XOTV WEEKLY: The Art of Channel Sponsorship

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Everything XOTV


Going from zero to hero in the eyes of potential sponsors

If you aren't an industry professional, subject matter expert, or industry insider, you can still win at the channel sponsorship game.
In two months, the WhitewaterTV channel Producer/Creator went from being a recreational whitewater paddlesports enthusiast to beating out professional and competitive athletes for the coveted team member and sponsored athlete positions.
In the case of WhitewaterTV, a sponsor or ambassadorship means thousands of dollars in free gear and apparel, a $1,000 - $1,500 sponsorship of a single episode on the channel, and inclusion in several brands' marketing messages. Not to mention how this up-levels their potential audience reach through the sponsors' social media and other marketing materials.
Here's how you can do it too.

Step 1: Make a sponsorship plan

Begin by asking, "Who do I already know that might be willing to support my dream? "Which company's mission aligns with my ethics or channel culture?" "Are there products that can or organically appear in my videos?
This list will become the people and organizations to whom you'll pitch the offer of channel sponsorship and brand ambassadorship.
Pro Tip: WhitewaterTV solicited sponsorships before a single episode was published. And by launching the channel with one of the most well-known brands within the channel's target industry, it brought in a paddling team membership, magazine coverage, podcast interviews, use of channel images in marketing messages, and brand ambassadorship from organizations like:
1.     Immersion Research — Sponsorship 
2.     Badfish SUP — Paddling team athlete + channel sponsorship
3.     Carhartt – Marketing 
4.     Vexilar – Marketing 
Create a contact list consisting of the name, email, and telephone number of the brands you plan to target.
Keep a record of when and where you sent a sponsorship offer. Update your notes as you make contact with the organization. These notes will also help you to judge the effectiveness of your sponsorship campaigns. And it will help you to rate your contact list based on responsiveness and interest in your channel. A no today may turn into a yes in the future, and notes will make you seem more interested in developing and maintaining a good relationship with your sponsors.

Step 2: Write a "rinse-and-repeat" sponsorship offer

You'll want to make your message 99% the same for every potential sponsor with the ability to easily and quickly customize it for each opportunity. We created an email message and a one-minute video that tells the prospective sponsor what WhitewaterTV can offer as a sponsored channel or individual. 
Remember, it's not about who you are or what you do.
The prospect will be interested in what you can do for them and their brand. Spend 10-seconds introducing yourself and 50-seconds explaining what you can offer through your sponsorship opportunity. Be knowledgeable about their company and products or services. Create a sense of urgency and a call to action in your message.
Here is an excerpt from the offer I emailed to prospective sponsors in preparation for Black Friday sales. Keep in mind; we had not launched a single episode yet:
Pro Tip: It's not about you. It's about what you can do for the prospective sponsor.
Begin with two sentences introducing yourself and your channel.
Pro Tip: Start to sell your brand right away. And make it easy for the prospective sponsor to find your channel.
Our promo received 263 views, 110 in 24-hours. We also received more than 500 likes on various social media platforms.

Pro Tip: Show the prospective sponsor how their sponsored episode will look. Seeing their name and products in your video makes it hard to say no to your low-cost, organic, community/user-generated advertisement.
I have attached a rough cut of the potential sponsored video episode for your consideration.
Pro Tip: Make your offer simple, memorable bullet points.
The WhitewaterTV (WWTV) sponsorship offer is this:
·      4 Brand impressions within the video
·      "This episode of WhitewaterTV is sponsored by ..." followed by your logo
·      Organic product placement throughout the video
·      1 Brand impression within the show description
·      2 each Brand impressions on social media (IG, FB, Twitter) using hashtags and tagging
Pro Tip: Create urgency (date) and a call to action (the expectation of a response)
I look forward to your response before xx/xx/xxxx.
And thank you for the opportunity to represent your brand.

Step 3: Send out your offer

You'll want to be responsive to any inquiries that you receive in response to your offer. When choosing a date and time to send the email, consider when the recipient may be checking their email. This helps ensure that your email is at the top of their inbox. Also, ensure that you or your team act quickly in response to an interested prospective sponsor. Don't email potential sponsors on a day when you're not available to act soon.
Using these pro tips can make the difference between a failing or successful sponsorship campaign.

About the Author
Antoinette Lee Toscano, MBA--WhitewaterTV Producer. Photo Credit: Matthew James Berrafato

Antoinette Lee Toscano, MBA is a former IT executive, blogger at the New Normal Big Life blog, Contributing Writer at Culturs magazine, a public speaker, the Producer of WhitewaterTV, and co-founder of Diversify Whitewater.

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