Do you love fishing? Do you want to get sponsored by a fishing company to promote their products? If so, this post is for you. In this post, we will discuss how to get a fishing company to sponsor you. We will provide tips on how to create a proposal that catches the eye of potential sponsors, and how to make the most of your sponsorship agreement.
We've been on both side of the fence, from being asked to sponsor someone to working with brands to promote their products. This guide comes from conversations with Pro Staff managers and anglers alike, from weekend warriors to Elite Series Champions, and others in the fishing industry, about their thoughts on getting sponsored and working with their sponsors.
Bloggers and influencers are always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with brands. If you love fishing and want to get paid to promote fishing products, then it's time to get your game together and start knocking on some doors.
Where do you start?
First and foremost, create a list of companies that you want to approach for fishing sponsorships. What products do you use that you love, that you could easily show to others?
Make a list of all the products in your tackle box. What do you keep in your boat? You have rain gear, right? All of these companies are perfect for you to approach. Remember, they need your help to sell their products.
Do your research on each company, visit their website, and read their blog posts. This will give you a good idea of what additional products they make and what kind of fishing they are interested in. And better yet, if you are a fit to promote them.
What are you hoping to achieve? Is it just a casual relationship with fishing companies, or do your ultimate goals involve pursuing professional opportunities and developing into an influential angler that can make waves within the fishing industry. Usually it's best to start with an end in mind. A good example would be someone who wants only local/regional level sponsorship - they have very little chance at getting high numbers of paying sponsorships due largely because there is already such competition from other fishermen looking for support (and brands being hammered with requests daily).
It's not about what you can get from a company, but rather the value of your experience and how much good that does for them. A business will only hire someone on their pro staff if they see potential in his/her work; it should be seen as an opportunity to grow together instead of just receiving benefits at first glimpse like other jobs may offer. When considering joining the team imagine yourself being able help make decisions regarding new product launches - do these sound appealing? And ask yourself, can I create value for this company?
Believe it or not, it's actually not about catching fish! That part is assumed. The real question is how you can help contribute to a brand and company that will invest in your future. You might be surprised what kind of sponsorship opportunities are available for people who want something more than just free gear or cash donations. One pro bass angler once told us, when talking about his sponsorships, "There is SO much opportunity....everybody sponsors".
Get your presentation together
Now you're chomping at the bit, right? First thing you'll need to do is to build a "media kit". A media kit is a document that contains information about you as an angler, your fishing resume, your social following, your engagement, and your email list results (if you have one, most don't).
This is not the time to be modest. You need to put your best foot forward and sell yourself. Include any tournament results, fishing awards, blog posts, interviews or articles you've done.
There are online programs and software like PowerPoint for the PC, Keynote for the Mac, and also www.canva.com, which has templates to create a professional looking media kit. This is a must, so don't skip this part. Many people don't have this, so this will also be something that sets you apart.
Clean up your social media, if necessary
If you're spending time on social posting memes with f-bombs galore, you'd better clean things up a bit. Brands don't want to work with people who bring on controversy; they're focused on selling their products and don't need distractions. Scrub your posts before applying for brand deals.
Create a basic fishing sponsorship proposal
Next, create a proposal that outlines what you can do for the brand. You'll need to communicate the platforms where you will promote their products, ideas for content, and your proposed content schedule. As with any business proposal, your fishing sponsorship proposal should be well-thought-out and professional.
Be sure to tailor your proposal to each individual fishing company, and not to make it generic. Again, just as you created your media kit, you can create proposals in PowerPoint, Keynote or Canva.
Treat your application like a job interview
Pro Staff managers work at their job just like you work at yours. They want to work with good people, and want to make sure that their Pro Staffers will fit well with the company. So you need to come at a sponsorship opportunity like it's a job interview.
See above. It's a professional situation, so treat it that way. How are you dressed? Did you forget to comb your hair? It sounds so basic, and it is, but it's important. This includes your online comments, private messages, and email communications. You want to be perceived as a valuable, professional asset to the company, not a liability. They get a lot of applicants, and you're trying to set yourself apart.
Watch your spelling!
It's a pity that we have to even bring this up. And today, there's no excuse, with things like spellcheck and Grammarly. If you spell sponsorship incorrectly, like sponsership, you won't even make it to the end of the Pro Staff manager's laughter.
The best way to find Pro Staff Managers
The best way to start to find a fishing company's Pro Staff Manager is to look on the fishing company's website. Every fishing company that has a Pro Staff has contact information for their Pro Staff manager on their website. You can also find lists of fishing companies and their Pro Staff managers by doing a Google search. Just type in something like "fishing companies and their Pro Staff managers".
Another avenue for finding fishing company Pro Staff Managers is to look on social media, specifically Instagram and Facebook. Many fishing companies post their contact information for their Pro Staff manager in the bio section of their social accounts. Once you have the contact information for a fishing company's Pro Staff manager, you can reach out to them via email or social media message.
We've found that LinkedIn is an excellent way to contact a Pro Staff Manager, and most people just won't use LinkedIn this way. You can build your network in a hurry by making 20 connection requests a day on LinkedIn. You can't go above 20 per day due to LinkedIn's recent rule changes, but even at 20 a day, you will generate activity. Not everyone will respond on LinkedIn, but you WILL get responses, and they will be on a different level than other social outlets. LinkedIn is known for being professional, a place where business gets done, and you will find fishing industry professionals here.
When reaching out to a fishing company's Pro Staff manager, be sure to introduce yourself and let them know how you can promote their products. It's also a good idea to include your media kit in your initial contact. You can even use a google drive link for your media kit if the file size is too large. Some would say you should also send an initial proposal when you are first making contact with a brand. We say don't, not yet. Give yourself time to have a conversation first, and build the relationship a bit.
