How do you make that important first contact?
When you request assistance from an influential individual, the absolute best approach is personal contact. That is, have someone who actually knows the local notable or celebrity state your library’s case and advocacy message and ask for their help as a visible library advocate. Ideally, the contact should come from someone on your Local Notables Committee if you have populated that committee with well-connected people. If no one knows the person first-hand, find someone who knows someone who does. Remember that networking always helps!
If you can’t make a personal contact, you have to resort to other methods. Because you’re an information professional, you know that there are many ways to locate contact information for well-known individuals. Your library may own the current edition of The Celebrity Black Book (Mega Niche Media, LLC). In the case of many celebrities, information is available on his or her official web page. It may also appear on the celebrity’s Facebook page and perhaps on Twitter. For authors, contact the appropriate publicist or agent. In the case of a local television or radio personality, search the station’s website for contact information. For sports personalities, go to team websites. For musicians, search for their booking agent.
Don’t forget Speakers Bureaus. Some are commercial businesses that charge fees, but some are free. Check your local phone directory to see if any are listed. Go online and search for “speakers bureaus” and follow those keywords with a subject, for example “speakers bureaus authors” or “speakers bureaus athletes.”
Follow the instructions for contacting the people you are trying to reach. Be persistent! Be prepared to make not just one contact, but follow-up ones as well.
How far in advance should you make contact? The longer the lead time you can give a local notable or celebrity, the better the chance that he or she will be able to work your library’s advocacy initiative into an always- busy schedule. Remember than many well-known people are booked out a year or more in advance.