Pitching Talent and Celebrity Booking With Patrick Lambert
Patrick Lambert oversees celebrity, relevant human interest and news bookings as a talent executive for T.D. Jakes, a syndicated daytime program that tackles socially relevant, topical and exclusive stories. Lambert is a new addition to the T.D. Jakes team, but isn’t new to talent booking. He was previously a talent executive for The Preachers, and also FabLife. We’ve got tips from Lambert on how to pitch a celebrity booker and what to avoid.
Tell me a little about yourself: How did you get your start in talent and celebrity booking?
I studied politics and television at Emerson College and even in high school worked in news with celebrity events and campaigns. At my first internship, they needed help booking celebrity talent and I took it on as a project so that became my first real gig as a booker and I stuck with that through college into my first job out of school at Extra. My college booking experience got me my first professional offers and made for a natural move into booking.
How do you prefer to receive pitches?
Email. Pitches are best kept clean, simple, to the point with links and “buzz words.” I do not have a problem with phone calls and brainstorming or follow ups, but when it’s a pass- it’s a pass.
For example, I may not need or always book a finance expert, or an actor who’s working with a certain non profit, but when something comes up where I do need them it’s great to be able to search simple terms to see what older pitches are in my inbox that are a good fit for timely show needs.
What will catch your attention?
As a celebrity booker, personal story points are best – interviews aren’t just about the project with daytime/talk formats so if there’s information about a person’s background, life story, socially conscious interests, etc., that’s helpful. But short and sweet is BEST. Pitches that are long or oddly formatted really hold them back.
What kind of information do you prefer to receive?
If possible, it’s always good to include relevant promotional dates, where a talent is based, and commanding national tape is very helpful – stuff that shows personality, fun, energy. Sometimes tape can be flat and it works against the pitch. For books it’s great to get a hard copy send to the office. I hate to say it, and it doesn’t make a pitch, but it’s helpful to have a talent’s social media numbers/channels included if they help the pitch.
Do you use social media like Twitter or Facebook to gather leads and story ideas? Can you be pitched via these channels?
Facebook and Twitter are great aggregates for me to come up with ideas and see what’s trending. I do not like to receive pitches by social media and my email is readily available online.
Do you have any advice to share with PR professionals?
Be kind and be honest. What a show needs and what you may need for your client is a process, sometimes simple and straight forward, and sometimes it needs strategy so be willing to work creatively, be real with us and with your client, and remember that content is king so think about what can make for great moments. And get back to your emails! There’s someone on the other side you know.
How about any pet peeves?
Hate to say it, but for sure…
*Long, over explained pitches.
*Following up multiple times after a pass.
*When a talent forces in more plugs than promised – plugging 8 projects in a segment/appearance does not make for a strong appearance.
*Rude reps- we all do our best to make things easy and for good television but over demanding or truly rude or inconsiderate reps can’t absolutely blacklist a talent.
*Last minute cancellations: when things happen, they happen and that’s nothing you can control. But last minute cancellations when they aren’t necessary put a lot of strain on teams, and if a habit, become reasons to not revisit for future opportunities.
The Cision Media Research Team maintains a database of more than 1.6 million records, including social influencers, traditional media contacts, outlets and opportunities. We collect and maintain the latest contact and pitching information of bloggers and journalists who can spread your message, broaden your campaign and help you build relationships with the people who matter. To experience the Cision Media Database first hand, request a demo here.
Image courtesy of Lambert’s Linkedin.
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