How to Boost Your Speaking and Consulting Career Through Perceived Authority

I had the honor of being the keynote speaker at the Thrive Winter Workshop 2023, organized by the National Speakers Association (NSA), where I spoke and demonstrated how to build perceived authority by leveraging the power of short-form videos.

NSA Thrive Winter Workshop 2023

I’m nearly 50, and I’ve got the top-selling social media book on Amazon right now—it’s about TikTok. Perry Marshall co-authored the book, and that’s a big reason we’ve sold so many copies.

short-form video
Best-selling book on Amazon

But here’s a little secret about why it’s a hit, even though I’m older, and TikTok usually appeals to the younger crowd. I interviewed several young adults. I asked them, “Explain to me like I’m five—how do you have six million followers on TikTok and land all these brand deals? What am I doing wrong?”

So, I hang out with young adults, like Jacob Hastings.

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A photo from the NSA Thrive Event in 2023

On the day of this event, it was Jacob’s fifth day working with us at BlitzMetrics. He’d never been on stage before, and I played a welcome video for him created by my friend, Perez Hilton, a celebrity blogger, on stage.

“Greetings, NSA team! My name is Perez Hilton, and I wanted to send you a video message. Unfortunately, I won’t be able to attend in person, but who knows? Maybe I’ll surprise you all and pop up.

I wanted to take a moment to commend Dennis Yu for being a superstar who surrounds himself with other superstars like Jacob Hastings. Jacob, you’re an outstanding social media expert, and I have no doubt that your speech will be fantastic. Your advice is always valuable, and I know you’re busy with video production and clients, but I encourage you to have fun and inspire others.

Remember, having someone like Dennis on your team is a blessing, and as the saying goes, teamwork makes the dream work.”

Do you know why? Because a shout-out from Perez Hilton is much more powerful than Jacob, a 23-year-old social media specialist and life coach, talking about his own expertise.

You need authoritative figures to endorse you, rather than being the only one praising your skills. This is especially true if you’re a public speaker looking to get booked on more stages.

So, how do you get influential people to talk about you?

Being able to speak concisely in public is an art. I could simply tell you how to create a compelling one-minute video myself, or I could have someone like Grant Cardone answer a question like, “What are some of the best tips for creating one-minute videos?”

Now, check out this video here by Grant Cardone, which generated 130,000 views on my Facebook alone:

Grant Cardone giving tips on how to make the best one-minute videos

So why would I choose to feature Grant Cardone instead of talking about my own skills in making one-minute videos?

The reason is social proof. Grant Cardone has more followers, and it’s always better to let someone else talk about you. Because there’s a difference between perceived authority and actual authority, and this is what works on TikTok.

How to Get Booked on Your Preferred Stages by Building Perceived Authority

I’m going to show you how short-form video is about building that perceived authority. It’s all about the hook—who’s saying it, where it’s being said, and what makes it interesting.

Let me give you an example of how I built perceived authority in a TV interview with CNN. They called me in to debate Mark Zuckerberg about privacy and Cambridge Analytica. I was nervous in the first 10 seconds, as I was seeing myself live on the TV screen, it was unbelievable. But then, when I started talking and was asked whether Facebook should be regulated, I responded with “do you think cigarette companies can make their own rules?” Mark Zuckerberg was not able to respond to that, so I think I won.

The point is that we all have moments of high authority, and it’s essential to create perceived authority in our short-form videos.

You possess a range of high authority moments, such as your speaker reel, on-stage footage, coaching clients, LinkedIn recommendations, testimonials, and even videos of you connecting with others during breaks in events such as this one.

You can use these little videos and use them as fuel to secure more speaking engagements for you.

Let me share a little secret with you: Dollar a Day Strategy.

I leveraged a clip of myself on CNN and targeted individuals who work at the Washington Post, CNN, NPR, and the LA Times. By doing so, when someone searches for “LA Times Dennis Yu,” they will see me on TV or me being quoted. This micro-targeting approach helps me control what these editorial, publisher, or conference organizer audiences see about me.

And I achieve this for just a Dollar a Day.

