for patients and one for your fellow doctors. With a peer-friendly website, you can add the more technical articles and information. On your patient-friendly website, you can put things in layman’s terms which patients will understand and appreciate.
4. Position yourself as an expert in your particular medical field. One option is to add the word “expert” after the topic you are expert in. For example, one of my doctor clients is a “propofol expert.” If someone were to search a topic of interest online and add the word “expert” to their search, the experts in that area would show up in the search results. Go ahead try – it. Search on “propofol expert.” You’ll find Dr. Barry Friedberg. By finding your specific expertise and promoting it via articles and press releases, when people need an expert in your field, you will be sure to pop up in their Internet search. You can also get yourself listed as an expert by visiting expertclick.com or authorsandexperts.com.
5. Writing a book is an excellent way to publicly demonstrate your expertise. The most common approach is to write a book proposal and then find an agent who will present your proposal to a publisher who will publish your work. A different approach is to compile past articles you’ve written and then self-publish your book. Visit www.Book-Marketing-Expert.com for ideas on publishing and promoting your book. Whichever route you choose, your book will show the media that you are serious about the work you do.
6. Now that you have your book written and published, what do you do with it? The answer? Promote it! You can either promote the book yourself or hire a PR firm to get the word out and promote the book for you. The PR firm will create a press kit, which includes a press release, a bio of the author, sample media questions, as well as a fact sheet that covers some of the issues in your book along with excerpts and direct quotes from your book. You can also sell your book at the end of a speech or require the people who schedule your speech to buy “X” number of books to give to the participants. For more strategies on book promotion check out www.WestwindCos.com
7. While searching for speaking engagements, be sure to visit these useful websites. First is www.ProfNet.PRnewsWire.com, which sends out media and speaking leads to PR executives and communications representatives at hospitals, associations and universities. A second website to utilize is The National Speakers Association (www.NSASpeaker.org). Another website, www.DoctorsReview.com, has two thousand scheduled meetings readily available on their site. On the DoctorsReview.com page, you can narrow your results by searching for a specialty or travel destination. A final suggestion is to visit www.projectspropublica.org/docdollars to gain an idea of who is paying doctors to speak.
8. In order to be a successful speaker, I recommend presentation and media training. A good friend of mine, Jess Todtfeld, was Bill O’Reilly’s producer at Fox for many years, and also worked at NBC, ABC, and CBS. Jess’s website www.successinmedia.com offers media training in both New York and Los Angeles. On his site, you can also find advice on how to pitch to the media and how to create an effective speaking presentation. Media training will help you improve your speaking skills as you will learn to speak succinctly.
9. Another way to gain speaking arrangements is to reach out to the media directly. The Harrison Guide to Top National Media and Interview Shows is an effective way to gain access to the media. For example, each of the top shows from Good Morning America to Dateline list the dozens of producers’ contact information. Another resource is called Media Atlas; they offer an online database you can access. It is easy to go online through these options and hone in on a specific audience and get in touch with the media associated with them. Once you’ve identified a member of the media that covers your topic, send them a pitch letter and a press release.
10. Finally, there are free online services you can utilize to publicize yourself and your book. CraigsList www.craigslist.org is a great place to post a number of press releases and it does, in fact, work to your advantage. Depending upon your topic, people do search for all types of things on CraigsList. Two other websites are www.PRAvenue.com and www.PR-Inside.com where you can also post releases along with photos and video at no charge. All three of these free websites are fine options for your press release to gain circulation online.
One more thing. Keep your Curriculum Vitae (CV) up to date with education, affiliations and articles as you may be asked to email it to a prospective customer on the spot. Furthermore have new headshots taken so your photos look like you and not your high school yearbook.
If you follow these steps you’ll be well on your way to obtaining more speaking engagements. For a more detailed strategy with tips and articles on these subjects visit WestWindCos.com.