One of the most frequent questions I am asked when I meet people at expos, or fitness events, is “how do I get sponsored”?
The answer to this question is fairly straightforward, and can pretty much be summed up in one word: VALUE!
My answer often spins this question around, and asks “Why would a brand want to sponsor you”?
If you can’t answer this question with a clear and precise list of reasons, chances are, you are barking up the wrong tree in your hunt for a brand to take you on.
When trying to partner with a company, you must offer them value in the same way that an employee offers value to an employer.
In fitness, this value can broadly be broken down into a few main categories:
1) You Look Great!
If you have that look (a rippling six pack, glutes of a bikini pro and cheek bones to die for), you have a good shot of being used as a ‘model’ athlete. This is where a brand will want to use your image and look to promote whatever it is they are selling.
You take a great picture, don’t need filters, and the camera was made to love you!
If you are one of these ‘unicorns’, chances are you have already been snapped up by some agencies, and have a background in modelling. If not, you may have to try exploring some other options!
Unfortunately, there is not much you can do about this one: you either have it, or you don’t. Not everyone was born to be a Victoria Secret model! However, there are more ways to get noticed by a brand than just outright good looks.
2) Be Aligned with The Brand
Every brand has a point of difference, or something that separates them from the rest. The way these brands are marketed and promoted will have a big impact on who they choose to market and promote them.
A well-established brand, who have built a reputation on trust and being a reputable company with high levels of integrity will choose their athletes carefully; athletes who mirror their ethos, and reflect their brand values.
These athletes are a little bit more experienced, usually have a background in sport and performance, are well trusted, and respected in their chosen field.
You can compare this to other brands who are more lifestyle focused, and see how the marketing and athlete stable is subtly different.
A brand who is more focused on the ‘work hard, play hard’ attitude. Their marketing, branding and athletes will reflect this.
The athletes that represent them may be a mix of YouTube stars, extreme sports athletes and DJ/ Lifestyle personalities.
Be authentic to yourself, your personality and the way you live your life, then try and find brands that resonate with who you are.
You are much more likely to be successful in being sponsored by a brand that is authentic to you, and how you live, than just going after a brand because you want to be sponsored!
3) Have A Voice!
Now, this is probably one of the most important factors; social media is arguably the biggest driver in online marketing in todays’ fitness industry.
If you have a large following on Facebook, Instagram or YouTube, this gives you a loud voice in a quiet crowd. No doubt, if you are putting out quality content, and regularly interacting with your followers, your voice will be respected and your followers will be very loyal to you.
When I first started out, I made a commitment to those who followed my pages that I would document all my training and nutrition tips daily, to give them something to follow. This consistency and availability for free content has seen my following grow steadily over the last 5 years to over a million people!
Having this voice is incredibly valuable to brands, as you have an engaged audience who are listening to what you are saying - that is where you add value!
Now, in terms of growing a social following, this is getting harder and harder as algorithms and paid promotions will almost certainly influence how your page organically grows.
If you focus on being consistent with your posting, add real value to the people who follow you; offering informative content, and enjoy what you are doing, the value you are providing for your followers will soon come back to you as value seen by big brands that want to work with you!
Check out Shaun's first blog post, right here!