I’ve built my entire career on creating perceived authority through these means, even from footage from 10 years ago when I had hair. For example, this approach worked for me in securing Nike as a client for their global conference.

By showcasing my work with Adidas on stage and using clips with their permission, I targeted Nike’s marketing team, and that’s how I got booked at Nike.

You too can apply this strategy to your speaking business, even if you haven’t appeared on TV. The key is to establish authority in your topic.

How to Establish Authority on Any Topic Using the Content Factory Framework

Let’s now discuss what this framework entails. We offer a course called “TikTok for Real Business Owners.”

Let’s briefly go through the course, which spans a whole week. It’s not about being famous or showcasing your dancing or singing skills. Instead, it’s about sharing your expertise and breaking down your long-form content into micro pieces that will tell the algorithm what you want.

Do you want engagements, coaching clients, book promotion, podcast interviews, or bookings? You can use Zoom calls or three-minute interviews to create your long-form content, which will then be chopped up into small pieces that will go into your Content Factory.

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The Four Stages of the Content Factory

As a speaker or entertainer, you’ll produce content and build relationships. However, you’ll also need someone to process that content, such as a virtual assistant, someone from Fiverr, or even your son or daughter.

The repurposed content will be pushed out to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Snapchat, or any other social media platforms you use. You don’t have to create specific content for each platform because you’re not trying to become an influencer. Instead, you’re using these platforms for business purposes, such as getting booked for $50,000 keynotes.

Once you find a winner, the content stays in the promotion category, and you can use it for years.

There are four stages that all your content needs to go through. The first stage is production, followed by processing, publishing, and promotion. I’ve got content from 20 years ago, that’s still running on Dollar a Day, and it’s still ranking in Google search results. You’ll also need to use different tools for each stage, and these tools are constantly changing. For example, while AI deep fakes and GPT chatbots are excellent tools, the way to beat them is by starting with the purest signal, such as relationships and video content.

We’re having dinner tonight with Shep Hyken and some other folks at Ruth’s Chris, and we will capture that and feed it through the Content Factory. This way, we’ll use actual real content rather than synthetic media and let the AI enhance it.

Technology is a multiplier, and it has evolved from the simple landing page sales page and Google SEO to longer-form pieces of content broken down into smaller pieces.

So, for example, you might have a webinar, a YouTube video, or a podcast, and you can pull out little one-minute highlights to use as an appetizer or movie trailer to attract people to your speaker page or products and services.

Use a Compelling Statement or Hook to Grab People’s Attention

short-form video

You need to begin with a compelling statement to grab people’s attention. Start by reflecting on your achievements and think about the outcome you’ve produced. You only have three seconds to catch the viewer’s eye, so keep it concise. Then, in two seconds, briefly explain how you accomplished your success. Finally, introduce yourself and end with a call to action. You have 15 seconds to do all of this.

Here’s an example:

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“With one LinkedIn comment, Richard landed a $10,000 speaking gig. A simple piece of advice on someone’s post was all it took. They shared it with their boss, who then hired me to train their company. I’m Richard Bliss, and I offer LinkedIn training services that can help you achieve similar success.”

Post Your 15-Second Video on All Your Social Media Channels

After recording that video live, I posted it across all social media channels, since the content works well regardless of the platform. I then boosted it for a dollar a day, using the caption “Richard Bliss – LinkedIn Sales Secret,” and targeted lookalikes of the National Speakers Association followers. Guess who everyone saw all over their feeds for the next seven days? Richard Bliss.

Use a Mix of High Authority and Amateur Content to Get More Conversions

If you have a clear value proposition highlighting the results you’ve achieved with corporate executives, you can target these people with a mix of high authority content and amateur content, which surprisingly converts well. Even if you have a professional image, amateur content can still be effective.

Here’s an example to illustrate my point. Caleb Williams, whom I refer to as my Lighthouse, is a well-known figure among insurance advisors and serves as the main speaker for the National Association of Insurance and Financial Advisors.

By collaborating with Caleb on content creation, we achieved an exceptional 38% link click rate on an ad I ran. This is a remarkable improvement compared to the average click-through rate of 0.2%. By leveraging Caleb’s authority, we developed a landing page featuring a video that resonated with our target audience, even though they were unfamiliar with me.

