how to get sponsored
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A Guide to Becoming Sponsored in the Hunting Industry

If you're reading this article, odds are you have an intense passion for hunting and the outdoors. Whether you've started a YouTube channel reviewing products, a blog discussing strategies and tips, or you devote your social media accounts to documenting your adventures, you're likely here because you want to take your efforts to the next level.

Finding a place in the circle of hunting influencers typically starts by gaining interest from fellow hunters via your social media accounts. Often people will start asking you for product recommendations or a deeper explanation of the methods you use, and the hope is that this will eventually lead to brands knocking on the door with endorsement or ambassador opportunities.

Countless brands implement these programs as part of a marketing strategy to gain a bigger digital presence, as social media "influencers" have become one of the most effective ways for companies to grow brand recognition. This sounds like a dream to most, if not all, hunters, as it presents the opportunity to contribute within an industry that fills your passion while getting to represent some fun products and likely inherit some heavily discounted or free gear.

Over the years, this "brand ambassador" business model has skyrocketed in popularity, especially within the hunting industry. Due to this increasing demand for ambassadors, that dream you once had about playing a role in the success of a hunting company is far more attainable than you might think.

I've spoken with several brand ambassadors within the industry over the years, and even sat down with marketing directors of the same brands to get a better idea of how these partnerships work. Getting sponsored in the hunting industry isn't easy, but I have developed a few tips that might make your efforts a little more effective. Here they are:

Build relationships

Having a large following on social media or an entertaining YouTube channel is great, but either means nothing if you don't have solid relationships with people in the industry. The director of marketing of a very well-known hunting company explained to me that he won't even extend a pro-staff invite to someone unless he has met them in person. He explained that creative social media accounts are common, but what isn't common that person who's reliable enough to get the company's message across. Finding that fit takes a lot of legwork, but also offers you the chance to stand out. Building lasting relationships lets companies know you're committed to the products, and those are the people these companies want. Who could blame them?

Generate content

how to get sponsored

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As awesome as it may be to harvest a 180-inch buck, land a monster trout on the fly, or limit out on greenheads in the swamps, if you aren't generating content out of these events, how can a company make use out of it?

This is often where people struggle the most. I know so many hunters who have the knowledge and experience to be incredible ambassadors for any brand, but it's all for naught if they don't know how to produce content. Many of my friends have reached out to me over the years searching for advice on how to get sponsored, but when I ask them to send me any sort of media files of their trips, I get blank faces.

Consistent content is something all companies want to see when scouting for potential ambassadors. I always advise ambitious content creators to spend an entire season working on creative media that would be good enough to feature in a magazine. If video isn't your thing, work on photography. If photography isn't your thing, become an expert on blogging. It's always easier to sell yourself to a brand if you already have a portfolio to show them.

Don't lose sight of your passion

The dream of getting sponsored is fun to chase, but it's easy to become so obsessive that you forget why you wanted to do it in the first place. The motive behind these pursuits should always be your love and passion for the outdoors.

I say this as general advice for happiness, but also as a strategy for gaining a company's attention. I have met so many people that seem so set on getting sponsored, but yet they lack an actual desire for the lifestyle as a whole. Those who have more of an interest in free gear or endorsement money rather than the outdoors as a whole never seem to last.

Never lose sight of why you want to get sponsored in the first place. The outdoors should be an outlet for your passion, and it should never be overshadowed by the pursuit of monetary compensation or online virality. Those things can go hand and hand, and it's amazing if they do. But never let your passion for the outdoors be compromised by the latter.