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Your Speaking Promotional Material

Information Marketing

I want to discuss the basic promotional materials that every speaker must have. I have worked with a lot of speakers to help them develop their speaking materials and I know what you need to have and what works best. 

They include: 

I Your book
I Business cards 
I Testimonial letters
I One-page, faxable brochure 
I Tiered brochure
I Free giveaway items 
I Audio demo tapes
I Video demo tapes 
I Web site
I Postcards 

Let’s cover each of these items in order. 

Many speakers spend entirely too much time and money on their promotional materials. Your most important promotional materials are your book and your letters of recommendation. Let me repeat: your BOOK and your LETTERS OF RECOMMENDATION. The book won’t cost you that much per unit, and the testimonials are dirt cheap to duplicate. 

Do not spend big money on fancy four color brochures. It will be a dramatic waste of your money. After you are a nationally known speaker, then you will have to have super expensive promotional material to justify the huge fees they are paying you. 

You can pray for that problem.

Your Book 

I also have written a book and done an entire seminar on this topic. For more information go to 

Business Cards 

As far as business cards go, it is a good idea to keep them simple. Having a picture on them won’t hurt. Make sure and call yourself a “speaker/consultant/author.” Put all of your important information on the card including your email address and web site. 

One Page Faxable Sheet 

You need to have a one page summary of your speaking business. This one page should give anyone who is interested a general overview of you and your business. You should include a brief bio, a short list of clients, the topics you speak on, a few powerful testimonials, your picture and your contact information. Give whomever you send it to enough to make them want to know more. 

Letters of Recommendation 

Letters of recommendation are one your most powerful tools in getting speaking engagements. Here’s a story to illustrate. 

A speaker was asked by a potential client to send them some information. Rather than putting some fancy four color brochure and a video in a well designed “speaker package”, he sends out 50 – 60 letters of recommendation in a box wrapped with duct tape. The speaker got the business. 

Nothing is more powerful than other people putting on paper how good you were when you spoke to their group. I actually put a referral clause in my contract. This requires them to give me a great testimonial if they are happy. The 2 keys to getting great letters of recommendation are to do a great job on the platform AND to get them to write them while they’re hot. Immediately after the presentation people still have you fresh in their minds. They remember how great you were. If you wait, they tend to forget how well you did. 

Keep the original letters of recommendation well protected. They are worth their weight in gold. As you get more and more letters, separate them into categories. When you have plenty of them in the file cabinet, send out only those that are from the industry where you are courting someone. 

Tiered Brochure/Folder 

Your presentation folder is what will hold the elements of your tiered brochure. You can look for presentation folders. You can buy the inexpensive, generic ones at Office Max or Staples. When you get further along in your career, you may want to get them customized with your name on the outside. When you’re first getting started, keep them simple and keep them cheap. I use the term “tiered” brochure because on the right hand side of the folder you put four sheets of paper, each one slightly larger than the other sheet behind it, creating a tiered effect. 

The shortest element in the tiered brochure would be your bio. Make it the shortest element so people don’t think you are too full of  yourself. Elements of the bio can be put into bullet or paragraph form. Give them the highlights of your life. Don’t go too far back. There is no need to include your winning record as a third-grade speller. 

The next largest sheet would be your list of clients. If you have limited clients, write a paragraph description for each of them. If there are plenty of clients to list, list them in multiple columns on the page. If you have tons of clients to list, you may want to divide them by industry category as well. 

The next largest sheet on the right hand side of the page would be your list of program offerings. Take your three or four topics that you speak on and put them on one page using one full paragraph to describe each one of them. 

Your largest sheet of paper, which sits at the back of all the other sheets, is an individual, full page description of each of your topics. This is the chance for you to give a full and complete description of each of your topics. 

Give Away Items 

You need to have something to give away for free that has value and demonstrates your brilliant speaking skills and content. It should be in a number of different forms. You’ll need to have this audio in cassette form as well as CD. 

If the item is promoting you and your business, I always put a line on the outside of the tape that says it can be duplicated. It’s sort of the opposite of what most people might think to do. As far as I’m concerned, I’d like to get as many copies of these tapes out there to help my speaking career. 

Leave copies of your cassette or CD in places where people might find them, pick them up and listen to them. I would recommend that you do this with your video materials, but with current technology, it is too expensive to do so. 

Before you start leaving these items in grocery stores, think about what the demographics are of the places you start leaving these things lying around. My preferred location to leave these are in airline clubs at the airport and on airplanes. If you have this material out there for people to find, make sure to make it easy for them to find you. Your toll free number should be all over the cassette or CD. 

