Public Relations Tips For Public Speakers

Public Relations Tips For Public Speakers

With the rise of content marketing and social media marketing, the line between marketing and public relations has increasingly blurred. Because brands and thought leaders can now easily communicate with the public through blogs and social media posts, identifying the line that separates marketing from PR is sometimes difficult. However there is a distinct difference between PR and marketing, and public speakers should acknowledge the difference between the two to avoid overlooking one or the other.

Here’s how I understand the difference between marketing, specifically content marketing and social media marketing, and PR:

–     Content marketing and social media marketing are focused on the creation of owned media, such as blog posts and social media posts.

–    PR is focused on securing earned media coverage, such as magazine and newspaper articles.

While there are a few additional differences between marketing and PR, I want to keep the definitions simple for this post. Think of content marketing and social media marketing as the management of owned channels and PR as the management of earned channels.

Since we have given an abundance of content marketing and social media marketing advice in previous blog posts, I now want to help you grow your public speaking platform by giving you a few public relations tips.

Leverage Owned Media

Even though there is a distinct difference between content marketing and PR, the two go hand-in-hand beautifully. Owned media can create buzz that leads to earned media opportunities, and earned media is great content to mention in owned media and can also help grow the audience for future owned media content.

If you want to attract the attention of earned media channels, post to your owned channels content that is unique and interesting. Fluff pieces typically will not attract the attention of journalists. If your content is simply a mashup of information that is already available on other sites, with little or no distinguishing components, your content will likely be ignored by the managers of earned media channels.

If you have no option but to recycle information that is readily available via other outlets, be creative in your presentation of the recycled information. For example, Ethos3 created infographics to present a collection of facts found on other sites. The design differentiated the content from similar content previously posted on other sites and as a result we earned exposure to new audiences:

33 Easy Ways To Get More Out Of LinkedIn –

Why We’re More Likely To Remember Content With Images and Video –

Demonstrate Your Expertise

As a professional public speaker you are already an expert at something. Use your owned media channels to demonstrate your expertise. For example, some brands use their blogs only to give a behind-the-scenes look into their office culture. They write about their new hires, their renovated office, and similar news that will interest very few people. While this type of content can help you nurture your relationship with partners and clients who want to know you and your team on a personal level, it will not attract the attention of earned media outlets.

Instead of creating content that reads like an old-school newsletter, create content that could change lives, even if only in a small way. Communicate your unique perspective, your tricks for success, your big ideas, your challenges, failures, and exceptional successes.

When I wrote a post for The Official SlideShare Blog to help presenters create compelling presentation content, my advice was noticed by an writer, Damon Brown, and as a result Ethos3 and I earned mentions and backlinks in the article, 3 Simple Steps to a Killer Presentation. I was featured on this prominent earned media channel for two reasons: 1) My advice was impactful 2) I have developed a reputation as a TEDx expert through other content such as this post, this post, and this post. Since Brown is a TED enthusiast and has spoken at TED, my TEDx expertise gave my content credibility in his eyes.

public speaking advice


Early in my career as a content marketer, I reached out to another local marketing professional to get some tips. My acquaintance worked as a journalist before transitioning into a career in content marketing. When I asked her for advice on getting featured on prominent sites, she told me to develop relationships. She explained that she was rarely interested in cold pitches, however she always gave serious consideration to pitches that came from people she’d met before – even if the meeting was brief and relatively inconsequential. 

When developing a networking plan, remember to network online and offline. While you can develop strong connections with people through social media interactions and email exchanges, talking to someone in person or on the phone is always the ideal. To meet new people, attend conferences and events, and also make new connections online and then offer to treat to coffee or lunch to transform an online connection into an offline relationship.

When networking in an attempt to develop earned media opportunities, don’t restrict your outreach to journalists or media professionals. You never know where a new relationship will lead you so be open minded and develop relationships will all types of people. And drop your agenda when networking; people will see through your false friendliness if you approach people only to see what you can get from them.

As proof that you never know where a relationship will lead you, my Ethos3 colleagues and I were quoted in this article thanks to a relationship I developed with another professional who introduced me to a PR professional who eventually contacted me for the article quotes. 

presentation article

Pitch Strategically

If you don’t have a relationship with a journalist or media professional, and you want to send a cold email pitch to secure media coverage, be creative and strategic in your pitch email. 

Never send a To whom it may concern email to news outlets. The chances that your email will be read or seriously reviewed are slim to none. Do your research and contact the appropriate person at the news outlet. In addition, know enough about the person to whom the email is addressed to craft an email that will resonate with that person. Don’t be too long-winded though. Be conversational in your email, but get to the point. Don’t make the person read an email the length of a novel to uncover your main message.

Acclaimed journalist Burt Helm advises people to tell a compelling story in pitch emails. Journalists will be required to turn your pitch into a story; thus, when you include a story in your pitch, you make the journalist’s life easier and they will love you for that. (Read Burt’s advice here.)

And to circle back to a previous point, it is worth mentioning that I met Burt by networking at a conference organized by At a formal dinner that was part of the conference, I found myself seated between Burt and a NFL player who became a client soon after. This goes to show that when it comes to networking, showing up is truly half the battle. I believe the other half of the battle is comprised of curiosity, humor, and interesting stories that will intrigue listeners.

Conduct Research

Last but not least, if you can conduct research that relates to your public speaking platform or area of expertise, your chances of securing media coverage will increase exponentially. Journalists need stats and facts from credible sources for their articles. You can quickly get ahead of the pack if you are publishing credible research that journalists can use for their stories.

If you cannot afford to hire a research firm, produce your own stats by conducting a formal poll of your clients or contacts. In addition, you can also publish case studies to generate attention. However you approach your research, be as scientific as possible to minimize the chances of backlash. You will need to backup your research and defend it if necessary so don’t be sloppy or lackadaisical about it. Take it seriously and you will likely generate serious buzz. 

Once you have completed your research, announce your results to the media and public via press releases, pitch emails, and content you publish on your owned channels. 


If you are trying to grow your public speaking platform, you should work to secure earned media coverage. Hiring a PR agency can help, however you can also manage your own public relations if you follow the tips included above.

What PR advice would you give public speakers? Share with us on Twitter by tweeting us @Ethos3.

Additional Resources:

The Complete Guide to Content Marketing With Presentations

How To Use Presentations For Social Media Marketing

Grow Your Personal Platform With Instagram in 2016

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