Why speaking is the new rock’n’roll

The Temperance Movement

The Temperance Movement at Shepherd’s Bush Empire 4/14 (I was there!) by Rob Blackham

Your favourite band records a single. Perhaps an album. They get cover artwork designed. Then they book a tour.

This all costs money upfront, in the hope that people will like their music and buy it.

They have to promote themselves, so they arrange media interviews on shows that their target audience will see or hear, and in areas where they are travelling.

If they’re lucky, they will earn more money than they spend, and people won’t just download or share their music without paying for it.

It’s not miles away from the professional speaking business.

We create a talk. Perhaps a series of talks. We get slides designed. Maybe publish a book or create a course. Then we go out speaking (our US friends would say we go out to ‘rock the platform’).

This all costs time and money upfront, in the hope that people will like what we have to say and pay us for it.

We have to promote ourselves, so we get active on social media, arrange free webinars, do showcases, and issue newsletters that our target audience might see. We also build our connections in places where we are travelling.

If we are lucky, we will earn more money than we spend, and people won’t just download or share our stuff without paying for it.

My current favourite band (thank you for asking) is The Temperance Movement.

We could all learn a few lessons from the way they are growing their fan base.

They work hard, really hard, to develop an excellent product. Unlike many bands (and speakers), they have invested in tip-top professional design for their website and other marketing materials. They keep their audience engaged with inside information via blog posts and social media updates. They share the stage with other performers for a bigger and better show (for example, they backed the Rolling Stones around Europe). They sell branded products to generate passive income.

I saw an interview where they were asked about the band name. Unexpectedly, it’s not about avoiding alcohol. It’s to do with moderation in all things, clarity about where they want to go, and focus on getting there. Just like any other business.

Let’s rock. And indeed, roll.

If you have a moment to spare, I hope you enjoy this – my favourite track from my favourite band.

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