People always ask me “What does it take to get a celebrity or influencer raving about my product or business?”. My answer is that it takes a lot of determination, perseverance, a plan of action, and making use of The Handbook’s celebrity and influencer resource.
I constantly have to remind my members and subscribers that celebrity association should not be an option. It should be part of every company’s marketing plan. In today’s world celebrities and influencers dominate social media, news headlines, TV channels and people’s conversations, with influencers and celebrities gracing the web and getting a stronger online presence than ever through their social media following. Using social media as their online currency, brands can be made or broken through as little as a tweet or a social media post.
- The only way to exponentially grow your company is through celebrity and influencer involvement
- The only way to get celebrity and influencer involvement is of course through The Handbook :-)
Celebrities and influencers dominate every aspect of the media. We want to know what they eat and wear, and where they party, holiday and shop. This interest isn’t just about adults – teenagers and even children have become obsessed with celebrities too.
Top celebrities (and influencers) get approached by hundreds of people and companies weekly, wanting their support to endorse their product, support their charity or attend a high profile event. This means that being able to successfully communicate with the celebrity of your choice is crucial.
Now I am guessing for a lot of you this may not be your first attempt at reaching out to celebrities and influencers. You may have tried it and failed in the past, and that’s not your fault. It’s hard to get hold of the right people without the resources, and it’s also hard to know the best way to approach them.
If you’ve been concerned in the past that you can’t grow your brand through endorsement, or maybe you’ve not felt your product is good enough, then let me tell you, it is possible, you can do this and get incredible results. You just need the right person to show you how to do it.
Big corporations want you to think you need a lot of venture capital or some enormous brand, but this is not true. Whether you have a big brand, or have recently set up your own small brand at home with just you, whatever situation you’re in we can help and we really want you to fulfil your dreams. Which is where I can help you fulfil your dream through celebrity alignment.
Like all businesses, brand recognition and outreach are exceedingly important to success, using a celebrity to create this recognition can be an excellent tool. In short, choosing the correct celebrity will create great media exposure. Not only do people pay attention, but they also talk; and with the power of social media, conversation momentum is more important than ever for campaign support and success. Top celebrities and influencers get approached by hundreds of people and companies weekly wanting their support to endorse their product, support their charity, or attend a high-profile event. This means that being able to successfully communicate with the celebrity or influencer of your choice is crucial. We have recently launched our Influencers magic box to help you do just this, with full contact details and audience insights for influencers, which I urge you to check out.
Luckily for you, The Handbook has put together our key tips on how to contact celebrities to ensure you that you get a response!
Why Listen To Us?
The Handbook has over 121,000 global celebrity contact details, which are updated on a regular basis. We are a key industry resource and online magazine for PR and Events companies, offering helpful tips and inspiration.
Why using our platform is so simple
We wanted to make influencer marketing SUPER simple, and for users to be able to reach influencers SUPER easily, therefore we have created an incredible tool which allows brands to email out to thousands of celebrities and influencers in seconds. Here’s how it works:
- You write an email campaign, this is an email about your product and why the celebrity or influencer will love it
- You select a group to target e.g. beauty influencers (our platform provides all of the contacts for this group and you can refine within a group like beauty influencers that live in London who have 50k-500k followers)
- You hit send and it reaches all of these influencers. Yes, you get to reach thousands of influencers in seconds, what’s clever is our platform inserts the influencer name, and allows you to insert the brand name, so each email appears personalised.
- You can also create your own lists and then email all the contacts on them
- You get responses directly from the influencers and can choose who you work with
Here’s where it all happens.
Here’s how to do it…
1) Have a solid proposition
Using The Handbook celebrity and influencer database email or ring the correct representative with a clear, concise and well thought-out case, stating how you would like the celebrity to get involved with your offering. If you are looking to book a celebrity for a personal appearance or an event, state the budget that you have and the dates that you would like the celebrity to attend. Many representatives absolutely will not approach their clients about a project unless it is definite, with solid dates and times.
