Guest post by Jordan McAuley, Contact Any Celebrity
As the founder of Contact Any Celebrity, my clients always ask me for easy ways to connect their business (or themselves) to celebrities.
Here are my Top 10 Ways to ‘Celebrity-size’ Your Business’ that I also talk about in my book “Celebrity Leverage: Insider Secrets to Getting Celebrity Endorsements, Instant Credibility and Star-Powered Publicity.”
- Create a velvet rope. “Velvet ropes” attract attention, create allure, and make people want to gain access. Your velvet rope doesn’t have to be physical. Magnolia Bakery in New York City has a “cupcake bouncer” outside the door, only allowing a certain number of people in at a time to buy cupcakes. Online programs make people apply to be accepted. Clubs have VIP rooms. Some businesses only take new clients by referral. Meetings are taken by appointment only… you get the idea.
- Link yourself to celebrities. Get your photo taken with celebrities whenever possible and embed them on your website. Try to interview celebrities for your podcast or I’ve been photographed with The Backstreet Boys, Annie Leibovitz, Perez Hilton, Tim Gunn, Jane Fonda, Nancy Grace, Ricky Martin, Kylie Minogue, Gene Simmons, Ivanka Trump, George Foreman, Joan Rivers, and many more. Don’t turn down opportunities to have your photo taken with business leaders and experts at conferences, seminars, trade shows, speaking engagements, and workshops.
- Get your products in celebrities’ hands. Send your products to celebrities in the mail by joining a service like Contact Any Celebrity to get their contact information. Or place your product in celebrity gift bags and gift suites at award shows and special events. Check out the rules for gift bag opportunities at Help A Reporter or Google companies that specialize in celebrity gift bag placements. Use LinkedIn to search for celebrity assistants (hint: watch movie and TV credits for their names!), who may recommend them to their boss (the celebrity). Donate product samples to film and television producers in exchange for screen time and on-air credit.
- “Celebrity-ize” your customers. Your customers crave attention. Interview and write about them in your newsletter or on your website. Have a “Member of the Month.” Invite them to send in video testimonials or ask them to speak about their success with your business on your podcast or at events. They’ll love the exposure, and you’ll get powerful “live” testimonials.
- Use fictional celebrities. How can you use Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, the Wicked Witch, Cupid, or even Satan? The best part is that these characters are all copyright free! Apple, BlackBerry, Coca-Cola, and PalmPilot have all used Santa in their advertising without paying a dime for licensing.
- Provide VIP experiences. Treat your customers like celebrities. Think about how celebrities are treated versus regular customers when they walk into a store or buy something from a company, and aim to treat your own customers that way. Provide them with VIP experiences instead of just products and services.
- Get media attention. I’ve placed myself, my business, and my clients in local and national broadcast, print, and online media like CNN, The Associated Press, USA Today, Us Weekly, Star Magazine, Investor’s Business Daily, The Wall Street Journal, Entrepreneur Magazine, The Village Voice, National Public Radio, Sirius/XM Satellite Radio, and more. This does wonders for setting you and your business apart from and above the competition. Your customers will view you as a ‘celebrity’ in your field.
- Hire a celebrity for your event. Having a celebrity at your event not only provides excitement and satisfaction for attendees, but it also helps you fill seats. Use photo opportunities and media attention to promote your business long after the celebrity has left. The celebrity doesn’t even have to be real. If your budget is limited, think about hiring a celebrity impersonator instead.
- Use celebrity voices. The Gaylord Opryland Resort in Nashville lets guests choose the voices of country singers for their wake-up calls. The Nashville Airport uses celebrity voices to get travelers’ attention. Use celebrity voices (real or impersonated) for announcements, voice blasts, etc. Your voice may be wonderful, but most people won’t save your voice mail message and play it for friends, family, and coworkers. But they WILL if you use a well-known celebrity’s voice!
- Write and publish a book. Since childhood, we are conditioned to respect books. We throw away computer printouts all the time, but most of us probably would not throw away a book. We might donate it or give it to a friend, but not throw it away. When you publish a book, you become an expert and a celebrity in your field. Today, it’s easy to self-publish printed or digital books using services like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing, BookBaby, Ingram Spark, and Reedsy. We self-publish The Celebrity Black Book every year, and my book “Celebrity Leverage” is on Amazon. A new copy is coming out soon!
Note from Robin: I’m always interested in talking with other experts about small business PR strategy and jumped at the chance to speak with Jordan while I was test-driving his site. It gave me a chance to learn insider secrets on how to reach celebrities, and help my clients find famous people or public figures that support their cause – all at an affordable cost. I love that you can search by keywords, topics and causes – plus get publicist’s information. You’d be surprised at how easy it is to connect, if you have the right tools (and strategy).
Bonus points to Jordan for saying ‘yes’ to writing this guest blog. It’s pretty clear, we both love no-cost marketing, how to get publicity for your business, and free PR advice.
— Jordan McAuley is the founder of Contact Any Celebrity, an online service that helps authors, businesses, and nonprofits contact 59,000+ celebrities, influencers, and public figures.