Here’s an excerpt of what Caleb said in the video:

“In this one-minute video masterclass, I am thrilled to share with you the power of one-minute videos. It is particularly special to me because Dennis Yu was one of the first people to guide me in marketing, and we often shared the stage together. He emphasized the significance of one-minute videos.

Inception with Ads: Leveraging Authority for Effective Marketing

I will now demonstrate how to use inception with ads. My target audience is members of NAFA, who know Caleb Williams as a shining poster boy. By co-creating content with him, I can leverage his authority instead of relying on my own.

This has resulted in numerous speaking engagements for me, with this ad running for over a year and still achieving a 38% click-through rate.

We offer free content, collect email addresses, and continue to sell other services, such as coaching and speaking engagements. By using older content, we’re able to leverage authority effectively.

Do you have a target list of people you want to reach, such as conference organizers or industry associations? Inception is about manipulating your audience to see exactly what you want them to see. Think about how you can use this approach.

What topic do you want to rank for or be known for? See who the top creators are on TikTok or YouTube for this topic. By mirroring their content, we can create similar videos that resonate with the audience. We can collaborate with them or react to their videos to gain more visibility and potentially go viral.

The Unique Power of TikTok – Spark Ads

Let me tell you about World Gym, one of our clients. It’s a famous bodybuilding gym where Arnold Schwarzenegger and other bodybuilders used to train.

Although they previously tried corporate advertising, they found that the most popular videos about World Gym were made by regular people, not fitness influencers.

So, we decided to reach out to those people and offered to sponsor their posts by using Spark ads. This feature is unique to TikTok, as other social media platforms don’t allow such sponsored content.

TikTok recognizes that many businesses and speakers don’t have the time or desire to create content, so letting your audience do the work for you is crucial.

By sponsoring posts made by fans, we don’t need a whole social media team or agency. Instead, we reach out to the influencers we like and offer to promote their posts for a small fee.

This approach allows us to outsource social media and collect positive content from our fans. So, who are your fans, and what positive things are they saying about you? Collecting and utilizing their content can be an effective way to promote your brand.

How to Use Descript for Deep Fake AI

Here’s how you can use Descript for deep fake AI. Let’s say we record this initially with the camera and transcribe it using Descript. “Hello, my name is Jacob from the NSA, and I would like to express my gratitude to Jamie, Shep, and everyone in San Antonio. You guys are amazing, and my favorite food is Panda Express.”

We will now use AI’s deep fake technology to modify the text, such as replacing Jamie’s name with someone else’s. For example, let’s use the name Mike instead. Then select “Over Dub” to record the modified text, such as changing the location from San Antonio to Chicago.

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Select Over Dub to record modified text to change what was said in the original video

The purpose of this demonstration is not to scare you with AI technology but to emphasize the importance of personalization and follow-up when communicating with clients. By creating one video, you can generate multiple customized messages. Therefore, it is important to start with authentic content to stay ahead of AI-generated material.

About NSA

NSA is a professional organization for individuals who speak professionally or aspire to become professional speakers. It was founded in 1973 and is based in Tempe, Arizona. The organization has over 3,500 members worldwide and is dedicated to advancing the art and business of speaking.

Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu
Dennis Yu is co-author of the #1 best-selling book on Amazon in social media, The Definitive Guide to TikTok Ads.  He has spent a billion dollars on Facebook ads across his agencies and agencies he advises. Mr. Yu is the "million jobs" guy-- on a mission to create one million jobs via hands-on social media training, partnering with universities and professional organizations.You can find him quoted in major publications and on television such as CNN, the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, NPR, and LA Times. Clients have included Nike, Red Bull, the Golden State Warriors, Ashley Furniture, Quiznos-- down to local service businesses like real estate agents and dentists. He's spoken at over 750 conferences in 20 countries, having flown over 6 million miles in the last 30 years to train up young adults and business owners. He speaks for free as long as the organization believes in the job-creation mission and covers business class travel.You can find him hiking tall mountains, eating chicken wings, and taking Kaqun oxygen baths-- likely in a city near you.