If you are sending a product to a celebrity that you are hoping they may wear, The Handbook recommend that you contact the publicist or manager in advance to check the postal address and the size the item should be sent in. Also, remember to contact the right person. The agents’ main concern is getting commercial bookings for the celebrity, not making sure they hear about or acquire your product. Publicists and managers, on the contrary, are much more likely to pass on your product to the celebrity, rather than just returning to sender. Alternatively, if you can contact the celebrity’s assistant, there’s a high chance they’ll be willing to trial your gift and pass on the recommendation.
2) Check their social media feeds and get to know the celebrity/influencer
This is one of the key things I would always suggest anyone does when gifting to a celebrity or influencer. Actually get to know what the celebrity likes and the sort of things they are likely to promote. As well as what they like, look at what their problems are and how your brand can solve them. When Estée Lauder first started out she gifted celebrities – the company is now worth $5 billion with Kendall Jenner the current face of it. Other smaller brands, such as Rodial, gifted to Kylie Jenner. She Instagrammed the product to her millions of followers, and sales go through the roof, from just the cost of one product.
Be sure to look at their social media following
We all know the value of social media and you can get celebrities and influencers praising your products via their social media, for nothing other than the cost of the product. However, it’s really important to contact celebrities and influencers who are aligned with your brand and proposition. We’ve just launched a really unique tool where you can compare the social following of different celebrities, in the form of growth charts, so you can see which celebrities have risen the most that week in terms of following. You can also compare celebrities in terms of social rank and brand influence. In the case of Daniel Price and Jonny Sitton, whose business My1stYears.com specialises in gift hampers for babies, this means targeting those who have recently had children.
They chose to approach Dannii Minogue, to whom they sent a hamper after the birth of her son Ethan, when Daniel and Jonny’s business was itself in extreme infancy. Dannii loved the product and endorsed the brand. ‘Dannii Minogue was great’, says Daniel, ‘She loved the gift, talked about it, even uploading photos’.
After sending a hamper to Beyoncé and Jay Z after the birth of their baby girl, Blue Ivy, Jonny and Daniel were invited onto The Alan Titchmarsh Show to discuss their products – PR that money just couldn’t buy.
In terms of endorsement, the products impressed Elton John when their hamper full of personalised goodies was chosen to be gifted to him and his partner David Furnish by Heart FM, when their son Zachary arrived. The contents included a teddy bear embroidered with ‘Tiny Dancer’. Elton’s subsequent enthusiastic reaction to the hamper was captured online and has proved especially valuable to the company. As always, make sure you approach the right celebrity or in uencer on social media – the worst thing you can do is to try and link with celebrities just because of who they are, and try to get a celebrity that is totally inappropriate for your brand.
Endorsement can also be gained via social media. Many celebrities and influencers will tweet about a product or service to their followers – for a price. While this is still likely to cost thousands of pounds, it is more affordable than a traditional advertising campaign. Agencies such as Adly.com specialise in creating Twitter and Facebook campaigns using celebrities and influencers.
There are other, cheaper ways though. For example, Theo Paphitis, entrepreneur extraordinaire of Dragons’ Den, runs Small Business Sunday (or #SBS), entirely through Twitter. Every week, small businesses are encouraged to tweet him (@TheoPaphitis) describing their business in one tweet (including the hashtag #SBS) in a set timeframe. Each Sunday, Theo chooses his favourite six and retweets them to his 230,000 followers.
It took Stephen Barton, whose craft business Krasnaya started producing Russian doll kits in 2009, nine months to win the SBS in 2011. ‘Having Theo’s name associated with the business has helped us enormously’, he explains. Not only did he gain valuable publicity, but the business was also approached to start exporting to the US soon afterwards – something Stephen credits to enhanced credibility, stemming from Theo’s endorsement.
Often, celebrities and influencers will have more Twitter followers than magazines will have readers. For example, Theo Paphitis shares relevant tweets to his 468k followers. This may not be getting the product straight into their hands but see the next point…
3) Ask for something small
For example, directly asking a celebrity or influencer to use your product in public is a large and perhaps costly request, but you could mention that if they didn’t want to do this they could do something smaller, like tweet about it. If you can get them to comply with this small request, they may be more likely to follow up a larger request at a later date.
