Virtual Summits: Build Your Business through Host-and-Guest Exchange


In keeping with this issue’s theme of “exchange,” I want to put a spotlight on virtual summits. These collaborations between a host and multiple guest presenters are a powerful business and visibility building opportunity that should not be overlooked. In the virtual summit “exchange,” each guest presenter contributes to the invitation, attention, and focus of their community of followers. Participating in a virtual summit provides entrepreneurs an entrée and an implied endorsement to audiences of thousands—and sometimes tens of thousands—or more!

Virtual summits are a great way to build your email list, introduce people to yourself and your body of knowledge, launch a book, and/or engage potential affiliate partners. These events are a critical part of the marketing plans of leaders today, especially since so much is now online.

How do you get invited consistently to virtual summits? You need to prove your credentials as a great virtual summit guest presenter.

Here’s how the process works. A leader invites guests whose subject matter is in alignment with the theme selected for the summit. These guest presenters offer valued content during the live or pre-recorded interview, along with a free giveaway that induces people into their lists. In exchange for this highly visible marketing opportunity, the guest presenter must send invitations to his/her entire list—so it builds the audience for all presenters. The host gets the added benefit of being able to re-market to the entire list of registrants. It’s a win-win for all involved! One of best things about virtual summits is that if you prove to be a good guest, then you get hot on the summit circuit…you’ll get tons of invitations!

Make sure you have these seven items:

1. A compelling subject that can be flexible to fit the summit theme. All summits have a theme; a subject around which they are organized. The guest hosts are chosen based on how appropriate their content is related to the theme. So, if you are targeting a specific host/summit, you must offer a presentation that speaks to that theme. This may mean creating something from scratch, or it just could mean re-titling or tweaking an existing presentation. Some hosts allow PowerPoint slides and others simply want to have a dialogue or a question-and-answer session, but you will need to give them a framework and description of your content/presentation. Make sure you offer a presentation that aligns with the theme.

2. Offer a great freebie on your landing page. Your free offer is the key to your success. It has to be irresistible and lead listeners down the path of wanting more from you. It should be attached to an email sequence that urges them to either connect with you for a strategy conversation, purchase a product or a resource, or join a membership program. Your landing page needs to be crisp and limited on words. One good graphic, a short amount of text, and a registration form should do it—along with perhaps a smaller photo of you and a one-line bio. Give the landing page a URL that is really easy to remember…both for you to offer and for potential clients to take advantage of. Tell the host about your freebie in advance; they will want to see if it is in alignment with the summit’s theme or message.

3. Your willingness to co-promote. When I speak with hosts, their biggest complaint is that they have admitted a guest presenter who doesn’t fulfill his/her commitment to co-promote. It’s one reason most summits now have gone to a signed contract with guest presenters that actually commit them to specific dates for solos, newsletter inclusions, and social media action. And they are checking to make sure you’ve fulfilled those distributions. Word gets around fast if you don’t do your part. It’s the fastest way to get very cold on the summit circuit. Invitations will stop coming. So, promote and be a good partner; give your hosts the confidence that you’ll help them grow the event. And related to that, don’t fib about your list size. You’ll be found out by the limited response. Build trust!

4. Offer a mini-media kit. Hosts need an easy way to grasp all the information needed for your introduction and marketing. A simple mini-media kit does the trick. It should have a description of your presentation, including bullet point takeaways; your short bio (the one they will promote on the air and include in marketing); title, description, and link to your free gift; your website, and your social media links. Keep it to one or two pages! You can then use this mini-media kit as a cheat sheet for copying your info into standardized online submission forms when these are required by the host.

5. Revenue-share products to sell (in select cases). On rare occasions, a host will invite you to sell a product on the summit—but it may mean a revenue split of 50 percent. Be ready in case you happen onto this type of an event. Know what you would sell at $97 or at $397. Have an easy way to purchase this either through a URL you offer, or, be able to provide text, graphics, and delivery ability if the organizer chooses to host the order page.

6. A good-sized list (if possible). Many summits—though by no means at all—have a minimum list size. Usually it’s 1,000, 2,500, 3,000 or 5,000—depending on the prominence of the host. While summits continue to help you build your list, the more you build it in advance and in other ways increases your chance to qualify as a virtual summit guest. It does sound a bit like a catch-22, but there are many alternative ways to grow your list. Consider a joint giveaway—where a host enables you to offer your free gift online in exchange for co-promotion. You can also do radio shows and podcasts to offer your free gift to listeners. Try posting videos and photos on Facebook and Instagram to drive people to your free gift. Ask joint venture partners—other leaders with whom you have a relationship—to promote your free gift. Get your numbers up! It doesn’t take much, and then you’ll be easily accepted into almost any summit for which you are in alignment.

7. Offer great content! This is paramount. Your presentation cannot be a 30- to 60-minute sales pitch. It needs to offer powerful content that elevates an audience. Be original—do not give material rehashed from what tons of other leaders in your space have already offered. Your offer’s uniqueness and packaging is what will get a host to say yes, and your product’s empowerment for the listener is key to getting the host to invite you back again, or spread the word that you were a great guest presenter. Give value—that’s always Job One! Do this every time you have a summit opportunity and you will grow your opt-in list, attract clients to you like a magnet, keep hosts very happy, and become a hot commodity on the summit circuit.

So where will you find these summits easily—and before they are already booked? The same place where you can get some giveaway ideas to increase your opt-in list. Let me point you in the direction of SpeakerTunity Summits.

Go to for more information.