Online summits are a fantastic way to share knowledge from experts in your field, expand your reach, and increase revenue!


In this interview with Katie Heddleson, we talk about launching her very first online summit (registration is NOW OPEN for the Real Runners Summit), how to reach out to guest speakers, and tips and tools she absolutely recommends to anyone putting together a virtual summit.


Fitpreneur Interview with Katie Heddleston- Launching an Online Summit
I watched my first online summit (The Online Trainers Summit) last year and it truly changed the way I look at my blog and fitness business.


Expert speakers share insider tips and advice – and you feel like you are right there with them at a conference – yet you don’t have to pay hundreds of dollars, buy an airline ticket to travel, or even leave the comfort of your own home!


Since discovering the power of virtual summits, I have signed up for a few more over the past year… a wellness business summit, a mom boss summit, and, am currently working my way through the Digital Product Summit.


I have taken something away from every single summit – and if I had more time – I would seriously watch these expert interviews every darn day!


Fitpreneur Interview w/ @KatieHeddleston: Launching an Online Summit #onlinesummit #businessadvice Click To Tweet


I connected with Katie in Nicole Culver’s Blogger to Business membership group. When I learned Katie was launching her very own virtual summit for runners, I just had to ask her all sorts of online business questions!


Katie was kind enough give us a little behind-the-scenes sneak peak into creating an online summit!


Fitpreneur Interview with Katie Heddleson


Where to find Katie:

On her blog at

Twitter: @KatieHeddleston

Instagram: @katieheddleston

Facebook: Healthy Heddleson

Pinterest: Katie Heddleson


Her online summit: Real Runners Virtual Summit




Can you share a little about the summit and why you decided to create it?



The Real Runners Virtual Summit is a place to grow as a runner while receiving expert advice, tips, and inspiration.

It’s a place to connect with fellow runners, run coaches, an exercise physiologist, a registered dietitian (me!), book authors, and more!

And it’s a place where you’ll feel comfortable asking questions to the speakers on their expert topic.

I decided to create this summit because I feel there are so many amazing experts in this field – but the ability to access them all in one space – was missing. The virtual element of the summit was important since we all lead busy lives, yet we all want to feel connected to something, too.

The Real Runners Virtual Summit is really going to be something special.


Check out the Real Runners Virtual Summit for expert advice, tips, and inspiration #runners Click To Tweet



What is the FIRST step you would recommend to someone interested in creating an online summit?



It might sound odd or it might completely obvious, but attend an online summit before creating your own. Get to know what you liked and didn’t like about that summit and learn from it.

Also, connect with the summit host and see if they will take you under their wing a bit as your create your own summit. I definitely wouldn’t be where I am today, if it wasn’t for Nicole Culver, who runs the Food Entrepreneur Summits. She was so gracious in letter me pick her brain and then I joined her membership group to continue picking her brain during my launch.



Which tools are an absolute must when it comes to creating and launching an online summit?



Whew! This is a GREAT question.

First and foremost, you’ll need a landing page with all the summit information and you need it too look GOOD. Many people use Leadpages and, from what I’ve heard, that is a great option – but also expensive.

So, if you don’t have a need for it continuously, that may not be the way you want to go. I have a self-hosted wordpress site that uses Genesis Framework. So for my landing pages, I use the tool Beaver Builder to build beautiful pages.

You can then download the Dambuster genesis extension plugin to remove the headers, footers, sidebars to make the page more visually appealing and TRULY a landing page.

The other tool that was essential to the summit creation was using my Acuity Scheduler. The summit speakers were able to schedule their interview with me at their convenience, based on the availability I had inputted into the scheduler. This is just a fantastic tool and only $10/month.

I also use this tool in my business for discovery calls and even consults from time to time.



How did you reach out to guests and do offer them an incentive for speaking or promoting the summit?



I reached out to each guest speaker individually by email. I had an idea for their topic and had them decide if that’s the topic they actually wanted to discuss, haha. And yes, you DEFINITELY offer them an incentive.

For something like this, it’s best to set up an affiliate program, where the speakers earn money from people who register using their unique affiliate ID. For the purposes of my summit, they’re earning 50% of the registration costs. You can determine what % you’re comfortable with, but just realize it needs to be enticing for them to want to help promote… because without them, you can’t reach as many people yourself. Additionally, they have access to the full summit at no cost.



How did you market the summit?



Marketing is taking place through myself and all the affiliates. We use strategies such as email marketing, social media marketing, live video, posting in community groups, and more.

Marketing strategies these days are really endless – it’s just important that you don’t seem desperate or spammy. People can read right through those types of posts. We are also having early bird pricing before raising pricing – having a cart open and then close really helps people commit to pulling the trigger on signing up for something.



What impact do you hope the summit will have on your blog or business?



First, more than the summit having an impact on my blog and business, I just want this summit to touch as many lives as possible in a valuable and enriching way.

I want people to join this summit who then decide it’s FINALLY time for them to take control of their lives by getting healthier.

I want people to join this summit who are excited to learn about fueling their body properly and not just eating whatever they want because they ran that day.

The information and value these participants will take away is incredible – the small and big changes for their lives is the impact that I’m excited about.


Insider tips, tricks, and advice to help you launch your very first virtual summit! #biztips #entrepreneur Click To Tweet



Was there any one thing you learned along the way that you wish you knew when you started?



Everything takes just a little bit longer to do than you originally think it will take – especially when you’re working from home with three little boys!

So planning well in advance and reminding yourself that it is a process is key. Also, reminding yourself that you need breaks too is SO important.

I realize I work way more efficiently when I DON’T make myself work every night, so it’s important to have a schedule and stick to it – as long as breaks are in that schedule too!


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What is included in the Real Runners Virtual Summit?


The Real Runners Virtual Summit - registration now OPEN!! Feb 2016

Beginning February 20th, you will receive a daily email for 10 days with links to access the 26 master sessions.

We will take a break over the weekend and enjoy a virtual run together.

The summit will then connect in the private Real Runners group with any questions and further discussion about each topic.

Learn more and register for the Real Runners Virtual Summit HERE!



Let’s Chat

Have you ever attended a virtual summit? Which one(s)?

Would you ever consider creating and launching your own summit?



This post contains affiliate links to the Real Runners Summit. I only promote affiliate links to products or services I truly stand behind. Katie was nice enough to offer me an affiliate code for interviewing her – even though that was not why I wanted to feature her. While being an affiliate is a great opportunity to add a little jingle in my pocket as a blogger, the purpose of this post is to share Katie’s advice with fellow entrepreneurs and support this amazing lady!