SearchLove Community Speakers 2019: Applications Now Open

It’s crazy to think that a year has passed since we launched the SearchLove community speaker project. Since then we’ve worked alongside 9 relatively new speakers from Birmingham (UK), Leeds, Belfast, Boston and San Diego, and then had the pleasure of seeing them deliver amazing presentations to audiences at SearchLove London, San Diego and Boston. 

Here’s the best bit: we’re going to do it all over again. Applications for SearchLove London community speakers are now open and we want you to apply!

What is a SearchLove community speaker?

Our community speaker sessions are 20 minutes long and delivered by speakers who have been supported and coached by the Distilled team to take their presenting skills to the next level.  

If this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of then we are looking for speakers who are:

  1. Looking for opportunities to improve their speaking and presenting skills. It doesn’t matter if you have no speaking experience, have spoken at a meet-up or have some experience; we want to hear from you.
  2. Willing to travel to London to work with our team and attend the conference. 
  3. Available to join us at SearchLove London on 14th & 15th October 2019.

apply to be a searchlove community speaker

We want to give this opportunity to local folks, and so we'll only be accepting pitches from applicants willing to travel to London for this particular conference. If successful, you will be responsible for your own travel and accommodation. If you’re a sponsor and want to help this year’s speakers with costs reach out to us via events@distilled.net.

I knew speaking at SearchLove would be valuable for me, but I really underestimated the amount of time, effort and direction that the Distilled team would provide. They were beyond instrumental in making my presentation a success for both myself and the audience. While they let me drive and own the presentation/content their willingness to meet with me, go through dry runs and give me feedback proved to be a huge learning experience for myself that I'll take with me for the rest of my career.

James Corr, Siege Media, SearchLove San Diego 2019 Community Speaker

What’s in it for us and our audience?

Each year our events team work extremely hard to find the best speakers from across the industry to wow our audiences. But, we are also keen to find those that haven’t yet had an opportunity and give them a platform to excel.

We know that there are passionate people just waiting to break through, and with the help and support of our team, the SearchLove conferences are the perfect place to do that. 

Sessions delivered by previous community speakers

  • Andi Jarvis - People are Predictable (Marketing Psychology)
  • Laura Hogan - Controlling Branded SERPs and Preventing Negative Press (SEO)
  • Luke Carthy - How to Nail SEO for Discontinued Products (Technical SEO)
  • Nancy-Lee McLaughlin - Advertising on Amazon: Amazon's Most Powerful Sales Drivers (Amazon PPC)
  • Raffa Asquer - Why, When and How You Should Update Your Content (Content Marketing)
  • James Corr - How to Better Communicate with Data (Data Visualisation & Reporting)
  • Aja Frost - The Keyword Research Process that Increased HubSpot Blog Organic Traffic by 4.4 Million in 1 Year (Content Strategy & SEO)
  • Vince Nero - Creating Great Content in Boring Industries (Content Strategy)
  • Francine Rodriguez - Más PPC Por Favor – Reaching Hispanic Audiences Through Search (International PPC)

We’re also keen to ensure that we attract a diverse pool of speakers, who come from a variety of backgrounds and experiences. We make our best effort to ensure each conference has a 50/50 split of men and women on stage, and by running this initiative, hope to continue to build a pipeline of talented speakers that can drive this forward at our own and other conferences. You can tell we’re serious about building a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for our speakers and delegates from the way we bake our code of conduct into our events.

Yes, we are aware that we will get a collection of overconfident white men applying (yes, I see the irony in my writing that) but if that doesn’t describe you, I’d especially encourage you to throw your hat in the ring.

What’s in it for you?

This experience completely changed the way I deliver my talks. No one had ever critiqued my decks to this extent before or given such detailed feedback - and it was invaluable. Because of the advice from the Distilled team I'm now speaking at two events I've never done before this year!

I've also made friends for life with Luke and Andi. You become a little family (with the Distilled team like your aunts and uncles!) and having that support from other peers within the industry is such a boost.

Laura Hogan, Milos Mail, SearchLove London 2018 Community Speaker

The community speaker programme should act as a platform for you to move onto stages all around the world. As a result of the community speaker sessions, we’ve already seen previous community speakers jump from speaking at local meetups to jumping on stages at places such as MozCon in less than a year!

Here’s the full package you’ll receive along with your 20 minutes on stage:

  • A half day of speaker workshops in our London office
  • Deck review and content call to bounce around your session ideas
  • 1 to 1 ongoing support from a Distilled team member
  • Final in-person review with myself and the Distilled team in London before the conference
  • VIP ticket to attend SearchLove London including attending the VIP dinner with all the other speakers the night before the conference
  • A nice bunch of Distilled and SearchLove swag
  • Photo and video pack of your session

A note on the video requirement

Part of our application process requires you to send a video of yourself speaking. We decided to include this because we feel it’s the best way to get to see your presenting style and personality. We also understand that speakers with less experience might not have professionally shot video footage of themselves in action. We wanted to make this process inclusive, and something that everyone can put together. 

What we need from you:

  • The video doesn’t need to be professionally shot and lit. A selfie from a mobile phone is perfectly acceptable, in fact, all our successful community speakers to date have applied in this way. Make sure you think about how you might stand out from the crowd.
  • Demonstrate your enthusiasm, public speaking capabilities and a bit of your depth of knowledge on your chosen topic.
  • Upload the video to a hosting platform such as Wistia, YouTube or Google Drive and double-check the permissions so our team can access it.

I wouldn’t want to ask you to do something that I wouldn’t do myself, so here’s my pitch for the SearchLove community speaker sessions.

A personal note

I’ve seen in my own career how powerful it has been to get better at public speaking and also the benefits of appearing on bigger stages. Having run a successful community speaker program at our London, Boston and San Diego conferences, I know that we can help more people on this journey.

I’ve been lucky enough to get a start at our own events to bootstrap my way to bigger opportunities but I remember the 20 or so people who paid less than £20 each to come to our first meet-up. We have also now built up enough of a support and coaching capability within Distilled that we have helped members of our team go from their first speaking opportunity to highly-rated SearchLove sessions in a matter of months. I want to bring those opportunities to more people. That means YOU.

I would strongly encourage you to think about the actual requirements. Don’t fall prey to imposter syndrome: are there things you are passionate about, where you have deep hands-on knowledge, and where you can teach even an experienced audience new things? If so, don’t sweat your speaking experience - let us be the judge of potential and get your application in.

How to apply

You’ll need to tell us:

  • Why you’d like to speak at SearchLove London
  • Where you are based
  • What your speaking experience looks like so far
  • What topic you’d like to talk about - the more specific and actionable a topic you can describe, the better
  • Remember, the closing date for applications is Wednesday 31st July.

And you’ll need to send us a short video as I described above! If you have any questions feel free to use the comments below or reach out to us on Twitter.

apply to be a searchlove community speaker

Not ready to take the stage yet? Come and join us at this year’s SearchLove London as an attendee or get in touch with us for information sponsoring one of the many sponsorship opportunities we have available.

Get blog posts via email

About the author
Will Critchlow

Will Critchlow

Will founded Distilled with Duncan in 2005. Since then, he has consulted with some of the world’s largest organisations and most famous websites, spoken at most major industry events and regularly appeared in local and national press. For the...   read more