A proven way to attract more attendees and generate greater interest for your event is to have celebrity guests. You can choose a local, regional, national or worldwide celebrity. Obviously, it depends on your budget and what your company can afford to pay a celebrity guest to be a speaker, judge, etc.
Select Appropriate Celebrity Guests for Your Event
It’s a good idea to choose a celebrity guest who will have an interest in your event, such as a specific profession, cause or charity.
For example, if you own a restaurant and are holding an event, invite the local/regional newspaper, journal or magazine food critic, local TV personality who features food/recipe segments, local TV or radio newscaster personality for your celebrity guest slot.
If you own a dance studio/academy or an art gallery and are sponsoring a competition or contest, invite someone like Maddie Ziegler or a well-known local/regional patron of the arts to serve as a judge.
What’s In It for the Celebrity Guest?
A celebrity guest can be an excellent way to further anchor your brand within your community and industry. While you might not be able to entice a national or even world celebrity, you certainly could snag a local or regional one.
Event Discoveries (sponsor VDA Productions) suggests that you research to learn what’s important to your celebrity guest. The company suggests that you, “Find a celebrity that is truly connected to the mission or purpose of your event.”
Just keep in mind that celebrities aren’t lacking in requests to be a guest speaker or judge for events, so what makes your invitation stand out? You should approach inviting celebrity guests to your event by making it more attractive than similar events.
Offer something that would be difficult for your chosen celebrity to turn down.
Some suggestions include:
- Book signing: If your celebrity has published a book, set aside a time during your event that the celebrity can conduct a book signing. Point out that your event will have a built-in avid audience eager to buy her/his books.
- Free publicity: While the celebrity will bring free publicity to your event and brand, the same free publicity can be used by the celebrity to further her/his brand. It’s advantageous for both you and the celebrity.
- Local community: The celebrity may have a pet project within the community that she/he wishes to promote. If you’ve done your research, you’ll know about this and can pitch PR for it with your event, allotting a segment of time and/or press to bring more attention to the celebrity’s community project.
- Offer all or partial event proceeds to the celebrity’s charity. Keep in mind that a celebrity guest will increase your event ticket sales, making it feasible to donate those additional proceeds.
- Offer to hold an auction, such as a dinner for two or a month’s worth of dance lessons and donate the proceeds to the celebrity’s charity.
- Create a social media buzz that attracts your ideal celebrity guest.
Ways to Connect with Celebrities
Create your list of ideal celebrities you wish for your event. You’ll want to narrow this list to a manageable size of 3-5 possibilities. The next step is to find a way to connect with your celebrity guest. There are several ways to accomplish this that you might not have considered.
- Network with people who have hosted your celebrity as a guest at their own events.
- Research celebrity guests to discover any possible local connections, industry interests or charitable causes.
- Use the principles of “Six Degrees of Separation” to gain access to celebrity guests. Social media has reduced this separation to 4 and 5 degrees.
Negotiating with Potential Celebrity Guests
Experts advise that you be prepared to negotiate for celebrity guests you wish to book for your event. You will in all likelihood be negotiating with the celebrity’s representative(s).
Event Discoveries points out several things you need to keep in mind during those negotiations. These include, celebrity demands, such as specific needs for meals, snacks and drinks. You may also need to provide a “green room” that the celebrity will use prior to and after the event. Security will also be an important negotiating point. Event Discoveries explains, “All of these will be in addition to their fee and will need to be taken into account.”
Expert Booking Companies
If you don’t feel qualified to negotiate a booking with a celebrity, then you may decide to go with a booking agency. There are many nuances to the art of engaging a celebrity for an event. For example, Celebrity Source states, “It is common when negotiating a star to counteroffer before the deal is signed.”
Go for Your Ideal Celebrity Guest
Over-reaching can have great results when it comes to landing a celebrity guest for your event. Be prepared to negotiate the fee along with celebrity demands and you’ll end up with an amazing star attraction that is sure to benefit your company brand long after your event.