You already know that the first step to getting a celebrity endorsement for your business or nonprofit is to narrow down the list of best-fit celebrities you would like to work with. Let’s assume you’ve already done the work to find out more about the celebrities on your list and you are ready to contact your top choices. What next? To get the negotiation process started, you need to talk to the celebrity’s representative. They are the person you will be dealing with directly, so you need to make a good impression on them. Here are my experience-based tips for getting celebrity reps to respond to your queries.
Your Query Is Your First Impression
You’ve heard over and over again that first impressions are important, but everyone repeats that maxim because it is so true. Usually, the first contact you will make with a celebrity rep to discuss a possible deal is the query. So, how do you make the best impression you can with an impersonal query letter?
First, you need to understand the audience for your query—the rep. Celebrity agents, managers, and publicists are busy people. They’re not just waiting around for someone like you to hit them up with a proposition for endorsements. In fact, they literally get more queries than they can respond to. What does that mean for you? It means that if you don’t make a great impression within the first few lines of your query, they likely won’t even read it to the end before trashing it.
You should send your query through email. It’s the most convenient form of communication for a rep to glance through messages and weed out those that don’t merit a response. That may seem unfair, but put yourself in their shoes. If you were receiving hundreds of emails every day, would you read every one? Don’t try to stand out by sending a snail mail query—it’s chances of getting read are no better than email, and it’s less convenient for the rep to respond, which drastically decreases your chances of a positive outcome.
And, whatever you do, don’t call a rep with your proposal. The worst that comes from a mailed proposal is being ignored. If you call a rep and waste their precious time on the phone, you will be remembered, and not in a good way. You should only ever call a celebrity’s rep if you have a personal connection with them or have worked with them before. And, at that point, you will have to make your own best decision regarding whether they want you calling or sticking with email.
What a query should include
I want to make this as easy as possible for you, so here’s a template that shows you exactly what your emailed query should include:
Dear [First and last name]:
This sentence tells them who you are. The next sentence explains why they should work with you (hint: how can you benefit their client?). Here are the basics of your proposal.
End with a call to action that requests a response by a specific date.
[You and your company]
Easy. Don’t try to overdo it. If they are interested, they will ask you for more details.
Make It Easy for Them To Find More Information
A proper query is by and far the most important part of getting a positive response from your chosen celebrity’s rep. However, there are a few more things you can do to increase your chances. Just keep in mind that these tips only work if your query letter makes the right impression.
My first suggestion is to have a platform or website for your endeavor. If you are a business, you probably already have a website, or at the very least a social media page. Nonprofits will also benefit from a website that shows more information about who they are and what they do. Just as you want to do your homework before contacting a rep, they may also want to research who you are before agreeing to your proposal. So, if you already have your online presence set up, provide a simple link to the page below your signature in the query. This allows them to easily access more information about you as they consider your proposal. Remember—anything that makes the rep’s work easier helps you. If they have to scour the web trying to find your information, you may just miss out on a possible deal.
If you’re a journalist or photographer making contact, mention any publications where you have a column or regularly published work. You may also want to consider setting up an online portfolio of your work, as well as a link to your social media pages. Social media is a great way to segue into my next bit of advice, which is to leverage existing connections. If you happen to drop a link to your page, and they see that you are connected to other people in the business, you’ve just given yourself a leg-up. Using leverage works for businesses and nonprofits, as well as journalists. If you’ve worked with someone who you are sure will make an impression on the rep you are contacting, feel free to mention that in your query. It gives you credibility when they know people they respect have worked with you.
Finally, a friendly gift doesn’t hurt. It’s okay to send some muffins or cookies to the rep’s office with a nice card to remind them who you are. Just know when it is appropriate and when it’s not. For example, if you are looking to book talent for an event, this doesn’t make any sense.
Regardless if the type of deal you are trying to make, you can’t go wrong with simply being nice and making the process as smooth and easy as possible for the rep. For instance, if you have an existing relationship with a particular media source, let the rep know you have something lined up—this saves them time from having to find and contact the media themselves. Building a good relationship with this person can make future deals easier, with this celebrity or possibly another that the person represents in the future.
It Doesn’t Hurt To Follow Up
Typically, if your email hasn’t been responded to within about a week, the rep probably has no intention of responding to you. But, that does not necessarily mean they are not interested. It could be something as simple as the email went to a spam folder or they just didn’t see it in their crammed in-box. To make sure you don’t miss out on a deal just because your message slipped through the cracks, or they meant to respond but forgot to, you can send a follow-up email anywhere from three to ten days following your initial query.
Most of the time, if the rep is not interested, you simply won’t hear anything back from them. However, you may occasionally receive a response stating that they have rejected your proposal. When this happens, it doesn’t mean you have to give up, unless they have given you an explicit reason why they have absolutely no interest in working with you, your company, or your charity. If that doesn’t happen, it’s perfectly okay for you to try again in a few months, unless you are querying regarding an event with a set date. The rep may be more receptive to your proposal at that time.
Also, if you haven’t already, you might want to read the 6 Biggest Mistakes That People Make When Contacting Celebrity Reps. I’d love to hear how these tips on making an impression work out for you! Feel free to leave your comments below.