Why Speaking & Awards Programs Still Matter

July 12, 2023

While press hits and social media tend to dominate the conversation when it comes to communications programs, there are still a few more traditional elements that always seem to fall by the wayside.

Two of these are unsexy, foundational pieces to the PR puzzle, particularly when the business lacks news: speaking and awards.

Speaking opportunities allow company leaders to serve as thought leaders amongst their peers at industry events. These events happen year-round. It is important for  the PR and marketing organizations to coordinate efforts around events in order to maximize opportunities where the business is already invested (e.g. sponsorships). While some speaking opportunities remain earned -- through submissions, abstracts and networking -- many are becoming pay-for-play scenarios (read: sponsorship is required for a speaking slot). Keep this in mind as you pull together budgets and plans for the year.

It is also important to keep in mind that once an executive has been selected to speak, the work isn't over. In fact, it has just begun. There will be prep sessions, calls to coordinate with your moderator and fellow panelists if it is a panel, presentation development, and practice, practice, practice, particularly if you are doing a keynote or solo talk.

Awards opportunities, like speaking, happen throughout the year. Given there are fees typically attached to each submission, it is important to understand budget allotment for the year as well as priorities. What honors mean the most to you, your customers and your partners? Are they industry-specific, product-based or leadership-focused?

Both speaking and awards programs take time and creativity to create but also need longer lead times to complete and secure. Most speaking opportunities have a 6-9 month lead time, for example. Keep this in mind as you incorporate these elements into your PR program.

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