Getting bass fishing sponsors is a difficult task that you must work at. You have to put yourself a step ahead of the rest of the anglers that are also seeking sponsors. Before approaching potential sponsors, you have to be prepared to talk with them, and you have to be able to prove you’re more visible than the other anglers. Communication and visibility will sell products, and that’s what tackle companies and boat dealers need and want.
I have already talked about being able to speak on your feet, making sure to be positive with anglers and CEO’s in an article titled “Catching Bass Fishing Sponsors”. I talked about how you never know where possible sponsors can come from. That you need to be able to speak on your feet to other anglers and company representatives. To sell yourself quickly and present a good image of someone that seemed friendly and easy to talk too. Not overbearing but not shy or guarded either. Companies need staff that will get out and mingle, get the word out about their products, and present the image they want.
Next in a process of obtaining sponsors is getting your name visible. In today’s market, social media is at everyone’s finger tips. If you’re not using it, you are missing out on a fantastic way to get your name in front of a lot of influential people. Now keep in mind, influential people can be everyone from a company president to everyday angler connections. A hundred bass fishing friends that are willing to listen to what you have to say is good, but a thousand is better. Companies want anglers on their staff that can reach ten thousand anglers. Thankfully for us, the internet can help with that; however it does take work and dedication.
Social Media outlets, Twitter and Facebook, you will either love them or hate them. I’m on the fence with it. I have lost countless hours trying to keep up with Facebook. I’m not going to begin to tell you how to manipulate it to your advantage, because honestly, I don’t know for sure, but I can tell you that when you apply to be on staff with a company they will look to see if you have a profile. One of the fastest ways a company can get a snap shot of a potential staff member is to google his or her name. I mention Facebook and Twitter more as a warning than a useful tool. What you post on the internet is written in stone; don’t post anything you wouldn’t want to answer to later in life.
If you google my name, Mike Cork, you will find that there are a few of us in the world. But the first link that comes up about me is my staff page on Ultimate Bass and the second is my resume. These weren’t accidents. And they didn’t happen overnight. Another claim I don’t have is to know exactly how the search engines work. I have some ideas and theories but no one really knows the standards by which search engines use to determine relevance. (Note: if the true formula ever got out it could be catastrophic to the world wide web; that said there are sources online that have figured out ways to improve your rankings and some of them work, just not overnight.) Through updates and links to my about me page and resume, I have been able to move my search engine results from the depths of the internet to the front page. I believe the last time I checked, the Mike Cork that is me, is third and fourth on the list. If you have a more unique name it will be easier to get the top spot, and vice versa if you have a more common name you’re going to have to work harder.
Why is it important to have your name high in the search engine? Simply because companies use search engines to acquire information about you. If they have to dig through a ton of possible people with your name, the task takes too long, and they’ll move to the next candidate. Also, those that use the internet to explore your world understand that the higher you are in the listings the more your name is relevant to the internet world. Relevant to the Internet world means that you have a lot of information out there, and people have been reading it. That means if company X brings you on staff and you write about them; a lot of anglers are going to see it.
What can you do to improve your search engine rankings? Writing articles and getting them published on the internet is a fantastic way to increase your names popularity with the search engines. Getting published also associates your name with fishing. Go back to google and type in “Mike Cork Bass Fishing” every link that shows up on the front page will be a link to me, or something I’ve done. Now when a potential sponsor sees that, it carries a little weight. That doesn’t guarantee me a spot on their staff, but I bet I make it to the pile of applicants that say “possible” on it.
Every article I write has a link to my resume; it simply says at the bottom of the article, “Learn more about Mike Cork”. The more articles I write, the higher relevance I achieve in the search engines. The more articles I write that anglers like to read also improves my rankings. It’s a known fact that the more you’re found, the easier you’re found. The larger your reader base gets the higher your search engine rankings get.
Some other ways to improve your search engine rankings are to use forums. Most of you reading this probably already use forums. However, I’ll bet 99 percent of you have used a fake screen name that has some significance to you, however, not to others. This is a huge mistake if you’re trying to get your name announced to the bass fishing community. Google does catalog everything ever put on the internet. Some sites might be scanned only once a month, while other sites like Ultimate Bass are scanned multiple times a day. Using your real name on forums can help your rankings. Forum posts are not nearly as creditable as articles, but it’s a piece of the puzzle. Fishing reports are a great way to get started in forums. If you’re serious about sponsors, you’re obviously fishing quite a lot. Posting in a forum does two things; it gets you visibility with the fishing community and associates your name with specific lakes or techniques. If you have a favorite jig or crankbait, and this company is someone that you would like to work for, take the first step and tell people that ask, how you’re using it and why you like it.
A blog is another small piece of the puzzle. They are a lot of work and are only effective if you’re willing to update them constantly. Someone that only updates their blog a couple times a month is only going to get scanned by search engines once a month. Over time, if you update your blog with relevant information daily, the search engines will start coming around more. The more relevant your information, the higher your search engine results. Use blogs in a twofold manner. One, to get your name out. You do this by building an “about me” page, and in every blog entry you put a link to that page. The second fold is to blog about things anglers might search for. How To’s are a great way to get a blog off the ground. Anglers will search for, how to fish a frog, how to fish a spinnerbait, how to fish a Texas rigged worm. Another topic is Where To’s, where to fish these same things.
Bass fishing sponsorships come in a variety of levels. Some sponsorships will be baits at half off or an entry fee paid, others can reach all the way to an annual salary. The level of your sponsorship will depend on how visible you are and how hard you’re willing to work for the company. Both of which, will determine your value to the company. Are you visible enough to sell enough products to make sponsoring you a profitable venture for the company? That’s the question you need to ask yourself.
Stay Tuned for parts three and four.
Learn More about Mike Cork