Don’t Create Your Next High-Profit Summit Until You Know These Facts


Now that you’re an expert in Webinars it’s time for some real stress…hosting your own virtual summit.

You ready?

Of course you’re not. Read on to find out how to present your own virtual summit successfully.

What is A Virtual Summit?

A virtual summit is an online gathering of thought leaders speaking on a centralized topic. That topic can be broad and wide with different offshoots, say, for instance, productivity.

So you can have speakers speak on topics of productivity, like productivity in your workspace, productivity with your daily routine, etc.

Or you can choose to go narrow and deep, focused on a single issue within a niche, say, transitioning to a vegan lifestyle. Your speakers could all share their personal experiences going vegan and what helped them.

Within each framework is an incredible canvas for creativity, design, intention and opportunity.

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The Benefits of Hosting Your Own Summit

A virtual summit is a lot of work. So what’s the point of doing one?

You’ll be able to position yourself as a thought leader in your market. Much of the work that goes into creating, designing and curating a summit is connection building.

You’ll be connecting with thought leaders and making inroads into your community like never before.

You will need to go out to your community to find those thought leaders or people who know them. This will raise your visibility and influence.

You will create relationship capital with people across your industry. With, even a moderately successful, summit people will be grateful and will remember the effort and time you took to pursue them and set them up for success.

And of course, you will have to opportunity to create joint ventures. Those joint ventures can last a long time. I have joint venture partnerships that I’ve had for the last 10 years. Can you imagine the relationship capital I have with people that I continue to make money with and for?

There are a lot of benefits to hosting your own virtual summit. Many will be professional, like what I’ve just described, but you will also derive a lot of personal benefit from an experience like that.

Don’t Overthink. Plan.

Am I sparking some excitement? Are you getting some ideas? Or is a virtual summit you’ve thought about for a while?

Either way, stop thinking about and just start taking some action. Why?

Because you won’t know if your idea is viable until you get it out there in the marketplace of ideas and start testing it. Are others excited? Do you have an audience? Is there interest from thought leaders?

Then start.

What are the first steps?

Choose a Topic – Start with Your Market

As always, my mantra is…don’t start with your message, start with your market.

Who will your audience be?

Let’s meet Marlena, the massage therapist. She has a robust business and is ready to get some more exposure and position herself as a leader in her industry. But there’s an issue, she’s in the middle of a pandemic. How crazy is that? Anyhoo…

She’s done a few successful webinars. She’s published her own workbook based on the info in the webinar: How to Reduce Stress in Every Area of Your Life: Tips, Strategies and Principles for Stress-Less Living. She has a decent social media following. She’s finding her voice.

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She’s ready to go to the next level and curate her own virtual summit. It’s at this stage that she’ll want to do some surveying. She’ll want to find out what other massage therapists may be asking themselves or trying to figure out.

She does some surveys; She reaches out to her friends and colleagues and asks them what they may be looking for; She gets a consensus.

The topic of her summit is: staying successful in a hands-on market during a hands-off pandemic. How many massage therapists would consider attending that right now?? So we have our topic. It’s narrow and deep, covering one topic in-depth from several points of view.

So the first step is choosing your topic. But you need to know your market in order to choose your topic. Ok, what’s next?

Gather Your Leaders

A summit is a collection of voices. It takes pressure off of you as the single focus of an event but another pressure sets in. Getting your thoughts leaders to agree to join your summit.

There are several enticements you can off them…

  • Joint Venture Partnerships
  • Greater Visibility
  • Percentage of Profits

So make sure you spend a bit of time working out your funnel before you approach people so you know what you can and can’t offer them. Figure out where on your marketing funnel you can position your summit and the subsequent, repurposed content.

And look, what if you only have 3 people who want to commit to your summit? Great! Don’t be discouraged by the numbers. Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity. You can do this!

Pick A Date

The last ‘big picture’ step is picking your date for the summit. If it’s going to be a live event you’ll want to figure out everyone’s schedules but if it’s a recorded event you can obviously be more flexible.

But don’t schedule out too far in advance. Create tension for yourself and expectation for your audience. The tension of planning something sooner rather than later means that you will be forced to start working and get this done. Again…

Sloppy success is better than perfect mediocrity. ~Me

I really can’t stress that enough. Your first summit will not be perfect. Just start.

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Know Your Niche

Don’t just know your content. Know your audience. You must have a clear understanding of, not just your market, but your niche. In the example of Marlena, our massage therapist, she’s going narrow and deep on her topic.

Why did she decide to go narrow and deep?

She went to her friends, colleagues and followers. During that process she found out a lot about her market.