Have a bounceback offer imbedded in the audio. Make sure to give people some kind of great offer if they will contact you as a result of hearing your audio. My preferred example is to offer people a critique of someone’s current marketing materials. This gives me the opportunity to get back to them with some great suggestions and give them a sample of my marketing brilliance. They are also in my database permanently as well. 

Audio Demo Tape 

The demo audio tape used to be the primary method speakers had of marketing themselves. Given that everyone and his brother now owns a VCR, it is imperative to have a demo video. If you are just starting out, however, the demo audio is an inexpensive way for you to let people know what your speaking skills are like. 

You can make this tape as lengthy as you want as long as it’s interesting. The first few minutes of your audio demo tape should give highlights and snippets from some of your more engaging and interesting programs. 

You can then follow this section with a more in-depth and complete audio program for people to listen to. 

Video Demo Tape 

Other than great testimonials, your demo video tape is the most important element of your promotional material as a speaker. 

If people are looking to hire you as a speaker, they want to see you speak. The demo tape is how you prove to people that see your demo that you are a good speaker and worthy of being hired. Your demo tape must be made in such a way to get your prospects attention instantly. Remember, those who are reviewing the tapes might be looking at twenty or thirty of these tapes. You must first catch their attention at the beginning of your video to make sure they stay to see the rest of it. It is very much like what a good  author must do in the beginning of their books. 

The demo tape shouldn’t be longer than six to eight minutes. I would then suggest you attach a much longer, more in-depth presentation onto the end of the video. Many meeting planners want to see a long unedited section of tape and material. I have two different demo videos, one that is bureau friendly and one that is for my own direct contacts and potential clients. Don’t confuse the two. Send the bureaus the demos with none of your contact information on the video. 

Many speakers sit down in a video editing suite and get completely carried away. I know a lot about videos and video creation, more than any speaker I know. I have produced hundreds of how to videos. The one thing I don’t do on any video is to make the effects the star. 

Don’t make the mistake of making your video so filled with video pizzazz that people miss the content and style that you are trying to communicate. 

Try to get all of your presentations video taped. I videotape the majority of my presentations on a digital video system. If I am going to be doing a big “gig” I will try to get a camera crew that has professional equipment to capture the event. I then use this footage in my video tape. 

Remember that you can’t get a good end product (your finished demo) without good original footage. Don’t use a poor camera and expect that you will be able to create a good looking final demo. It just won’t happen. Many times I will let my clients video tape my presentations and use the information in exchange for the masters. I can then cut them together as I see fit for demo purposes. 

The worst offense for your video demo is to be boring. You can make it anything else, but don’t make it boring. 


Every speaker needs to have a web site. This site should be a showcase for you, your products and your speaking ability. I would suggest simple rather than busy and/or fancy. It would be best for you to take your name and get it registered with the “dot com” attached to it. 

Remember your goal for your speaking website. It is to get people, once they go to your site, to either request more information or book you as a speaker. The other option is that you might be able to get people to buy product from your web site. In the event that people buy your products, they might later come to you to ask you to speak to their group or company. 

Your website as a speaker should have a place where people can click and see a sample video of your presentation skills. 


I think every speaker should have a collection of postcards that are unique to you and your organization to keep in touch with people who are either prospects or existing customers. A handwritten postcard is ten times more effective than a typewritten letter or email. You can also use postcards to promote events by sending people to a specific website where you close with a longer sales letter. 

The Future for Speaking Promo Materials 

As internet technology improves, speakers will eventually be able to have both audio and video clips available for prospects to look at on the web. They will be immediately downloadable. It will be great when this happens because there will be a huge cost savings for speakers on promotional materials. You will no longer have to have demo tapes or printed promotional materials. People will go to the web and download what they want to see. 

Filed under: Speaking for Millions
Information Marketing

One Response to “Your Speaking Promotional Material”

  1. Carolyn Finch on January 9th, 2009 7:38 pm

    Hi Fred! And thanks for the great information on the call for the Sales Peg last night. We have talked in the past and I know it is wonderful what you do for us as speakers and many other business as well. I am moving ahead with Speaking and finishing my editing for the publisher this month.
    It is Victory at “SEE” Understanding Body Language for Improved Health, Performance and Success I speak on Health and Performance with an emphasis on Body Language inside and out. Thanks for the challege last night for me to create a tighter focus on a large and relatively new topic..Although I have spoken on this topic for 25 years. It is now that we are beiginning to be accepted. It’s the Eyes and the Body that tell the real story. Will start by downloading you free products and go from there. Thanks Carolyn Finch, Body Language Expert

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