Thursday, May 17, 2012

RE: Sponsorship- Keep It Professional

It is every tournament anglers dream to have a full ride during their tournament season, have the pressures of finding a way to fund the adventures taken off their back. It’s also every company’s fear that someone is going to hound them for money so they can fish in a tournament. Honestly it’s not that the company has something against giving sponsorships, it’s that rarely they are a good deal for the company.

There are many variables that make a sponsorship a good “investment” for the company handing over the check. The number one thing companies want when agreeing to a partnership with an individual or team is exposure to other potential customers, if you can’t offer that to a company, you’re in an uphill battle already. Another issue companies have is persona of the individual or team they are giving money or product to. There are unfortunately a few bad apples that love to take the money and run, or don’t behave in a professional manner.

The first statement I brought up we will get to in a bit. The second is where I want to start. I have seen too often a team or individual be denied a sponsorship because they could not write a professional letter, could not hold an intelligent phone conversation or with the introduction of social media, have inappropriate clothing, gestures or statements that could affect who would want to be affiliated with them. Just like in the world of job hunting, marketing wise companies have hired people to do research to make sure they are being represented well on social media and online. Think about that before you try to approach a company, do you have inappropriate photos on Facebook? Have you claimed a very polarizing view of politics on Twitter? Do you have something incriminating on your personal page that the company could see as offensive? You may feel like your hands are tied at times when you want to speak up, but that is a small price to pay to be able to enjoy promoting a product or company that has put its trust in you to be a steward for them.

Now back to the first statement, exposure is key. If you have nowhere but a truck window or jacket to place the name of a company, do not expect a lot of attention from potential investors. You are a form of advertising for these companies, and they want to sell product, gain hits or garnish attention from other paying customers. Websites are extremely easy to establish these days, with a half hour and a small amount of knowledge you could have a fully operational website including a “store”, blog, video section and a whole host of other content that could expose your sponsor to new people. It takes some effort thereafter to grow your site, but with a base, you have some talking points to add to your resume. Pod Casts and videos are other great platforms to share your use of a product or introduce people to the company your working with.

I have spent many months attempting to contact businesses that may be interested in allowing me to represent them while on the circuit. I set up professional presentations to give them, laying out exactly what we can do for them. I customize a plan with each company to fit a need they may have. Our team is fortunate to work with a host of businesses, some have product we use on the tournament trail and some wanted to partner with us to gain online attention.

Make sure once you have a deal set with a sponsor, you stay in contact with that company, inform them of your intentions to do promotion, or brainstorm with them to find ways to help them. Make sure you keep it about them, not you.

There are many resources online that may help you set up a professional portfolio and also gain contact information for businesses you may wish to contact. Good luck, and be professional.

Contact me if you are looking for more detailed information on how to begin creating sponsorship portfolios.