Are you wondering how to get sponsored?
Feel like you're running in circles trying to figure this stuff out?
I've created a 10 point “Firestarter” checklist that will teach you how to get sponsored fast.
Amateur fighter or pro...
...this step-by-step guide is por joo, mi amigo.
After you have completed all the steps, continually repeat steps 3 – 10. You’re gonna light a fire so bright Katniss will be jealous of you.
Now I'm going to show you how to get sponsored - Let's do this!
How to Get Sponsored Step 1) Tyler Durden was wrong. You are a unique snowflake.
To get noticed by sponsors you need to stand out.
Understand that it is NOT enough to be a great fighter. There are tons of great fighters.
And the higher you move up in the ranks, the more you’ll be surrounded by even greater fighters.
For example: Look at Felice Herrig. Though she's a good fighter she's not the best. Yet she has sponsor's lining up to work with her.
She plays up the cute, athletic, nerdy angle. By doing so she connects with:
- Nerdy guys and girls
- Girls who want to be like her
Is it any surprise that a company like Alienware would want to sponsor Felice?
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Ask yourself, “What do I do that other fighters don’t?”
→TIP: Don’t limit your answers to fighting. Think about ALL the things that make you unique when compared to other fighters.
Maybe you love collecting action figures.
Maybe you’re awesome at creating your own clothes.
Maybe you’re an amazing public speaker.
Perhaps you have a background in some esoteric martial art.
Maybe you only drink Dr. Pepper (seriously, I've known a couple people like this who call themselves “Peppers”, haha).
Maybe you just have a really brash, non-pc personality.
Whatever it is that makes you different, identify it then move to step 2.
How to Get Sponsored Step 2) Get Your Social Media On
Used properly, social media can provide you with huge amounts of FREE exposure.
It’s also a place where you can really show your uniqueness and build relationships.
Additionally, it puts you within the networks of people with influence, i.e. sponsors, promoters, etc.
For example: Once again, Felice Herrig is the perfect person to emulate. She's constantly posting pictures of herself on her social media accounts.
Whether she's relaxing at home or meeting other celebrities, she's always updating her fans on what she's doing throughout the day.
This obviously allows her to connect with fans, but it also gives exposure to the brands that sponsor her, as she'll take nonchalant pictures with her sponsor's gear off in the corner.
Some of you may be thinking, "No way, I'm not gonna post picturess of myself like Felice does to get sponsors." or "I'm not even a woman, I'm a man! haha.
Well, don't worry because you don't have to take the types of pictures Felice does and it doesn't matter whether you're a man or a woman.
Find YOUR angle and promote it; that' how to get sponsored fast.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEPS: Create a Facebook Fan Page and a Twitter account.
→TIP: A Facebook Fan page is different than a regular page.
A Fan page has a “Like” button, which lets people Like the page so it shows up in their friends feed. This helps you gain further exposure.
To set up a Facebook Fan page go here. Select the Artist, Band, or Public Figure option and enter the details.
To set up a Twitter account go here.
If you’re not sure what to do with your accounts, find other fighters who know how to get sponsored.
Model your posting habits after theirs but always display YOUR personality and remember to highlight your unique points.
How to Get Sponsored Step 3) Get Experience And Level Up
Don’t even think about trying to a convince a company to sponsor you by telling them how much you love the sport and how much you can do for them, UNTIL YOU'VE ALREADY DONE IT.
For example: If one of your co-workers came up to you and asked for money to pursue his dreams of investing in stocks, you'd be like "Heck no, man. Ain't nobody got time fo dat."
But what if that same co-worker came up to you and showed you that he already successfully invests in the market?
What if he showed you his bank statements and profit and loss reports?
What if he showed you that even though he has his ups and downs, he usually comes out ahead, making himself and his investors profits?
Which of those two scenarios would you be more likely to listen to with interest?
Which of those two scenarios would you be more likely to say "Yes" to?
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEPS: Get fight experience, carry yourself well, highlight your unique points, and build relationships through social media and in person.
Then, when you meet a potential sponsor and tell them what you can do for them, they’ll believe it. Because it will be true!
→TIP: Don’t talk about it, BE ABOUT IT.
How to Get Sponsored Step 4) Create an Awesome Sponsorship Package
Talk is cheap, so you need something to show a potential sponsor when they agree to meet you.
For example: Remember in step 3 where your co-workers request was much more persuasive when he could SHOW you why investing in his dream would be beneficial for you? Same thing here.
What if in addition to everything else he showed you, he also busted out videos showing himself making trades, showing himself studying the markets 24/7?
What if he gave you a thorough accounting of exactly what you could expect him to do with your money, based on past experience, and what you could reasonably expect in return?
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEPS: Put together a sponsorship package, also called a sponsorship kit, that contains your biographical info, photos, physical stats, fight stats, and levels that are fair and lucrative for both you and the sponsor.
Make sure you have a long term plan in place for growth.
The package should also contain fight and training video’s, and reasons that working with you will benefit the sponsor.
→TIP: Demonstrate the reasons that show how working with you will benefit the sponsor.
In other words, don’t just say “I love your product and would spread the word to everyone I know and make you mad skrilla, broski!”
Instead, show them videos of you using their product on a backpacking trip through the Rockies and hyping it up to people who fit their target market.
Don’t talk about your value, DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUE.
Let your actions do the talking.
DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUE.
Drill this into your head.
Don’t talk about your value, DEMONSTRATE YOUR VALUE!
How to Get Sponsored Step 5) Seek Out Companies That Resonate With Your Uniqueness, And Have A History Of Sponsoring Fighters
It will be easier to attract sponsors when your unique selling point matches their brand image.
Plus, it will be more enjoyable for you since you can be yourself. No need to pretend to be something you’re not.
