So you’ve decided to get involved professionally in the sport of Bass Fishing. I have some advice that just might help. First, gather as much information as you can. Scour- no, devour- the internet. Read blogs, listen to pod casts and videos on how others became professional anglers. Ike has an CD called “Professional Bass Fishing”- which is his “how-to”. iBass360 has interviewed numerous pros and we always ask them for advice for up and coming anglers, as well as their stories on how they got where they are. One thing you hear over and over is that building relationships and contacts, and gaining visibility for your brand, is critical. That, and most talk of “sacrifice”- the “beyond just hard work” part of fishing.
I mentioned the need to gain visibility for your brand. Of course, that means you need to have
one! You can start by filming your fishing trips, doing unboxings and how-to videos, and edit them to put on social media. Potential sponsors need to see that you have something to say, that it is credible, and that you have a talent for delivering your message. People will watch your videos and follow your social media if they believe you have some knowledge from which they can benefit. Therefore, a good way to establish your brand is to establish yourself as an educator- a fisherman with knowledge to pass on to others looking to improve their fishing. You need to be recognized as someone who can deliver knowledge credibly based on your solid experience.
Regardless of your exact approach, there are a few very important things to consider to when establishing your brand. First, you need to change the way you look at yourself. You are not just
one of many weekend warriors posting your catch on social media. To be a professional, you need to think and act professionally. You need to learn the not-so-subtle difference between visibility- being seen as a talented fisherman offering sound advice, and exposure- think the plumbers crack. When people start to seek out your social media to learn from you, you must realize you have become a brand and everything you say and do reflects on that brand. People you meet in the industry and the Companies you work with will expect you to maintain a positive image- a high standard- on and off the water. Whether you like it or not, your actions, and people’s perception of those actions, can make or break your career. Your decisions, communications and actions
create the image people will have of you. Everyone loves positive, passionate people who create positive marketing experiences for their sponsors and causes. They don’t like drama and controversy that could negatively impact their own image or brand.
It is extremely important to have confidence in yourself, and in what you are doing and saying. My mother used to tell me “if you don’t believe in yourself, nobody else will.” So true! People are attracted to people that are confident in their abilities. Trust me, when you’re speaking to a crowd of people- big or small- or you are creating social media for an audience of potential followers, the first thing they will notice is your confidence or lack thereof. It’s also important to change your vocabulary- don’t use words like try, might, amateur, unsure etc. Use
words that create and convey professionalism and a “can do” spirit. Also remember your schooling- proper usage and spelling are important and can cause positive or negative impressions.
In order to get visibility for your brand, you really need to get involved in the industry. You really need to make videos, write articles, reach out to local tackle shops, work fishing shows, and find a platform to offer seminars. These activities need to be well planned. Much of this requires getting out and pounding the pavement. Build relationships with local tackle shop owners and the people who represent brands you use. You should have a promotional “flyer”- a fishing resume- that
highlights your achievements, contact information and what you can do for the Companies or shops you want to represent. Although you will want something from the relationship, you must remember that, in the eyes of a potential sponsor, it’s what you can do for them and not what they might do for you that matters. Let these companies know the work you have done and provide them with photos or other examples of what you’ve done. If you work the relationship, they will take notice and likely want to continue working with you. Now you are marketing YOU, and your brand!
Retail stores are always interested in having someone provide a free seminar that will bring people to their store. If you have built your reputation locally- through tournaments for example- and the relationship, they will jump at the opportunity. What you gain is visibility and recognition of your knowledge- your brand. It also builds your confidence by presenting to larger numbers of people. Don’t just rely on the store for promotion, alert local media outlets about your event and try to
get coverage for yourself, your brand and the companies with whom you are working. You might get a few “No’s” at first but don’t lose faith. Perseverance is a common thread in the stories of many of the pros. Be focused on your goal and keep your eyes on the prize.
iBass360 specializes in promoting anglers and helping anglers work on their brand through social media. Contact us to learn more and check out these resources:
The New Rules of Marketing & PR: How to Use Social Media, http://www.amazon.com/New-Rules-Marketing-PR-Applications/dp/1118488768/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1441105497&sr=8-5&keywords=marketing
You, Inc.: The Art of Selling Yourself http://www.amazon.com/You-Inc-Selling-Yourself-Business/dp/0446695815/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1441105572&sr=8-1&keywords=you+inc
Interview with Professional Bass Fisherman Greg Bohannan https://jobshadow.com/interview-with-professional-bass-fisherman-greg-bohannan/