4) Book a celebrity or influencer in advance
If you are looking to book a celebrity for an event or interview please do so in advance as celebrities get booked up very quickly. If you are looking to book a celebrity for an endorsement or a commercial booking then we do offer this service, contact email email@example.com. Please note we only deal with commercial appearances with a budget, if you are a charity or have a limited budget please contact the agent directly.
5) Hit the nail on the head! Unique angle examples
If you are approaching a celebrity regarding a charity engagement, please provide clear details about the charity and how their contribution can help that particular charity. Please explain what the charity is looking to raise from a specific event or the celebrity being involved, and state clearly what involvement the celebrity will need to have and how much time it is likely to take. Breakthrough Breast Cancer (now called Breast Cancer Now) hit the nail on the head with their 2010 campaign, “Too Many Women”. Regarded as one of the most innovative charitable campaigns to date, “Too Many Women” sought 201 ambassadors to each raise £500 and recruit nine other women to do the same, representing the one in nine chance of women getting breast cancer. Female powerhouses such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Sienna Miller and Pippa Middleton got behind the cause, immediately giving the campaign global credibility. The charity is now one of the largest global breast cancer charities with celebrity ambassadors including Prince Charles, Alan Carr and Kate Moss.
Tips for charities can be found here
6) The Handbook advises having a list of 5- 10 celebrities minimum that could be suitable for your requirements so that you increase your chances of a good response. In most instances, there will be various celebrities that can support your cause or endorse your brand, so it is important not to put all your eggs in one basket!
7) Select celebrities that best suit what you need
Do they share the same values and interests? Would they be suitable in regards to the audience you are targeting? What appeals to you personally should play very little part in your decision making. Do they avoid the spotlight? Do they have a personal connection to your cause? All these points should play a part in what celebrity you select.
8) Remember to get to the point rather quickly
These are all very busy people who are approached constantly. Try to grab their attention right away and be clear about what you want. This applies to phone calls and emails alike. Nothing turns a busy person away more than having to dredge through a lengthy email or waste time on a long phone call just trying to figure out what it is you are after.
9) Grab their attention
Mention things like how thousands of people will be watching, name drop or talk about the potential for social good in their participation. You can also include money. Even if you aren’t necessarily promising to pay the celebrity, just seeing dollar signs can boost a person’s interest in your event or product. So if you are working on raising $1 million or are pursuing a $2 billion project, mention it.
That said, it is important to be honest. Don’t oversell your position or the opportunities you are offering to the celebrity. No one wants to be misled, and you will quickly be written off if you are too unrealistic about your claims.
10) Be positive and hopeful
Explain how and why the celebrity can personally make a difference for your cause, event or project. However, do not come off desperate. Show that you are taking steps to put your product out there, but not as quickly or grandly as you could with their support.
11) Approach a celebrity in person and be friendly
Admittedly, this means to an end may be reserved for the more bold individuals. Just being photographed with a celebrity can do wonders for your reputation even if its not directly related to the product. Find out where celebrities will be appearing, for example club nights, product launches, book signings or charity events If you want to check if any celebrities are in town this week, or check out some great celebrity events click here.
12) It’s a numbers game
Whilst you’re waiting for one celebrity to get back to you, be sure to contact others. The more celebrities you write to, the better your chance of a productive outcome. If you have not heard back, you can always follow up, doing this via phone conversation or even a handwritten letter generally yields the best results. Remember that celebrities and their agents are being constantly bombarded with products and letters, so do not despair if you do not immediately get a response. As they say, Rome didn’t get built in a day.
13) Gifting, it’s all about the great customised gift
If you are sending a product to a celebrity or influencer that you are hoping they may wear, I recommend that you contact the publicist or manager in advance to check the postal address and the size of the item should be sent in. Also, remember to contact the right person. The agent’s main concern is getting commercial bookings for the celebrity, not making sure they hear about or acquire your product.
Publicists and managers, on the contrary, are much more likely to pass on your product to the celebrity or influencer, rather than just returning to the sender. Alternatively, if you can contact the celebrity’s assistant, there’s a high chance they’ll be willing to trial your gift and pass on the recommendation. Celebrity bookers will generally take a fee, but they help make the process seamless, as they often have a tight contract and can suggest suitable talent. They will also generally attend the event to ensure the smooth running of it.