Also, it will be a much easier sell, and save you time, when you talk to a company that has sponsored fighters in the past.
Since they've done it before you know it’s something they’re interested in and have the structure in place.
For example: Imagine you have to travel across country and choose between two routes, and you want to get to your destination as fast as possible.
You know that one route has been successfully traveled quickly by numerous people before you, and the other seems like it will get you there fast but you don't know anyone who's actually traveled it.
Based on the information you have, which route is the one most likely to get you to your destination the fastest?
The first one, of course.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Make a list of every company whose brand image matches your personality, and have sponsored fighters before.
→TIP: When you run out of companies you can think of, try searching Google with the terms:
“mma” + “sponsorship”
(This will search for pages that contain both the words “mma” and “sponsorship”)
(This will search for pages containing the word “fighter”, and website addresses containing the word “sponsor”)
How to Get Sponsored Step 6) Promote The Products Of The Companies You Identified In Step 5
“Whoa, wait, what? Why would I promote products for companies when they haven’t even sponsored me yet??” is what you may be asking yourself.
The answer is simple: A sure way to get attention, exposure, and build relationships is to offer your services for free.
It also goes back to the whole “Don’t talk about it, be about it” thing.
This is an easy way to prove to the company that you’re the type of fighter they should sponsor.
You’re showing that you love their product and are willing to promote it.
You’re showing drive, and you’re giving the potential sponsor a glimpse into what working with you will be like.
This makes sponsoring you less of a risk; which is something that all companies are concerned about.
For example: Sean Sherk promoted the Training Mask before many people knew about it. Sean didn't have to do this, but he did and it caught the attention of the company.
He represented the market they wanted to reach, and Sean showed he was willing to promote it, thus reducing risk to the company allowing the upside to shine through.
Sponsoring Sean became an obvious choice that might not have been so obvious if Sean hadn't proactively promoted the product to begin with.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Post great pictures of yourself using the product(s) on your social media.
→TIP: The more creative the pictures the better, and tag the company in the messages with the “@” symbol. This will bring the post to their attention.
Talk about how much you love their product. Talk about the positive effects it has had on your life.
Show enthusiasm and passion for the product(s) every chance you get.
How to Get Sponsored Step 7) Reach Out to Sponsors
A huge part of the sponsorship equation is getting companies to see you. You have the best chance of doing that when you deliberately put yourself in front of them.
For example: You're reading this right now as a direct result of my outreach efforts. Whether you found this article through Google, from a post on another site, or elsewhere, it all started because I spent time reaching out to hundreds of people and promoting the content.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Email the companies you identified in step 5.
→TIP: Locate the email for the person in charge of the branding program, such as the Brand Manager.
If you are unable to locate the brand manager’s email, or this position doesn't exist within the company, email the person most likely to be in charge of branding.
If all else fails, email the person at the top of the food chain.
The person at the top is much more likely to forward the message to the appropriate person, than if you send the message to someone lower in the hierarchy.
Here’s a free tool that I use to locate emails when I’m doing my own outreach. I’m not affiliated with Buzzstream, I just really like that tool and it’s free. Free is awesome.
How to Get Sponsored Step 8) E.T. Phone Home
This is where you pick up the phone and make some calls.
I know calling someone you don’t know is a bit scary.
But you're serious about your MMA career, so it’s time to put on your game face and do it.
Besides, if you've completed all the previous steps you’ll likely already be on the radar of the people you contact.
For example: No example needed. Just take action. If you can't reach people by email, call them.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Call the brand managers or the appropriate person in the company, and sell yourself.
→TIP: Call on a Tues, Wed, or Thurs for the best chance of reaching someone.
Do not call on a Monday or Friday.
Mondays are when everyone is flooded with projects, and still recovering from the weekend.
The last thing they want is more work.
Fridays are when everyone is mentally checked out, and ready to start their weekend plans.
The last thing they want is more work.
How to Get Sponsored Step 9) Network Network Network
The saying that “It’s about who you know” is true.
The larger your network of friends, fans, and associates, the larger your chance to meet a company decision maker and get sponsored.
For example: Every successful person ever.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: Talk to everyone you meet.
→TIP: Find out who the people with influence are and focus the majority of your networking efforts on them.
Who are the people that could put you in touch with a large of amount of company brand managers?
These people are often busy so to get their attention and build a relationship, find out what they are struggling with and offer to help them for free.
How to Get Sponsored Step 10) Namedrop Often
People want to work with people who other people want to work with.
It’s human nature to automatically assign value to someone when your peers already value that person.
“Halt peasant! Dare not, ye swine, to take but one step closer or I shall gouge thouest eyes out with a runcible spoon! Oh…what’s that you say? You’re friends with my dear Aunt Charlie? Well then, clearly you’re an amazing mammal. Pleased to meet you! How may I help you?”
For example: When I created the expert roundup where fighter's revealed their top tips to get sponsored I dropped names like it's hot.
Each time a new fighter responded with their sponsorship tip, I mentioned their name when contacting the next one. This opened doors that otherwise would have been closed.
How to Get Sponsored - ACTION STEP: If you happen to work, and have a good reputation with, a peer of the person you’re reaching out to, MENTION IT.
→TIP: Namedrop when you land a sponsor as well! When you land Sponsor A, make sure to mention it to Sponsor B when you reach out to them.
Doing this will increase your value in the eyes of the sponsor you’re reaching out to, and make it more likely they’ll communicate with you.
How to Get Sponsored Step - Your Next Step
You're probably thinking, "That was great but that's a lot of info on getting a sponsorship. I wish there was an easy way to print it all out so I could take it anywhere."
Well never fear, for a summarized, downloadable, checklist is here!
Click the image below to download the checklist.
Now, in the comment section below, tell me 3 things about yourself that you can highlight to catch the attention of sponsors.