Have you joined my incredibly non-annoying, once-in-a-while email newsletter?
Have you seen something like this floating through your social media data stream recently?
- “Who wants to sponsor me to go to Overrated Conference 2011?”
- “I need a sponsor for my blog. Anyone?”
- “Who wants to send me to ABC for the WXY meetup?”
Just look around. They’re everywhere. Seems that everyone with any social media presence, no matter now small, has glommed onto the “Sponsor me!” bandwagon. Unfortunately, 99.9% of those requests won’t ever get looked at, let alone acted on.
Why? It’s simple, really.
You want to be sponsored? You better damn well be sponsorable.
What does that mean? What do you mean “I’d better be sponsorable? That’s not even a real word, Peter!”
It’s a real word, with real world repercussions. Want sponsors? You’d better be sponsorable.
It means that if I’m going to spend money on you, whether it’s to sponsor your trip to SXSW, or buy an ad on your blog, or even give you miles to fly somewhere to do something, I’d better be getting something out of it, and strictly from a business perspective, it’d better be worth more than I’m putting into it. I refer you again to the crotchety head of a public company who I deal with from time to time who said “If I’m spending one dollar, it better be to make two.”
Simply put: Want me to play the role of Altruist with my sponsorship of you? Then you’d damn well better play the role of Warren Buffet with the money, miles, heck, even time, that I give you.
Let’s understand how:
Before you head to Twitter or Facebook to drop that first “Will you sponsor me” post, make sure your ducks are in some serious order.
You’d better have the most brilliant one-line pitch I’ve ever heard.
1) “Who wants to sponsor my trip to Overrated Conference” is about as exciting as a colonoscopy.
- It’s a question that I have no need to answer.
- It doesn’t have any call to action whatsoever
- It doesn’t even make it easy for me if I want to sponsor you! Where do I go? What do I click?
2) Have a statement instead, and make sure it goes somewhere.
- I’m headed to Overrated Conference this year, and have a spectacular opportunity for a small company to get some awesome exposure: http://t.co/whatever
3) Wherever that link goes, for the love of Moses, make sure it’s clean.
- Sending me to your home page? Bad idea. I don’t know what’s there or why. Send me to a specific page you’ve taken the time to build. It tells me you’re serious about this.
- Specific page… Is specific. Tell me what you’re looking for: How much money, how many miles, how much time commitment. Break down how it’s going to be spent. And of course, explain my return.
I’m looking to find a sponsor to underwrite my trip to Overrated Conference 2011. I’ll be there for four days, and including flights, hotels and expenses, I’ll need approximately $2,000.
While there, I’ll be blogging two blog posts a day (to an audience of about 23,000 daily readers,) as well as multiple updates to my Twitter page (with 47,400 followers and a Klout score of 62,) as well as to my Facebook Fan Page with around 8,200 fans. I’ll be doing video interviews with some industry celebrities, as well as my own photolog during the event.
You can expect to have your logo on every blog post, and mentioned in up to two Twitter posts per day, as well as being the Profile photo for my FB Fan Page. I’ll pose with your logo for the profile photo, so people still know it’s me. Additionally, I’ll gladly wear any promotional clothing you have, such as a sweatshirt or tour jacket, and I’ll feature a sticker of your logo on my computer, which will be open during my speech and all subsequent interviews.
Finally, I hope to reach out to other local bloggers and tell them what I’m doing and how I’m doing it, and will obviously mention your name as my official underwriter for my trip to Overrated Conference 2011.
Of course, make sure to offer several ways for people to contact you from that page, including email and phone.
Only then can you start dropping notes that you’re looking. Post one in the online locations in which you hang out the most, but don’t overshare, and don’t try to be “cute” about it. “I’ll eat 30 ice cream cones in a row if I get a sponsor in the next twenty minutes,” won’t work. And you won’t look cute doing it. In fact, there are only five people in my working universe who I know can do “cute” effectively online. Julia Roy, and four others. Simply state your case and reach out.
Reach out offline, too. Here’s where you reach out to all those contacts for whom you’ve been uber-helpful without asking for anything in return. Because you have been uber-helpful without asking for anything in return since you started working in social media, right?
Sponsorships do work. I sponsored five spaces on my last MacBook Pro in early 2010, and the sponsors got decent coverage and return. I wore a SportBeans Jersey during my Ironman, and SportBeans got tons of traffic and sales from it – I mentioned them countless times, and relied on their sugar and electrolytes to get me through the marathon, and they did, and I talked about it. In the end, for a sponsorship to benefit all parties involved, to work, it has to be just as beneficial for the sponsor as for the person being sponsored. And in essence, that’s what all good business should be, right?
Tell me your thoughts in the comments. Ever been sponsored? Ever sponsored someone? How’d it work?