She found out her market is made of a lot of people that simply love a good massage. And she may even get a few of those lay people who sign up to her summit. Maybe there are a few of her followers who’ve been wanting to get into massage therapy as a career.

But the majority of her signups are her niche. These are dedicated Licensed Massage Therapists who follow Marlena because she’s a budding thought leader in their industry.

When Marlena starts to curate the content of her summit she’ll know what to include and leave out because she knows her niche and what they need and want to listen to right now.

Knowing your niche will help you curate your content.

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Repurpose. Repurpose. Repurpose.

A summit is the perfect opportunity to repurpose content! The most common and typical way to repurpose a summit is to offer the summit for free and then charge for the replays.

Of course this doesn’t have to be your template. You can choose to have a paywall for your summit and repurpose the content for free or a lower price.

You could offer your summit for free while charging a fee for the accompanying workbook.

One of the things I like to do it is have a professional note-taker come in and take notes during the summit. You can then repurpose the collated notes into a PDF. If your summit is prerecorded then you can offer the PDF ahead of time. It could be a free gift when purchasing the summit. Or it could be a paid product to accompany your free summit.

When the summit and replays are over you can repurpose the recordings and presentations into other forms of content.

  • A short-series podcast
  • Chunked down video clips for your YouTube channel
  • A compilation book
  • An email video series

The possibilities are as endless as your imagination. After the summit you and your presenters will have a lot of content to play with and share.

There Is No Santa Claus

And now for a word about presenters and thought leaders.

A thought leader can be a well-known figure like Tony Robbins. He’s a thought leader. Are you going to get him to join your summit? Prolly not.

But thought leaders can also have much less visibility and be known only within your market, or even your niche. You may even stumble upon a willing presenter who isn’t really known by anyone but has good and solid content. An up-and-comer.

There are two ways to pull people into your summit:

  • Name Recognition
  • Content

No matter who you manage to get to agree to present, you must have good content. Without good content you will risk your own reputation along with the reps of your presenters. So Content is King, even in summits.

But content doesn’t always pull people into your summit. You may have to rely on the name recognition of your presenters. So it always helps to have one or two people with at least some name recognition in your industry, market or niche.

But let’s kill some sacred cows.

Thought leaders are human, however well-known they may or may not be. So keep in mind that sh*t may or may not happen with regards to thought leaders.

They won’t show up. They won’t email their own lists. They won’t market for you. They won’t come with the best material.

People Will Disappoint You. So be prepared for that. Have contingencies in place for all the disappointments and screw-ups. Be prepared.

What’s the Point???

The purpose of a summit is not to make money. If you focus on the money you will again be disappointed, especially if it’s your first one. That being said, you can make money and do well. But that’s not the point.

The real and hidden purpose of creating and curating a summit is to build relationships and build your lists. You will build relationships in three specific areas:

  • Thought Leaders
  • Your Industry
  • Your Market

If you plan on sticking around and expanding your sphere of influence you will create relationships and relationship capital that will pay dividends for a long time to come.

This is not fruitless pursuit. These relationships will convert into dollars over time. As your reputation, influence and expertise rise so will the value of your company.

You can and will make money from a summit if you build a smart funnel. But the true value of a summit is its ability to bring people together.

You Will Need A Team

The very last thing you need to know is you will need a team. Period.

Even if your first summit is a half day with 3 speakers you will not be able to create and curate a summit by yourself. You will need people to assist you because the details are too great for one person.

So this may be your first test of coalition-building and relationship capital. Can you assemble a good group of people who can pull this thing off?

You can.

Does it have to be a large team? What’s large? Is a 10-member team large? Not if your summit is 25 speakers. 10 may not be large enough.

Your first summit won’t be 25 presenters. It shouldn’t be 25 presenters.

But even if your team is only 3 people you can pull off a lot.

The most important thing is having a team, of any size. Just make sure you have one. You will need more than one brain to track all these details and figure it all out.

The Wrap Up

Don’t overthink this.

Summits are fun, exciting and teach you so much, both on the front end and behind the scenes!

  • Talk to your market
  • Get to know your niche
  • Decide on your subject
  • Gather your leaders
  • Choose a date
  • Go!

And remember to spend time on your funnel. Create a repurposing strategy. Get your team together and remember…thought leaders are human. Have contingencies for everything.

You got this. You will learn so much and you will have fun creating and curating something that will pay dividends for a long time to come.

How well do you know your market? What message do you want your summit guests to walk away with? Do you know?

Click here for a 4-part video series that breaks down how to understand your market, your message and the media you want to deliver through.

Have you ever hosted your own Virtual Summit?

How was your experience?

Join the Conversation>>

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