GET SPONSORED IN THE FISHING INDUSTRY & GROW YOUR BRAND
Bass fishing along with many other types of fishing has continued to grow year after year. With social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok and Facebook more and more people are seeing major benefits to be in the industry. Some of these benefits can be monetary sponsorships, product sponsorships or discounted programs for pro staffers. The main thing you need to figure out is, what do you want to do in this space? And do you love it enough for your passion to shine through? Over the past few years I have spoke with some major brands in the industry and I can tell you the amount of solicitation they get is more significant than you may think. Email’s flood in by the the thousands each month, phone’s ring off the hook with the “give me, give me” mentality. 99% of the time that is not going to get you anywhere with these brands.
If you don’t already have an “in” with a brand you would like to work with you’re going to have to approach it much differently. You cant approach brands anymore and say “Hey, I will put your logo on my jersey or my boat” because unless you are in the big leagues and on tv you will show them minimal to zero ROI. The best way to go about partnering up with fishing brands is approach them with the “what can I do for you?” mentality. Before you do that, make sure you have a plan with exactly how you can help. Below I am going to give some insights to help with different sponsorships and also give you some tools to make you more appealing when you reach out for the first time.
Pro Staff Deals
For anglers that are the weekend warriors and not too heavy in the fishing scene this is a great place to start. Pro staff deals are great when looking for some discounts on your favorite product. You can even earn some referral money and free apparel by doing a good job. A big chunk of brands have a tab on their website dedicated to pro staff applications. For the most part acceptance is fairly high depending on the brand. As long as you do what they require and post a certain amount of times on social media each month you should be fine. They usually want you to take pics wearing their gear, using their product, holding a fish, or just being on the water to get your 10-15% discount.
If your brand is not accepting pro staff applications the next place to go would be http://www.nationalprostaff.com. They are a fishing social network that has relationships with major brands. You will have to make a profile that will highlight your fishing strengths, achievements, pictures of some trophies and your schedule on the water. When these brands want to bring more pro staff on board, NPS will send out an email alerting you that a certain brand is looking. Here is the downside, you will have to pay $25 to apply for the pro staff position and your spot is not guaranteed. Now some brands will give out pro staff deals to anyone with a pulse but some of the much bigger brands it can be a little more difficult and the decision will be made based on your profile. That being said, NPS is a great way to get a bunch of deals in a short period of time. Good Luck!
Tools to help you get sponsored monetarily or with product donation
All of the major platforms, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, and Youtube are such a huge part of getting content out to your community. Some people think that if they don’t have tens of thousands of followers they cant leave their mark. That is not the case! Followers are desirable to brands yes, but there are too many profiles out there that have fake followers. These profiles pay for bot followers and can get around 10,000 followers for a couple hundred bucks. That’s why ENGAGEMENT is they key. You can have 100,000 followers but if you have a post with only 20 likes and 3 comments that engagement is not on par with 100k followers. These brands know that too and if they see that you are paying for followers you can kiss your chances goodbye. The best way to get started is to come up with a posting strategy and stick with it. If you think you can put out 2 posts a week do 2 posts a week and stick with it. When you are out on the water take as many pics as possible so you can use those for a few weeks to come.
Once you start building that camera roll with photos and you are posting consistently, get used to using hashtags with each post. Hashtags are a great way to get people from all over to see your posts and help you build a following quick. I keep a group of hashtags saved in my notes on my iphone so whenever I post I just copy and paste, it takes just a second to do. The most important thing to remember is QUALITY. If you post a blurry picture that looks unprofessional there is not much appeal for other accounts to want to follow yours. See below for a good example from our recent post we did for Bling Sauce. Once you get these steps down you will be well on your way and if you are feeling froggy you can even put some ad dollars behind a good post for a boost. Facebook does a great job showing you the reach you will get based on your ad spend. Give it a shot you and will be surprised by the reach you can get with a low budget ad spend. Once you see your engagement is picking up you can export your analytics and send to a potential sponsor so they can see your reach and engagement.