Once you have a conversation with a brand manager, they may ask you for a sponsorship proposal. And when THEY ask YOU, you stand a high likelihood of getting sponsored. Your proposal should outline what you are offering in exchange for being sponsored. For example, if you are an influencer with a large following, you could offer to post sponsored photos and videos of you using the fishing products, or write blog posts about your fishing experiences.
They may even have a requirement for how many times you'll need to post per month. Some companies have requirements, the smaller ones most likely will not.
Introduce yourself and your fishing brand
Once you have created your proposal, it is time to start reaching out to fishing companies. Start by doing some research and finding fishing companies that you think would be a good fit for your proposal. Then, contact them, preferably via email.
You can use social media to introduce yourself, but email will set you apart right away. We've talked to Pro Staff Managers who say they get upwards of 100 requests a week. So you have to do what you can to differentiate. If you can find their email address, go there first.
LinkedIn is another excellent resource. Connect with Pro Staff managers and once connected you can professionally send them a message that you're looking to join their Pro Staff. Make sure your LinkedIn profile is optimized and professional.
Be sure to include a link to your proposal so they can easily find it. Finally, follow up with them in a few days to get an update on the status. 90% of deals happen in the follow up, and the majority of people send one email and quit. Don't be the majority.
How To Get A Fishing Sponsorship
- Outline what you are offering in exchange for being sponsored.
- Include a detailed sponsorship proposal.
- Reach out to fishing companies via email or social media.
- Follow up with fishing companies after initial contact. Include a link to your proposal.
- Fishing and hunting companies are always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with bloggers and influencers, whether they're still in high school or if they're an industry veteran.
As with any business proposal, your sponsorship proposal should be well-thought-out and professional. You will need to include information about who you are, what fishing industry products you currently use and why you love them, your social media reach and engagement rates, as well as any other relevant information that would be of interest to a fishing company. In addition, make sure to include a detailed sponsorship proposal outlining what you are offering in exchange for sponsorships.
Things you need when applying for a bass fishing Pro Staff position
Why should they sponsor you?
What is it that you can bring to the table that other fishing enthusiasts cannot?
-Do you have a large following?
-Are you an experienced fisherman with a wealth of bass fishing, or other fishing knowledge to share?
-Do you have a blog or website dedicated to fishing?
-Do you have an email list?
Whatever it is that makes you unique, be sure to highlight it in your proposal. Fishing companies are always looking for new opportunities to collaborate with bloggers and social media influencers, so make sure you let them know what you can offer.
Your Media Kit
Include all of your social media links as well as any blog or website links that you may have. Your media kit should include information about your social media following, engagement rates, and any other relevant information that would be of interest to a fishing company.
Do you have an email list?
This is truly the "secret sauce" to getting sponsored from an outdoor company. We've been told by many Pro Staff Managers that if someone came to them and had an email list, that would be "game changing". And the vast majority of applicants for Pro Staff Positions, DON'T have an email list.
Why is an email list important?
An email list is important because it's another channel for the brand to reach your followers. And it takes you away from the mercy of the social platforms and their algorithms.
On Facebook and Instagram, for instance, a site with 50,000 followers can only get a small percentage of them to see a post because the site's algorithm throttles the exposure of any given post. Their motivation is that they want you to "pay to play". You probably have seen the "Boost Post" buttons on these sited, that's because they want your money in order to open up the algorithm to show your post to more people. It's just a fact of how these sites operate.
But, if you have a percentage of your followers subscribed to your list, then you can reach them ANY TIME YOU WANT. And that's a significant benefit for a brand to have access to your tribe.
How to build an email list?
This can be a subject of an entirely different article. But it's relatively easy to do.
You can use free email apps and follow their directions to build a "Landing Page" to send people to in order to collect their email address. You can give something away, or give access to free video content that you've produced, for instance, in exchange for their email address.
So the next time you do a giveaway, which is a good way to build a list, send people to a landing page, and have them enter the giveaway that way. Most people will do a giveaway on Instagram, for example, and the call to action will be "Tag 3 friends", which builds your following, but again, you're still building on a platform where you have no control. Your email list gives you control.
Your content schedule
This is a good time to start thinking about what kind of content you'll be creating and how often you'll be creating it. If you're not sure, that's ok, but it's something to start thinking about.
Some fishing companies will want to see a content schedule as part of your sponsorship proposal. They want to know that you're committed to creating quality content on a regular basis.
We suggest what we call the 3 Plus 1 content schedule. That means that 3 posts are education, a lifestyle post, or a how-to, and then the Plus 1 is a specific offer or your own or of one of your sponsors. This schedule strikes a good balance of information and offers. If there are too many offers, an audience can tune out.
But if you use this strategy, and communicate this to your sponsor you'll set yourself apart because most people don't think this way, they just post whatever they want to post, with no rhyme or reason as to why.
Think about who your audience is and what they're interested in. What kind of content are they looking for? What kind of fishing do they want to see?
Do you use the company's products?
Don't use the company's products? You better start! Make sure you're familiar with them and can communicate why people need to use them. It's best to target companies whose products you already use, then expand from there.
Getting Fishing Sponsorships - Conclusion
Still not sure about how to go about getting sponsored?
That's perfectly fine, you're not alone. There are so many really good bass fishing candidates out there who want to get sponsored but just don't know how to go about it. And, those good candidates are needed by fishing companies to help them sell their gear in the new economy.
Years ago, it was much easier in bass fishing, but there wasn't as much opportunity. If you need help with building your outdoor business, from getting sponsored to creating an entire online business, our friends at the Outdoor Profits Academy can help. For more information you can visit them at www.outdoorprofitsacademy.com/doneforyou
Cheers to the outdoors,
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