Team riders. Supported athletes. Sponsored sailors. Whatever you want to call them there are a lot about. But what does it mean being labelled as such? In layman’s terms a team rider is somebody – man or woman, girl or boy – who is proactive and enthusiastic about a brand’s products or services. So much so that they’re happy to shout about these from the rooftops. And it’s never been easier with social media such a ‘thing’ these days. