How to Become a Sponsored Athlete?

You prepared, competed, won then what?? Want to be a new face then sponsorship can be the best option for you but how you’ll get it from brands. Here in this article we’re providing facts that will help you to get sponsors.

You are an athlete - a bodybuilding athlete, a runner or a sports athlete. Now imagine participating in as many competitions as you can at no cost to you. Imagine running as many races and marathons regardless of the fees. Of course, not to mention free clothing, apparels, sports gear, shoes and supplements to prepare for your athletic feats!

Many athletes in India yearn for the apt sponsorships, yet have absolutely no idea how to go about it. There are many people who assume that sponsorships are only meant for a set of elite athletes but that is simply not true. It is sponsorship that makes you elite and you can gain name with the branding you get through a sponsor. Hence, it is time to understand how this ‘other way round’ mechanism works in the market.

There is another notion that states that only having a good instagram following or other social media platforms gets you sponsorships. This is again a big misconception! For example, in Indian bodybuilding industry, there are many athletes who are renowned and have done good work but still are either frequently changing brands or are not associated with the big brands in the market at all.

Despite being a brand themselves in athletic field they haven’t been matched up with the brand of their cadre. There are several such case studies in the Indian market. Bodyandstrength.com has gone to the depth of it and have come out with a solution for all the athletes as well as brands existing in the market.

These steps can shed some light on the often-misunderstood process of sponsorships and give you a leg up on others looking for opportunities. This may be your time to become a sponsored athlete and get paid for doing what you love.

1. Why companies sponsor athletes?

The clock goes round on selling products and services. Different companies use different marketing strategies. Those that sponsor athletes use sponsorship as a form of marketing to sell their goods.

The athletes they choose to sponsor usually represent their target market.

In some cases, that may be elite athletes. In other cases, it may be somebody who has good communication skills and is known for his or her convincing skills. Yet other brands may be targeting exceptionally good looking athletes with an appealing camera presence. Some brands target young athletes buzzing with energy and optimism and yet other brands would look out for wise, experienced and inspiring ones. Keep in mind that all companies are looking for someone that represents their desired image, who can help them sell products.

Hence, when you are searching for companies to sponsor you, consider your own image. You can think that you are well-known athlete and still wonder why a well-known brand isn’t approaching you or sponsoring you? You have to work on your image according to the type of sponsorship and brand you are aiming at.

The secret lies in the hands of the public. Public may like you but might not be get influenced by you. You may be a good athlete for many but yet may lack certain trait that influence a serious audience when it comes to investing money to buy a product. The image clearly should be of an honest, humble, understanding and graceful one. This image hardly ever goes wrong and this requires a change of mindset and thinking beyond momentary adrenaline rush which you are getting from attention on social media.

2. Build an authentic audience for your performance

Yes, what is important is to build an audience, people who watch your progress on stage or on the tracks. Who are keen to be the part of your competing journey either on social media or live. Not only share your achievements, share your participation live. Do not fake your achievements as audience and brands are up to date with the news and know what’s working and what’s not.

If you have participated, the journey of your preparation, people follow and learn with you. Even if you haven’t won, your determination and promising way of handling things influence people, they also get equally disappointed and would wish you to win genuinely next time. This makes you get genuine supporters and hence, the brands are impressed by this.

You have to build an authentic audience through a third party that promotes you because when a third party like media or news talks about you, you are considered authentic. Even for getting blue ticks on your social media account and for getting a Wikipedia page of your own, you must have digital or print media files authenticating your achievements and this should be a continuous process to upscale yourself as a brand in people’s eyes who will recall you more easily over your contenders because they are seeing you more frequently through media.

You can build a reliable audience through blogging and putting your optimism, dedication and inspiration forward in front of the public with good research or experience based content after knowing on social media, what kind of solutions they are looking out from you. Of course, this content has to be simple but presented in a very engaging way.

Next and not the last, use social media for gauging the interest of your followers, especially, those who appear more frequently on your comment and like list. Take out time to engage with them and communicate with them in some motivating discussion and let them know the human side of you. People don’t forget this kind of engagement and social media is the best place for ‘image building’ and not ‘image flaunting’ or shallow ‘show-offs’.

Fake news builds fake audience and you lose your influencing value. If you win, you any way become a sensational influencer and being and influencer doubles up your authentic and loyal audience which in turn gets the attention of the brands and they definitely, will connect to you.

3. Figure the kind of sponsorship you are looking for

It is important to know what are your core sponsorship requirements. Of course, if you are a promising athlete, brands may pamper you with their products say, a supplement brand may offer you free year of supplement supply for you or at a special discounted rate in return of you being seen as their poster boy or girl, promoting their brand wherever possible and talking about it. If you are a successful athlete, they might even pay you cash apart from their product supply allowance. If you have a hit blog and authentic social media following on top of success then you are in a state to negotiate on your expectations from the brands approaching you.

After building up an audience both live and social media through your social image of an authentic influencer, you have to figure out what kind of sponsorship you are looking for and how far does it match your career and popularity status.

4. How to communicate?

Now this is a tricky stage in which you have to determine who to contact in brands’ offices and who to approach in their PR or marketing department to make it work for you in a positive way. In India, if we keep the national sports industry aside, for fitness and bodybuilding sources there is no conduit or third party which can connect potential athletes and influencers to the brands in an authentic and legal way where brands and athletes both settle for an amicable association without any conflicts on the part of their association.

Changing brands frequently or face of the brand frequently, doesn’t go down well with the potential consumers and they eventually, question the credibility of the athlete and the brand both because it is them in the end, who are going to buy and use the product in question. Hence, it is a responsible task which can be put to system only by a responsible medium.

Most of the times your profile, image, testimonials by the public bring up your market value and helps you get endorsements and if the above points are kept in mind, a strategic approach is adhered then you can yourself land up long running and beneficial associations for yourself!

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