How to Get Sponsored – Build Your Own Brand
“I’m going to get sponsored and become a pro skier.” I wonder how many people have said that to themselves. How to get sponsored and make that dream a reality is the ultimate question for any aspiring pro.
Some come about it easily, natural talent gets them there but most professional skier success comes with hard work and dedication. Of course, the first step is athletic excellence. The better you are at what you do, the more people will be paying attention. But, we’re not talking about performance here, we’re talking about marketing and with these tips in place, you’ll be ready to begin chasing potential sponsors. Here are some tips any athlete should follow when building their brand and marketing themselves.
Own your online identity, buy a domain name.
If you are an athlete, you are your own brand. These days if you are seeking a new sponsorship, team manager and prospective sponsors will type your name into Google to learn about you before even looking at the edits you send them. Everything you say on social media, blogs, and all your content will be analyzed to determine if you are a good fit for the brand and whether you get the sponsorship.
So what are people finding when they search for your name? Are they seeing your Facebook page? Your Twitter feed? That picture of you partying just a little too hard? Think about team manager like recruiter at a job, and a whopping 93% of recruiters check out online profiles of prospective hires.
Registering a personal .SKI domain name like <firstname><lastname>.ski means, you can control your online reputation and push down all those search results that you don’t want sponsors to find. .SKI domains are perfect for ski pros. They elegantly start telling your story before people even click on it. They also make it impossible for people to mistake you for anything else apart from someone who loves to ski.
Try to avoid registering a domain name that won’t stand the test of time or at least the next 50 years. Use your last name, or a combination of your last name and first name, and keep it simple. These are the most timeless and will become a natural part of your brand.
Build a website.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a good website is worth a Million. In today’s online world you need a website. A web site is the only digital channel where athletes can completely control how they’re seen. It’s doesn’t need to be fancy, with all kinds of bells and whistles, but you need to have a presence online. A simple, crisp, professional looking website is what you need. This does not need to cost a lot of money. I know there are plenty of services out there; one is Squarespace, where you can get started for very little money.
Remember it is your goal to provide an excellent interactive, informational and entertaining resource for the site visitor. The benefits of a little effort over time include: Maximize your relationship with your sponsor, attract new endorsement opportunities and supplemental revenue, build fan loyalty and develop relationship with media. Below are two examples of pro skier website built on web builder platforms like Squarespace.
Use social media to your advantage.
There is so much content on social media that people don’t take time to click on a YouTube link on Twitter or read a long piece of text on Facebook. Most people scroll quickly through the feed on mobile devices. If you don’t create interesting, catchy, shareable content, you’ll just be one more wave in the social media sea. Furthermore, posting the same picture or quote in all your social media can be repetitive and counterproductive.
For instance, on Twitter, instead of simply copy and pasting the link to your new YouTube video, include a quote from your video. On Facebook, instead of posting the video, make a graphic with all the important information from the video. People are much more likely to retweet an interesting quote than a link to a YouTube video.
If you understand sponsorship, at its core your job is to promote a brand, help sell their products, and be a representative for their brand. The more followers you have across social medial and on your website , the more attractive you become to team managers and sponsors.
But remember everything you post on social media either adds value to your brand or detracts from it. This is why it is important to think twice before posting. Anything stupid you say can decrease the value and the credibility of your brand and chances of being sponsored.
Now you are ready. So go out there and build your brand and snag that dream sponsorship so you can drown in free equipment , travel to crazy places, and get a nice paycheck that helps keep you skiing all year round. Remember that no matter how you go from talented local to sponsored pro, the internet and how your brand yourself now play a critical role in your ability to get sponsored.