Welcome to the last blog in my sponsorship series! These past two weeks I have discussed how to seek sponsorship and what to expect when negotiating with sponsors. Today I will wrap everything up by discussing how to maintain a good relationship with sponsors. My goal with this final blog is to help you foster a great relationship with current/potential sponsors.
Blog 3: How to maintain a good relationship with sponsors
Being professional involves conducting yourself in an appropriate, business-like manner and is one of the most important things you can do as a sponsored athlete. You want to be easy to contact, easy to work with, and have followed through on any obligations.
Some basic tips to be professional as a sponsored athlete:
-Respond to e-mails/phone calls/messages/etc. in a timely manner. The easier you are to contact, the easier you are to work with.
-Follow through on your obligations. Follow your contract explicitly. If you are supposed to post about your sponsor 3x/month, make sure you post about that sponsor 3x/month.
-When appropriate, go above and beyond.
Represent the company well
Simply be a good ambassador for the company. You are not just representing yourself anymore, you are representing a company as well and you want to make them proud. Treat everyone with respect and do your best to remain positive in all situations.
Communicate with your sponsors
Sponsors are supporting you for a reason. They believe in you and what you are doing, so they want to be kept updated on your progress, future trips, competitions, etc. There will be times where you feel like you’re talking to your sponsors weekly because so much is happening and other times it will be more spaced out. During the more spaced out times it is important to stay in contact with your sponsors, a quick e-mail to say you are training hard for your next competition or a brief rundown about an upcoming outdoor trip where you are going to send your project go a long way.
Send your sponsors pictures/videos
Companies always need content for social media, their website, etc. The more content you are able to give a company, the more likely they are to use that content. It is relatively easy to shoot your own content or have a friend help you. Many times, companies aren’t using 100% professionally shot photos/videos on their social media channels. Don’t ever feel like you can’t send a photo or a video to a sponsor because it isn’t good enough. Effort goes a long way and you don’t need to wait for the perfect photo to share it.
Update your social media regularly
Keeping your social media updated helps you stay relevant and shows that you are living a busy, exciting life. So much of media has become about following the everyday lives of people, for example, reality TV is incredibly popular. You may feel like you should only post when you send your project, but many people would like to see the hard work that went into the project or your homemade trail mix you made for your day at the crag. People aren’t only interested in your accomplishments; they’re interested in you.
You don’t need to update the world on your every move, but keeping the world updated keeps the world interested. I believe you should minimally post on social media once per week. The maximum amount of posts varies on what you are doing at the time. If you are on an incredible trip somewhere, it will be natural to post more often than not. If you are at home training, you can post less often.
The magic number of how often to post truly does vary by person and situation. I personally aim to post 5-7x/week. However, if I am traveling, I definitely post more often.
In summary, the best thing you can do as a sponsored athlete is be on top of your game athletically and businesswise. It is a privilege to become sponsored and simple tips can help you nurture a career-long relationship with your sponsors.
Final words of advice
When I sent my first sponsorship request at age 10 I had no idea what my climbing career would become. However, I did believe that anything was possible. If I could give you the most crucial piece of advice I have learned throughout the years…believe in yourself. The first step to accomplishing anything is the belief that you can do it!
Thank you for reading!
Wow, I cannot believe that this is the last blog in my sponsorship series. I have had a great time writing these blogs, reading your responses, and answering your questions. I hope you have enjoyed reading these blogs and that they have given you some ideas on how to approach sponsorship.