TikTok, Youtube and Instagram Reels have set the tone for what brands want, VIDEO! It is king and it’s going to be for a long time so if you don’t already know how to create videos it’s time to learn. You can spend a few hours watching some how to videos on youtube and you will be set in no time. In one our blog posts from 2018 it goes over the best GoPro accessories to have on your boat so you can capture the best content on your next trip. If you can create killer video content it’s going to put you light years above the rest. There are ways you can even edit them fairly easy on your phone but if you are going to go all out I would recommend using Final Cut Pro X or i movie. If you push it right, it will get the engagement these brands want. You can do that with hashtags, ads, and asking other profiles/friends in the community to share. Lifted Trucks has been FishIn48’s title sponsor for the past four years for our Cactus Cup Team Trail and our Arizona Fishing Charters. Below is a video we made that we use as one of our marketing tools for them. We use it to help push ads out to the fishing community and help them sell as many trucks for anglers as possible. Videos are the best thing you can include in your social media so make the time and practice, practice, practice and your videos will help you social engagement quite a bit.
The benefits of getting your blog up and running are endless. Depending on your background this will probably be your biggest challenge. You will first need to think of a catchy name and secure your domain. Once you get that you will a developer to build your page in Word Press. There are some website that have a “drag and drop” editor where you can create your own like Wix. I would recommend finding a developer and using Word Press and once they build you can ask them to help show you how to create posts and keep the site fresh. There are also plenty of youtube videos to help you with this as well. Once you get your blog up you will want to put up new posts as much as you can. If you’re not a great writer there are services that will write for you, but best to learn as you won’t want to hire them as much as you need to write. My favorite fishing blog is Tactical Bassin or Wired2fish. As you can see Tactical Bassin has a very basic blog but they are wildly successful. Wired2fish’s blog is way more complex and put together aesthetically, but that doesn’t mean you cant be successful with something a little more basic like Tactical Bassin.
Google Trends is a great way to find topics that are trending. You can use that your advantage when looking for a topic to write about and optimize your SEO to the fullest, as people are already searching for those topics. Once you have a great blog and you are generating tons of traffic to your site the skies the limit. When you do get there you can set up affiliate marketing links so you can help your brands sell product. If you don’t have a partnership that you want, you can then approach them with the analytics for your site and some will send you product to review or even pay for you to feature them on your blog depending on your traffic. With the blog you will to tie in Video, Social and market it as much as you can. One great piece of advice is to partner with other blogs and do joint posts and cross promote, its a great way to get your name out there. If you are having trouble on what to write about you can go to Google Trends and type in “Fishing” or “Bass Fishing” and it will give you a relevant topic that is trending at that time.
The Little Things
Now that we have discussed the main things to get you where you want to be here is a list of things you can do that will help as well
- Branding on boat, jersey, or anything else you can get them on
- Wear your sponsors shirts and hats around town, to the lake and in your pictures/videos.
- Go on podcasts or radio shows to promote them and yourself
- Go to trade shows – we went to ICAST this year and it was totally worth it. We built a lot of good relationships that converted into partnerships soon after we got back.
- Share their posts on your social media to help promote them
- Performance on the water
- Give back to the community and volunteer at events with in the industry.
If you want to make this work and get your sponsors just put in the work. You will get better over time and things will start to happen. We hope this helps, good luck!
At FishIn48, our Arizona fishing guide service offers the best fishing trips in the state! We are a full-service fishing charter in Arizona. We provide top-rated bass fishing in Arizona as we specialize in bass fishing trips while also targeting all of Arizona’s other species such as Crappie, Catfish, Stripers, and Bluegill. We are known as one of the best fishing charters in Arizona as our guides spend over 250 days on the water every year and we have fully rigged tournament bass boats! Book a trip today on our website or call Nick Teschler at 602-750-7181.
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