How to get sponsored
In Blog - 20/03/2018
In this day and age, we see some of the most ratchet people get famous seemingly overnight and for ridiculous reasons. Successful social media influencers tell us that brands have lots of money to invest on influencers and that if your play your cards right, you’ll get a part of prize — in the from of free gear, trips or money. This might be true for goliaths like Samsung, Mercedes or Canon, but you’ll discover that the skateboard and longboard industry’s ins and outs are quit different. The “How I got sponsored” story is different for every rider and there isn’t a “right way” to do it. Obviously, at the beginning a carrier, luck is a determining factor but there are a few tips to make things go your way.
First and foremost, a sponsored rider, or athlete if you will, represents the brand by which it is sponsored. This means that your image has to be coherent with the brand’s image. For example, if the brand’s target demographic includes kids or families, their image is aimed at pleasing those groups of people. If your Instagram feed is full a blunt photos or you flipping the bird every couple of photos, your chances of being sponsored by that said brand are slim to none. To help yourself gauge what your favourite brands will “tolerate”, lurk their riders social media and base yourself on the average vibe of their recent content.
Then, to understand the brands to athlete dynamic we have to dig deeper as to why brands collaborate with and sponsor certain people. As you’ve guessed it, marketing is the sol reason. As the saying goes “Nothing is free” and this isn’t any different. Brands exchange equipment, supplies, and/or money for visibility. If you go back 10 years, when social media wasn’t even a thing, athletes would get sponsored in what we can consolidate into 3 groups: By getting noticed through their performance in competitions and different events, by sending brands “Sponsor me” home-made video or through friends and contacts. Typically, and this depends for each respective contract, riders would wear the company’s branding and would mention them a their official sponsor et events and public appearances. Depending form the brands and the level of the athlete, they could be solicited to appear in some brand-related events or content like ads and videos.
Fast-forward to today, and things are similar but also quit different. Some skateboard and longboard riders still obtain their sponsorship the same way the old-timers did. The difference with todays reality is that the riders now have much more control over the outcome. With the rise of affordable performing consumer technology (computer, smartphones, cameras, etc.), platforms like YouTube are growing faster than ever and the public attention is shifting from the television and paper mediums to online sources, at bit in the same way radio let place to the television. This is where you can shine and gain an edge over the other aspiring riders. By personally managing your own social media outlet and publishing original content to promote yourself and your sport, you can show brands that you know self-marketing, how to create content, engage with your public. This is the best business card, resume or application you could ever give when applying for a collaboration or sponsorship. And you don’t need thousands of subscribers! Quality content and engagement (comments, likes, etc.) are far more valued by brands.
So what do we know so far? Brands want visibility and the public’s attention is slowly shifting to the Internet. Therefore, the best way to invest your time, apart from skating, would be to promote your self and the sport, to make you self more visible online, in order to generate the visibility opportunity brands are looking for. At this moment, the most sought after riders are talented skaters, yes, but primarily they are good at creating content and generating engagement with their audience. And it isn’t all about your follower or subscriber count. Yes, it defiantly looks good to have a larger audience base but engagement is as if not more important. If your audience happens to be the target demographic of favourite brand, you’re in a pretty good spot.
Off course, all of the above is useless if your not passionate about the sports. I don’t have to tell you that skating for fun and good times should be the priority. Getting a sponsorship should only be considered as a rearward for your dedication. It isn’t a natural progression and by that I mean not everyone gets sponsored. That’s why if you’re looking for the local bragging rights or free gear, you aren’t in it for the right reasons. Professional riders aren’t doing it for the money or fame; they just want to keep the good times rollin’.