How to become a sponsored OCR athlete: 5 tips to increase your chance of getting sponsored
This may be your time to get paid or receive free products for doing what you love! You don’t necessarily have to be an Elite athlete to obtain a sponsorship (although it doesn’t hurt either 😉 )
We hope this article will help you with achieving your goals! We felt the need to share this since many obstacle racers are very passionate, but unfortunately not everyone has the means to live out their passion as much as they would like! In addition we think hard work and dedication should be rewarded and recognized.
Companies usually choose to sponsor athletes because they represent their target market. That’s why it is important that you look for companies and brands that appeal to you and market to you! Approaching the ‘wrong’ company often leads to the same results as not applying to any. The Obstacle Course Racing industry is rapidly growing and sponsors are willing to spend money to make money. Opportunities lie ahead, which is good news for you. We have listed 5 tips for you that will help increase your chance of becoming a sponsored OCR athlete!
#1 Performance: Race race race!
You need to perform well to stand out. It’s a good idea to show companies you are capable of performing in the long-term and that you are truly committed to this sport. Join as many races as possible to train and present yourself. You need to work on your athletic resume so you can show your achievements & results. In addition when you participate in many races you will also meet a lot of people and create new connections. Building relationships is of great value, especially in this area. Once you’ve obtained a sponsorship it’s even more important to be present at many races, after all you’re now a brand ambassador.
#2 Exposure: Be visible & build an audience
You’re doing a good job if you’re already participating in a lot of races and train as hard as you can. However nowadays that is not enough. You have to be visible at well.. all times! Luckily social media makes this very easy to do so. Companies are hungry for brand ambassadors on social media, since people are more likely to purchase products of brands with positive social media presence. Sponsors want you to represent their brand in public and online. They are more likely to be interested if you have a large audience/followers.
Companies want to increase their exposure among potential customers, so make sure you are the right (wo)man for the job! It can take time to get more fans and build relationships. Share things online that are valuable and useful to others and at the same time fit your identity and interests. People appreciate authenticity and want to be inspired. We don’t recommend the ‘spam’ approach; in the long run this will not be effective. Put an effort in connecting with people and companies in real life and online!
#3 Find companies that fit you & match the OCR lifestyle
In selecting companies as potential sponsors think about what kind of products your followers would be interested in and also would you buy, eat or wear it? If the answers is no it’s best not to approach them. Since most companies will not give you money but will most likely give you free services and products. It would be a waste of time and space if you receive products that you are not going to use.
So, do your homework and learn more about different companies. This is a good way to discover if they match your lifestyle and to find out which people they want to reach. Find out how you can connect with them, what are their values, what kind of athletes to they sponsor and will you fit in well? In addition you will more easily impress a company if you have put an effort in getting to know them. Keep in mind they will also do their research about you; so google yourself and see what pops up. Be aware of your online identity and image!
Important fact: Because of the growth and popularity of Obstacle Course Racing many companies have become more interested in OCR and the OCR community. It will definitely work in your advantage if you search for companies that are not yet active in this field but have the desire to start.
#4 Look around & ask others
Do you know athletes who are sponsored? Don’t hesitate to ask them how they got where they are. Everyone started out as a ‘beginner’ and most of them didn’t get it handed to them either. You can also think about approaching people within your network that are involved in the field of sponsorship. This doesn’t necessarily has to be an OCR/Sports related company. Information about what companies value and how they make their selection in general is very useful.
A more passive, but not less effective way of looking around is to check out other sponsored athletes on social media. How do they present themselves, how many followers do they have and how do they engage and communicate with others? This can offer you quite some inspiration and insights.
#5 Make your move!
When you feel you are ready to reach out, do it! You can approach potential sponsors in many ways. When you message them via social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram) you might have a better chance in getting a quick response and you have the opportunity to get the specific e-mail address you need for your request.
It’s even better if you have the name and contact details of the person who’s responsible for these decisions. If you have the courage, you can also give them a call and make a good, notable impression right away. Another way to get their attention before you share your proposal: actively name and promote them on social media before you make your move. What should be in your proposal? Always empathize what you can do for them and keep it short and to the point. You have a big advantage if you can tell potential sponsors about the size and demographics of your audience and what kind of sponsorship you are looking for.
Obstacle Course Racing is a great sport, but not a cheap one. We hope this information will inspire and help you, good luck! And who knows maybe you will make your debut as a sponsored athlete at The OCR European Championship in Frankfurt..
*Photo credits: Mudshots & Picture your sport *