Make sure your package stands out so there is more chance of it getting noticed, send a handwritten personalised note. Also follow the celebrity or influencer on social media to make sure what you are sending is something they may like and you can even mention that in your note. For example, if on social media the celebrity or influencer says she loves hair masks, then mention that in the note, or if she’s recently had a hair cut, say that you think this mask would be great for her new hair style.
Another tip is it’s best to use next day, special day delivery or Federal Express. FedEx has a delivery option called Express Saver that’s cheaper but it has a better chance to get into the right hands and past the gatekeepers because it’s in a FedEx envelope, and people will see it as more important.
Celebrities and influencers like products that are customised. If you have a way to customise your product such as an engraving or embossing something like their initials, then the product is much more likely to be shared on social media and get noticed.
Make sure you include all of your contact details and some info on the product. Try to also include a photo of you using the product, or other celebrities using it. If you don’t hear back then follow up to check they received your gift and see if they liked it.
14) Gift your products to celebrity assistants
Sometimes taking the indirect route can work – contact the celebrity’s assistant. It’s the assistant who is likely to write back via email etc – these people are the gate keepers and the celebrity communicates with them every day. Some celebrities even end up in personal relationships with their assistant, for example, Kristen Stewart and her assistant Alicia Cargile. For more tips on how to gift to celebrities and influencers click here
15) Customise your product for a celebrity or influencer
Celebrities and influencers are more likely to wear a product if it is customised – it may take longer but you will reap the rewards. For example, ClaireaBella gifted bags to Charlotte Crosby from Geordie Shore and Binky from Made in Chelsea.
Juicy Couture is another great example of a brand that grew from nothing. They set up the company with $200 and it has since grown into a multi-million pound business with the likes of Madonna and Paris Hilton frequently wearing their products. The owners Gela and Pamela turned it into a multi million pound business, and the growth was largely down to celebrity gifting and sending out personalised gifts. They sent out a personalised hoodie to Madonna and it went all around the world, so they then sent them to Cameron Diaz with ‘Cameron’ on, and one to Drew Barrymore with ‘Mrs Green’ on, as she was married to ‘Tom Green’ at the time. Any time someone got married, the business women sent them personalised tracksuits. Find out how to reach celebrities and influencers through gifting click here
16) Create a niche product
Some of you may feel you’re a real expert in skin products, dating or weight loss. But the money is not in the submarket. To make your product stand out and get noticed you might want to consider choosing a niche. What can you offer people that is special and different? The goal is to carve out a unique spot. Don’t go after the same market as everyone else, and don’t market in the same way as everyone else, if you do this you’ll only ever get marginal competitive advantage if you are better than them. Find your niche e.g. if your area of expertise is nutrition don’t just be another nutritionist but hone in on a specific area that you can specialise in, for example nutrition for fertility or create a nutrition plan for those with skin problems. Then become number one expert in your field at this and think outside of the box, market your business differently, don’t be the same.
17) Create Belief and Sell The Transformation
Everything comes down to one thing – belief. Belief creates the customer, belief creates the results. To be successful in business you must persuade people to believe in what you are doing, and a great way to do this is through the art of honesty and storytelling don’t be afraid to share with your audience. You don’t have to be perfect, be real and they will identify with you and want you to succeed. I always tell my sales team don’t sell people the features, sell the transformation, for example if you own a clothing brand and are selling a pair of leggings don’t talk about the colour, the fabric the texture, talk about how this product will transform your butt like nothing has ever done before!
18) Consider targeting micro-influencers
You don’t have to aim for the influencers with the most followers. Micro-influencers might be your sweet spot with between 5k and 100k followers, they’re more likely to engage with loyal audiences as opposed to the audiences that huge celebrities with millions of followers might have, and the engagement per follower is often much higher
If you want further tips check out our endorsement tips section here
If you are a charity, click here for tips on getting celebrities to support your charity
Good luck! If you need help do get in touch by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org