Speakerfile Launches eHarmony for Experts and Conference Planners (Plus! Premium Accounts for Pando Readers)
It’s no surprise most conferences feature the same speakers every year. Every one I’ve helped plan starts out with a handful of people arbitrarily throwing out names of popular speakers. Not exactly a scientific process.
The over-panelization problem is not limited to the repetition of the same (great, but over-exposed) speakers, it’s that there’s a whole trove of eager experts looking to increase visibility through speaking gigs. Usually they need to hire publicists — of which there are around 7,000 in the States — to land panels and keynotes.
The market for paid speakers is between $2 billion to $4 billion, so it’s a little surprising that the tools to put events together are no more advanced than brainstorming and email. That’s the issue Speakerfile, a bootstrapped, Toronto-based startup, aims to address. Today the company officially launched its speaker directory, CMS, and booking tools.
The site itself provides a simple search mechanism for conference planners. Looking for healthcare experts? Here are 500. The profiles, which can be generated by PR people through Speakerfile’s CMS system, include all kinds of info about the speaker, including expertise, topics, a bio, sample talks, pricing, recent conferences, and even audience feedback from prior events. The site is available on mobile.
Most important is the “Book This Speaker” button, which allows conference planners to contact speakers directly through the site’s system in a message that automatically includes all the pertinent information. So even if you’re one of those big deal speakers who doesn’t need a publicist, Speakerfile can help you manage your appearances.
The business model comes into play on the speaker and publicist side. Companies and publicity firms pay to use Speakerfile’s CMS, which allows them to manage their repositories of speakers. Speakerfile aims to be particularly useful to agencies representing authors, which make up around 45% of those speakers that have signed up to the site since its private beta launch last year, said co-founder and CEO Peter Evans.
Beyond that, corporate entities like RIM, KPMG, and Deloitte are already paying to use Speakerfile to organize and promote their growing armies of public speakers. The speakers at those companies don’t address the sexiest of topics, but how else is a conference organizer going to find an expert on Private Business GAAP auditing?
Besides, the idea of “thought leadership,” a term I utterly cringe at, is unfortunately here to stay. CEOs are brands – -look at Richard Branson, who now runs commercials congratulating himself on what a visionary he is. Those commercials probably pay for themselves in terms of increased speaking fees he could garner as his brand grows. (Note: I have no idea if Branson, an avid philanthropist, takes speaking fees or not.) So I imagine that for execs, authors, expert-wannabe types, and Bransons-in-training, a Speakerfile profile will be essential.
Speakerfile has generously offered Pando readers access to its premium launch products for free. (All of you are surely thought leaders in the making, right?)
The first 100 individuals to email email@example.com with the subject line “Pando Offer” get premium speaker accounts for a year, which allow you to upload videos, connect with as many people on the site as you want, use the mobile app, and enhance your profile with more bells and whistles. Likewise, your premium profile will be SEO-optimized, so you’ll be known as a public speaker outside of the site to your average Googler.
The company is also offering 10 free enterprise accounts for groups with up to 10 expert profiles to manage their expert teams. Same email address.