I assume that you know basic details for target speakers such as what topics they have been speaking on, in what kind of conferences, and where they have been often travelling. Share your conference details for
(a) the kind of audience you expect
(b) the conference topics (multiple tracks if you have)
(c) the names of other confirmed speakers
(d) whatever program if finalized even if without the actual schedule
(e) the business and networking opportunities
Share the buzz and how the community is active and involved in your conference. This gives them a real behind-the-scenes picture your planning and vision of the conference.
Next, pick some of their tweets or blog posts (or their comments, notes) that talk about their related experience and skills, and write a note on how they can add real value to the conference.
Last, offer them some incentive to travel to your city, some travel points, a note on foods, culture or festivals. Most of the speakers who travel, love exploring the local places. Do not forget to talk about the hotel and basic facilities too.
Need more details? Setup a call and I can share more directions! :)
If you're looking for the best, that means you have a budget for hiring them. GREAT!
1) A site I recommend you visit is eSpeaker.com
2) You can also search for a company local to you (or not) that represent speakers. They'll provide you with the names and information of the best people for your situation.
3) Ask your audience for recommendations
4) Search using LinkedIn
5) Search using Clarity.fm!
This is easy. I do something similar all the time. Get on their mailing lists and respond to the auto-responders with the question. You will be surprised to find that many times you will get a reply.
Don't stop taking massive action.
Best of Luck,
Michael T. Irvin
My books are available exclusively through Amazon Books. Check out my book "Copywriting Blackbook of Secrets"
Copywriting, Startups, Internet Entrepreneur, Online Marketing, Making Money
The easy answer is to give them something that they want. Although this could be money, it could also be access to your audience. Find out what they are interested in achieving with their speaking engagements, and then make that available to them.
Are they a spokesperson for cancer research? Agree to donate a portion of your conference fees to cancer research. You get the idea - find something they are passionate about, and help them.
I've organized lots of speaker events from near-scratch and brought in committed, interesting and very high-profile speakers (and performers) to what you'd think would be very low-profile events (since I've worked mostly in early-stage).
Here's the secret: They love speaking.
That inside information should embolden you to approach them, since you're asking them to do one of their favorite things.
Another way to say this is to think of this not at all as a difficult problem, or a hill to climb, but as a favor you're extending the prospective speaker.
I'm going to assume you know what you're doing and have thoughtfully aligned your brand and themes with the speakers you want.
And of course, you can call me if you want to discuss further. :-)