Recession-Proof Your Speaking Business: Publicity is The Key

By Pam Lontos

If you’re thinking of cutting your publicity during these tough economic times, think again. It’s times like this then you have to get you name out there more than ever.

Consider the ingenious marketing move made by the Wrigley Company in the 1940s. During World War II, the company couldn’t get the necessary ingredients to continue making their chewing gum. So they stopped production of all their product lines. However, even though they had no product to sell, they continued their advertising, with their “Remember this Wrapper” campaign. After the war ended and ingredients were plentiful again, they resumed production of their chewing gums and quickly regained and even exceeded their pre-war popularity, while much of their competition went out of business.

To put it in perspective, the Wrigley Company maintained top of mind awareness with their customers, even during a difficult time. That’s exactly what you must do to succeed as a speaker in today’s economy.

“But I can’t afford a big advertising campaign,” you may be thinking. Even if your wallet is a bit thin these days and advertising isn’t possible, you can get great results with some carefully planned publicity. Remember that during a recession, the competition is greater than ever between speakers. Publicity helps you get that extra celebrity and credibility so you can stand out and get hired.

Additionally, you want to keep up the momentum from your current publicity efforts. If you stop marketing yourself and try to resume once the recession is over, you’ll be essentially starting from scratch. That’s a tough place for any speaker to be. You’ll be forgotten.

Here are a few suggestions to keep your publicity efforts going strong, even during difficult economic times.

  • Write articles for trade and association magazines. You need to keep your name circulating within your niche areas. Aim to write one article every 2 months. And remember that you can submit the same article to multiple publications, as long as you offer it non-exclusively.
  • When you see something in the news that you have a strong opinion about, write a short op-ed piece and send it to the newspapers. Even if your view is controversial, don’t be afraid to put it out there. Controversy often sells.
  • Become an expert source for newspaper and magazine writers in your area. E-mail or call the editors to find out what stories they’re working on. If you can provide information or insight on any of the topics, offer it freely so you can get quoted.
  • Update your Web site and blog with new information, such as your new articles. Also, put updated postings on such places as Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn.

The bottom line is you need to be out there all the time to maintain top-of-mind awareness. Granted, you may need to trim your advertising expenses, but publicity is an inexpensive way to keep yourself in front of your clients. And since many of your competitors will cut back on marketing now, by staying strong and true to your course, you will stand out, especially as the competition thins out.

With fewer and fewer companies hiring speakers today, you need to show why you are the best speaker for your topic. Credibility does that for you, and promoting yourself with public relations builds that credibility. You never want people to think, “What ever happened to (your name)….” Maintaining your publicity efforts prevents that from happening and helps you get hired – even in tough times!

Publicity Book by Pam LontosPam Lontos is president of PR/PR, a public relations firm that works with speakers, authors and experts. She is the author of I See Your Name Everywhere and is a former vice president of sales for Disney’s Shamrock Broadcasting. PR/PR has placed clients in publications such as USA Today, Entrepreneur, Time, Reader’s Digest, and Cosmopolitan. PR/PR works with established speakers, as well as those who are just launching their career. For a free publicity consultation, e-mail or call 407-299-6128. To receive free publicity tips, go to and register for the monthly e-newsletter, PR/PR Pulse!