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How To Get The Industry Celebs On Your Side

Being known for having recognised industry experts associated with you and your brand increases your profile. It helps you grow audience share as people recognise that you lead the way. 

The lockdown which happened as a result of the pandemic has brought people closer together through a variety of technologies which make geographical distance irrelevant. It has encouraged us to look beyond what is in our immediate vicinity and reach out to people we had never expected to connect with.

It’s now possible to look far beyond your geographical ‘patch’ to find the people who are the movers and shakers in your field and attract them over to your side.

Simply settling for the same old ‘me too’ content that everyone else in your sector is producing isn’t where you’ll find a loyal and growing audience. Whether it’s for a podcast, an article or an online event, pushing the envelope so that your industry’s ‘big names’ want to be a part of your space is a powerful idea. 

In this article, I want to share with you what I have done, what you can do and the return you will get from getting the industry ‘names’ over to your side.

Proof For You

If you have been a part of You Are The Media Lunch Club Online since May, you will be familiar with the fact that we’ve featured some of marketing’s most highly-respected names at our events.

My thinking is, if I’m asking YATM Online attendees to give me an hour of their day then I have to put on something they wouldn’t be able to get anywhere else.

This is the reason why there are more main guests from overseas than from the UK. What I’m looking to do is to bring you people that you may never have thought you’d be able to see, listen to and ask questions of.

If I can bring the people who are behind the books, the articles, the extensive social followings, the videos and podcasts directly in front of you so you can in turn reach out to, and be in the same live space as them, it makes YATM Online a very special place to be.

You Are The Media Online has included high profile marketing industry people such as Mark Schaefer, Trevor Young, Joe Pulizzi and Andrew Davis. This will continue into 2021.

What Do I Mean By Industry Name?


An ‘industry name’ is someone who, within a particular niche or sector has built a distinctive profile, amassed an audience bigger than your own and stands for a particular viewpoint.

They show up, they broadcast, they write, they publish and enjoy a level of industry fame. 

For you, the secret is not to do it just the once, landing a big fish as a bit of a novelty, but to do it repeatedly, over and over again.

So, how can you become attractive to these industry names, persuading them to be a part of what you’re doing?  

Being Seen As A Good Place To Come To

You start by building a space before you need it. You nurture and develop it, creating pillar content (the main concept or idea you stand for which can be developed into an ebook, online series or book) and sharing it and your other content.

My pillar content supported me in two places:

👍 Between 2013 to 2017 I had a stand-alone interview series called Talking Content Marketing. I was a complete unknown from the south coast of England who reached out to better-known others for their input and experience.

👍 In 2015 I published the Content Revolution and approaching industry names and including their views in the book, helped support my intention of being taken seriously in this field.

If you are a complete stranger to others like I was, you’ll be starting with a track record of zero. 

You can build rapport through becoming actively engaged in, and a part of, industry debate on social channels, demonstrating an interest in, and affinity with the industry figures you’re looking to attract.

Your pillar content will support these efforts, giving you skin in the game. Let them see that coming alongside you will be a good fit, helping them extend their reach.

Over time, a sense of familiarity will build and you’ll get recognised for being in it for the long term, not just as something that’s a one-off, part of a campaign

Being recognised as actively engaged in your industry becomes a huge strength. For instance, those ‘industry celebs’ I interviewed back in 2013 are now guests on You Are The Media Online (and also friends).

What Prompts An Industry Figure To Say Yes?

In 2017, I reached out to the participants from my interview series and asked them why they agreed to take part in something being done by a complete stranger (read the full article here).

The resounding answer was “the way I asked.” By this I mean that my initial approach was via a personal email that was very obviously just me to them and not part of an email blast. This could be from referencing something they had recently shared, to a particular chapter in a book that had struck a chord with me.

The article also highlights the steps I took to get people to agree. Use the framework.

Here are some of the reasons why industry names will come back with a ‘yes’ to you:

Robert Rose – “My advice for those that ARE reaching out – is just pretend YOU are the person you are reaching out to.”

Jonathan Crossfield – “It’s always better when you can see a like-minded person at the other end.”

Mark Schaefer – “Connecting to somebody on social media is a weak relational link. Having an actual conversation strengthens that link. When you finally meet that person, you never know where it will lead.”

Jessica Gioglio – “A strong website and online brand is key. It’s also critical that you do your homework and understand what types of topics an influencer speaks on.”

To make someone else say yes to you, there has to be a reason for making it worth their while. For instance, when reaching out to future You Are The Media Online guests, I send them a link to a previous show or a short clip. The short clip is always the singing at the end. I want a future guest to be a part of something that they’ve never experienced before.

You have to demonstrate to them not only how much fun it’ll be but that it will also be meaningful, eg exposing them to a whole new and sizeable audience (i.e. the one YATM itself has behind it).

The Return That Awaits You

Having a known industry person be part of your space is going to help you in so many ways:

Its going to set you apart. 

Whilst other people play it safe, you take up the opportunity of tapping into something bigger than your own carefully cultivated space by bringing in someone well-known. 

Its going to enhance your credibility. 

It feels like making friends with someone in the last year of school when you’re in year one. Continually bringing international industry names to your space builds your profile and makes you someone others will want to connect with.

People know its going to be worthwhile for them. 

Spending time listening, watching and interacting with a person who comes with complete with a stellar reputation can only be a benefit for your audience and their learning.

You’re getting attention from someone who has other options.

Take it as a huge compliment that someone with prestige is deciding to spend time with you. Plus, what you’re looking for is that they’re also going to find it worthwhile for them – a win/win for both sides. 

It will make others more prepared to join in with you.

If you start to build a track record for having reputable names spend time with you, it then becomes easier for others to say yes. You have created a space and a following that speaks for itself and is reassuring.

Lets Round-Up

Amanda Palmer says in The Art Of Asking, “When artists work well, they connect people to themselves and they stitch people to one another, through this shared experience of discovering a connection that wasn’t visible before.”

This act of creating an experience that brings everyone together to a space you’re responsible for is the hugely enjoyable part.

Your obligation is to create not only learning but enable a deeper connection to take place between the industry name and your audience. And of course it cuts both ways, so that even the industry name, who will be stepping into your space from a somewhat elevated position will leave it feeling like they’re standing shoulder to shoulder with everyone else.

Whilst there are fewer gatekeepers today to approach those with influence, there are now many more gates.

You have to recognise the people who fit with your audience and the overall message you share. When you get this right, it can be the start of a continual flow of high profile guests that continually build your reputation and credibility which is a rewarding experience for everyone.


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