If there is a speaking topic out there, it’s a pretty good bet that someone, somewhere is making money speaking about it. Some speakers have a unique background in the topic or work in a particular industry, and some choose the topic based on a burning passion to learn more about it and share that knowledge with others.

Here are three speakers with niche speaking topics who have made a career out of a passion:

Tom Ingrassia – Motown

Tom is an example of a speaker who took a passion and turned it into a book and speaking career. He’d had a long, successful career in education, but in 2001 he decided to act on a lifelong dream of working in the entertainment industry.

Tom is an accomplished music journalist, with more than 25 articles printed in publications ranging from Billboard, Record Auction Monthly, and San Francisco Hot Ticket. He collaborated with Barbara Alston (of The Crystals) on her autobiography, “There’s No Other,” and Carl Gardner’s (of The Coasters) autobiography, “Yakey Yak, I Fought Back” before writing his own book “Reflections of a Love Supreme: Motown Through The Eyes of Fans”. Tom is also the host of  “The Motown Jukebox” on WCUW 91.3FM, in Worcester, MA.

His pop culture programs, “Motown and The Civil Rights Movement” and “Girl Power: The Supremes As Cultural Icons” have been presented at the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity, on college campuses, for performing arts centers, museums, senior centers, libraries, and business groups.



John Granger – Harry Potter

John Granger is another speaker who turned a passion into a writing and speaking career. According to John, he became a Potter Pundit in response to the ‘Potter Panic’ of 1999-2007, during which it was widely believed that the popular series was “the gateway to the occult” and poorly written. His books and talks have overturned this narrative — and have earned him the title “the Dean of Harry Potter Scholars” from TIME magazine.

John is the author of several books on the subject of Harry Potter including “How Harry Cast His Spell: The Meaning Behind the Mania for J. K. Rowling’s Bestselling Books” and “Harry Potter Smart Talk”.

His speech “Why we Love the Harry Potter  Stories — Exploration of the Artistry and Meaning of Joanne Rowling’s Hogwarts Saga” has been given at universities, academic and fan conferences, and churches.



Julianne Soviero – Sports Scholarships

If you read through Julianne’s website you will see that she is absolutely obsessed with pitching. In fact she says so on the first page! And she has the credentials to back it up. She was an All-County Athlete, the recipient of a Division I athletic scholarship, and an academic All-American.  She has over twenty years experience pitching and over fifteen years of experience teaching pitching.

She speaks on the topic of sports scholarships, which is a surprisingly complex topic and is usually hired by travel teams. She’s even written a book on the subject called “Empowered Recruiting”. She says she got started on this topic because of working with female pitchers, many of whom earned scholarships in an increasingly complex market.



These speakers have turned their passion into a lucrative speaking career in a specialized niche. Do you speak on a niche topic?



A niche directory listing is one of the most effective and least expensive ways to get targeted traffic from the exact customers you’re trying to reach. Search engines put a lot of weight on topic related backlinks, and being listed in a high ranking niche site, which is monitored by humans, is invaluable.

Here are some of the benefits of being in a niche directory:

  1. Keyword focused, quality, one way link – Link building is one of the most powerful things you can do to to drive traffic to your website. But not all links are equal in the eyes of the search engines. A good quality, one way link from a reputable, high ranking directory in your target niche market is one way to assure the search engines will love you. And you can never have too much link love.
  2. Extremely targeted traffic – Just being in a niche directory with others in your industry helps drive traffic to you. If a meeting planner comes to a site looking for a speaker, she will also see you. Being listed in the same place as your competition can be a good thing. A meeting planner who needs one speaker will also be looking for other speakers. This is one reason being listed on a niche directory is better than a general directory. You’re being exposed to new clients every day. In the search engine’s opinion, being on several good, quality niche directories is better than being on 100 general ones.
  3. Much cheaper than advertising – You could easily go through $100 in PPC ads or other forms of advertising, and it’s something you have to continuously keep up. If you run out of money, your ad goes down. But with a directory, that same $100 would last you for a whole year and would be driving traffic on autopilot to exactly the customers you’re trying to reach.
  4. Tax deduction – Being listed on a directory is a business write-off for speakers, authors, consultants and entertainers. Look at it as an inexpensive marketing tool that can be written off on your taxes.
  5. Control – You have the control to change or add content to your online listing whenever you want. You can’t do that with a printed directory.
  6. Thought leadership – Being in a targeted industry directory with other people who are thought leaders, puts you in the same category.

Being listed in a niche directory in your target industry is one of the most important marketing tools you can use as a speaker.