The #1 Thing I’ve Learned Recently – Contacting Famous People

1280px-Afktv_interviewIn working on my new podcast, Under the Crossbones‚Äč, over the last few months, I’ve learned something important.

And yes, I know I need to write a post on how the show’s been developing. Trying to come up with 3 or 4 hours to do that. ūüôā

The #1 thing I’ve learned is that if you want to talk to someone, just contact them and see what happens. I talked to the painter that invented the Captain Morgan Rum character for an hour.

This week I decided to try and land a cast member from Black Sails. I found contact info for as many of them as I could without paying for an IMDB Pro membership. ūüôā Some were the actors directly, others their agents.

One of the agents this morning gave me the email address of the show’s publicist who’s working on getting me on the PR schedule for the show next week.

So just ask… The worst they can say is no. ¬†And so far I’ve only had two people say no. ¬†And that no is only temporary. ¬†As my show builds a bigger reputation, they may come around.

There are two guidelines for contacting famous people:

  1. Make sure they get something out of it.
    I figured that Black Sails would be getting into their PR cycle about now since the show’s new season starts in January. ¬†And since my show is about pirates, it’s a closely targeted audience that’s into the show. ¬†I get a cool guest. ¬†They get another drop in the PR blitz over the next couple months.For other guests, they’re just looking for some promo for whatever they’re working on. ¬†But I can offer them some ongoing exposure and traffic to their work, small as it may be at this point. ¬†The content lasts forever.What kind of exposure can you offer? ¬†A podcast spot? ¬†A blog post interview? ¬†Maybe you do a round-up type post where you ask a bunch of people the same important (but quickly answered) question and collect them all together. ¬†If you’re reading this site, chances are you have some sort of content platform. ¬†You could even contact someone saying “I’m doing a series of tweets with advice about X from masters of X.” ¬†Then ask them one question and get a great answer and post it up.
  2. Be specific about what you’re asking.
    Everyone is busy whether they’re famous or not. ¬†Don’t try the old “Hey, let me buy you coffee and pick your brain.” ¬†Be really specific about what you’re asking for. ¬†I send potential guests an email that tells them I’d like to interview them for 20-40 minutes via Skype, Google, Voice, or Landline and I’ll do my best to work with their schedule.If you’re trying to get advice from someone, ask them one important question. ¬†That may start a conversation that leads to other questions. ¬†Or it just makes that person not cringe when they see your email come through a few months later with another question.

You won’t get everyone you want. ¬†But you’ll be surprised at who you can talk to when you’re specific and offer something in return.

Who do you want to talk to?  Leave a comment below and tell me.


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