"Why would anyone be interested in me?" people might ask, "It's not like I am on the TV winning major events every week". In reality, if sports people were on the TV on a regular basis winning major events they would have already achieved their goals and therein lies the big "Catch-22" in sport - the rewards are there when you make it to the top but you really need the support now to be able to get there! In response to the question of who would be interested in me, the answer is simple; those who know about you, which again comes back to Self Promotion in Sport.
Self Promotion in Sport starts with friends and family. Sports people need to keep their friends and family regularly updated regarding their efforts, goals and achievements. One of the most efficient ways to provide this is through a personal sports website, which should be regularly updated. Well-informed friends and family should be thought of as the sports person's free marketing team and be encouraged to spread the word about the person's efforts, goals and achievements. Once the free marketing team has been assembled and briefed, the team should be asked to help you build your fan base and develop business contacts, as necessary.
In the same way as the sports person should create a buzz amongst people that they know, the sports person should also ask their friends and family to do the same. If a sports person has a personal sports website, friends and family should be asked to email links to the site to as many people as they know. People are more likely to click on a link on an email to visit the site than type the address into a browser; however, when the sports person or their friends and family meet people who might be interested in following their career, a business card with the address of the website or at least an email address, creates a good impression.
Media exposure can be achieved in many ways. The internet is becoming the easiest way to gain exposure, as sports people can create and post their own articles, blogs or message board threads. All such methods can present opportunities to insert links to the sports person's personal sports website. Printed media exposure can be more challenging to achieve; however, can provide excellent results. Free local newspapers are often looking for local residents with interesting stories to produce an article on. When approaching local reporters, sports people should first write down a list of content that would make a potential article interesting to the general public. Interesting content may consist of achievements, funny stories, career aspirations, charity work or an insight into the sport such as "a day in the life of a ......." Again, sports people should ask their friends and family to help generate interesting content.
For those who are eligible to accept financial support, equipment, clothing, modeling work, product endorsements, etc. members of their fan base could one day become excellent business contacts, so building a fan base at an early age is essential. Sports people should set realistic goals for business contacts. Many automatically think about lucrative contracts with the major sports equipment and clothing companies; however, they are unlikely to come to fruition until such companies can reap significant benefits from an agreement. The key to building successful business contacts is to think "small, local and multiple". It is not only the major companies who are looking for sports people to do product endorsements, modeling work or to help with branding and reaching their target audience. It is not only the companies who are related to a sports person's particular sport who could be considered good business contacts either. Sports people should think about the products that personalities in their sport promote and find several small local companies who may benefit from their affiliation. If the sports person has been proactive in their self promotion efforts, there is a chance that the local companies may already know who they are!!!!
It is important for sports people of all ages and levels to understand that they need to play an active role in Sports Self Promotion. If they don't, they could just be giving their competitors the edge!!!!