Being a celebrity booking agent, I have a pretty good pulse on the industry. If you are a celebrity or athlete with a following and fan base, your website should be an entire separate entity that works as a cash register, while you do what you do best. An official website for a celebrity should be treated as their biggest marketing tool they have. Yes, Twitter and Facebook are huge marketing vehicles, but all traffic should lead right back to the official website. This way you control the message. With millions of pages on the Internet, often times people read and believe the first few results on Google. I talk to Hollywood agents all the time, even “marketing agents” who still don’t have an official website for their clients. That just baffles me that they are missing a huge opportunity to make their clients happy and even more important, “revenue”. Even if they do have an official site, 99% still aren’t monetizing the traffic to the fullest.
If you are a celebrity with a fan base, you are a “brand” that can easily generate revenue off the field, court, runway or stage (for whichever you are famous for). When you launch your official site, it’s like flicking on a switch. Most new businesses can’t say that. In a competitive industry, some have to spend thousands to start getting traffic coming in. With a few tweets, status updates, site optimization and the right sharing tools, traffic will immediately start coming in. Yes that’s great, but you have to monetize the traffic and give the fans more of what they want. I have outlined 9 easy ways a celebrity can profit from the web, many of which are neglected by some of the biggest names in sports and Hollywood.
Paid Corporate Appearances and Autograph Signings
This is the bread and butter and where the majority of the revenue should come from. Booking fees all depend on the demand for the celebrity. Many corporations search hard to find the celebrities official site, agent, booking manager, etc. This should be one of the main areas featured on the site. Make it easy to find booking contacts and appearance fees. Of course current players and busy actors have limited time, but there is always the off season and downtime for corporate appearances. Models, retired sports figures and reality TV stars should really take advantage of this.
Not only can celebrities endorse products offline such as TV commercials, billboards and radio, but should include this package with an online endorsement, or make it a separate deal. An official site allows real estate space to showcase more of the product or service. This creates more value for the company endorsing. More eyeballs + more sales= a happy company and more potential revenue for the celebrity.
Sports Camps and Seminars
Aside from appearances, an official website allows an athlete to promote and take orders for upcoming sports camps and celebrities to host seminars. If you are Wes Welker, what a great way to host an off season wide receiver camp. JJ Redick should be hosting a shooting camp for kids and Giuliana Rancic could be hosting a seminar teaching girls how to break into the entertainment broadcasting industry.
Paid Premium Membership Services
While most content and videos can be free on the Internet, there is an opportunity to offer behind the scenes video, photos, etc. Loyal fans will pay a little more. Just think if Justin Bieber launched a section where fans could access unreleased songs, videos, behind the scene photos, computer backgrounds, screensaver and exclusive offers. With 20 millions followers and obsessed fans, I’m pretty sure they will pay… Actually I know they will!
Once again, with a strong following, fans are always going to want more. An official fan club can include a signed photo, t-shirt, key chain, letter and other fun stuff. A good price point would be around $29-$39, depending on what you offer of course. Also have monthly winner that win special prizes or even a change for a meet and greet. This is a no brainer. We did this years ago with JC Chasez from the band, *NSYNC. Right when he launched his solo career, we decided to launch a Fan Club and took in over $10k in the first week with virtually no marketing, all from direct hits to his site. This was even before Twitter and Facebook.
The signed memorabilia market is a billion dollar industry. A signed football, helmet or jersey is something fans will cherish forever. If you don’t have the chance to get in person, the next best way is to buy online. Often times, you never know if the autograph is real. When you buy from the celebrity’s official site, it can’t get more official than that. Offer fans the ability to purchase signed items online. Athletes can sign a bunch of stuff in the off season or when time permits.The mark up on these items are huge. Of course, it depends on the time the celebrity has, but it’s always great to keep signed items on hand.
You don’t need a huge publisher anymore for a book deal. eBooks are easy to create and cost almost nothing to put together. There are many do-it-yourself eBook software programs out there. Mark Cuban does a great job at this. He sells his eBook, “How to Win at the Sport of Business” for the low price of $2.99. It could easily sell for over $20, but why not sell more at a cheaper price? The new economy we are in easily lets a celebrity become their own publishing company without all the expensive costs.
For celebrities who blog, this opens another revenue stream. If your sites gets good traffic, there is opportunity for advertising revenue. Companies will drool over the opportunity to advertise on a celebrity’s site if the fit is right. The web will also allow you to distinguish between an advertisement and an endorsement.
Charity, Foundation and Philanthropy
Not necessarily revenue to the celebrity’s bottom line, but a sure way to raise money for their charity or foundation. Many businesses and fans would rather click on a button to donate money rather than send in a check. A simple PayPal button for a website can be set up in minutes. Combine this with a few tweets and a link, it’s a sure way to raise money for a great cause.
Based on my twelve years in the celebrity marketing world, these are some ideas that have worked for my clients which current celebrities, athletes and reality TV stars should take advantage of. If you have any questions, I am always here for advice. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org