Celebrities are what every organisation wants to make their campaign more visible. But relationships are time consuming and they need to be well-handled to be successful.

This short intro provides tips on getting the most from celebrity relationships.

Get the right person for your cause

Hopefully your organisation already has a link with a celebrity – someone whose personal circumstances or professional work has given them some experience of your issue. If not, the first step is to do your research and find out if there are high profile figures who might have an interest in what you do.

Think about whether they are a good fit with your organisation. Are they appropriate for your political, ethical or moral position? Above all, you want a celebrity ambassador who is genuinely enthusiastic, and willing and able to talk confidently on your behalf.

Think about who is current and relevant

The celebrity you choose needs to relate to your target audience and the media they consume. Newspapers and magazines will have little interest in a celebrity from years ago who their readership won’t recognise. Try to find someone who has a current TV show or book, or who has enjoyed a high profile very recently and is active on social media.

Use a contact agency

Contacting well-known figures can be challenging and time-consuming. Internet search engines can only tell you so much and it may be cost-effective to subscribe to a database of agent contacts. If celebrities are happy to support your cause they may do so for free. Booking agents will look for a fee for their time and their client’s.

Be clear about your expectations

Celebrities are more likely to agree to lend their support when it is clear what’s expected of them. Although this may change as your campaign progresses, it makes for a better relationship to set out from the beginning whether you just need a quote and a photograph, or whether you’d like them to become the face of your campaign and be available for a range of interviews, events and social media actions.

Designate a member of your team as the key contact so your celebrities and their agents have someone they can get to know, and so they don’t feel passed from pillar to post. Make them feel welcome and valued.

Maximising media coverage

There are countless media opportunities for celebrities, but you need to be realistic about what’s achievable. Many outlets probably won’t offer celebs a chance to talk about your campaign or your work in detail, but should agree to mention your organisation and your website.

Look at slots within daily newspapers, weekend supplements and your target magazines. Don’t forget supermarket magazines, which can have considerable readerships. They’re also perfect if your campaign relates to food or cooking.

Freelancers are your friends

Freelancers are responsible for a number of these celebrity profiles, as well as more in-depth pieces for women’s magazines. With a large number of opportunities in the media, freelancers are hungry for celebrity contributors, especially if they are current and have wide appeal.

If you don’t have access to a media database look at the features and find the journalists on Twitter. A number will also have websites where you can see examples of their work and find their contact details.

Feedback coverage

Keep celebrity supporters and their agents up to date with coverage. It shows you appreciate their contribution and they can see the value their profile brings your organisation.

If they then share the coverage on social media, you will reach an even wider audience.

When it’s all over, say thank you. Make sure your relationship is a good one, right up to the end. You may want to ask the celebrity to support you again.

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