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How to Get Paid Speaking Engagements As A Fashion Expert (+Free Email Pitch Template!)

This has been the season of dropping gems for me fashion fam! The past couple of years alone have been the most I’ve been asked to speak, lead discussions, and be involved in programming in my life – including speaking at MAGIC twice this year (and let me tell you – I don’t plan on stopping). If you’re a fashion expert like me looking to get more exposure and find opportunities for speaking – I got all the answers for you.

Before we start – I have to put my signature disclaimer: everyone is not an expert and that is ok. This means everyone should not use platforms like lecture series, keynote opportunities, workshops, etc as a means for monetizing if you truly do not have knowledge and value for the audience. People spend entirely too much money on conference tickets and expect a certain level of value provided by the speakers. If you’re struggling to find how speaking opportunities would work for you I promise – we’ll talk about other ways to monetize as a fashionpreneur/fashion creative. Now – let’s dive in:

Package Up Your Expertise

It needs to be clear about what you know, what you’re skilled in, and what you can speak to – whether in a keynote setting, panel discussion, or leading your own workshop. For example (and using myself as an example a lot in today’s post) my area of expertise include: the business of fashion (how to get started in a variety of niches and sectors in fashion, including fashion styling, fashion product development, fashion media and public relations, education etc), fashion education (The status of fashion education as we know today, from the perspective of a fashion educator, and changes that need to be made in order to give current and future students realistic curriculum that aligns with the current and future state of the fashion industry.), diversity in fashion (Offering insight on how POC, especially Black men, women, and Black members of the LGBTQIA+ community are still one of the more underrepresented groups in the industry. Also can offer insight and suggestions on how to support these marginalized individuals or to make sure a company’s brand aligns with the diversity of our industry.), & the importance of branding in fashion.

Now – once you have clearly listed your expertise, make the information digestible and easy to understand and find for potential opportunities. I’m not even gone get y’all together today on why this is the exact reason why you need a website (just listen to this episode of the podcast for all of that lol), so for those that have a website – make a page for speaker inquiries. You can list your zones of genius, previous speaking engagements, and how to inquire to book you. Here’s mine for an example. Also create a brand deck as well and if you don’t know how, get it cheap on Fiverr.

Research Different Events to Display Your Expertise

Now this is the “hard” part only because COVID has eliminated a lot of the events I enjoyed going to before the pandemic, and those that are still going strong – have reduced their budget for speakers. However do not let that discourage you because there are still events needing experts like you! Here are some great areas to research when trying to find your next speaking opportunity:

  • Conferences (including fashion specific, and both creative and general business centered)
  • Fashion Weeks (here’s my complete list of fashion weeks besides NYFW)
  • Colleges & Universities
  • Other Schools & Institutions
  • Non Profits Centered In Arts, Business, & The Creative Industry

When researching – gather any websites, social media accounts, and appropriate email addresses as you will need it for the below step.

Pitch Yourself

As I’m typing this – I know we need another post – a podcast episode, hell a workshop on how to package yourself up as an expert and I promise y’all it’s on my list. But for now let’s talk about what it means to pitch yourself. This simply means to take your packaged information and send it to the right personnel in a persuading manner in order to yield the result you want. This means making sure you have your headshot, bio, brand/speaker deck all together and easily accessible when sending (I suggest a Google Drive link). Then – sending a pitch email to the right person with this information. At this end of this post, I have the perfect tool to help you do this the right way!

Create Content Around Your Expertise

This is something you should be doing from jump street to establish yourself as an expert and to build your community, your numbers, and your overall online presence. I’m going to dive deeper into this on the podcast and another post, but you want to also use this content you’re creating as a means to show “hey, I do this – here’s the proof”. Whether it’s static feed posts for a downloadable, short form content, or a weekly live series, all of those can be used for your benefit. Also, similar to packaging up your expertise – make it clear in your social media bios. Now I know Instagram be hating with the 150 characters, so create a simple tagline and short sentence that embodies what you’re knowledgeable in. Mine consist of “fashion expert, thought leader, and connection maker” and “all about educating, advocating, and celebrating multifaceted fashionpreneurs”.

That’s it! Now in between you pitching yourself for opportunities, you still need to be putting in the work – meaning building your credibility, establishing trust with your audience, and showing up for your brand, and you can do so by:

  • Getting quoted by high level publications (blog post coming)
  • Continuing to create content on social media around your expertise
  • Creating value driven products that your community can benefit from (like downloadables, webinars, etc)

These are some easy processes you can implement today that will help build your community and if anything – attract the speaker opportunities to you instead of you finding them!

Now to the good stuff – FREEBIES! I’ve created this pitch email template, similar to my press release freebie that you can copy, paste, and revise directly into your email when pitching yourself for opportunities. Download it, and get to pitching!

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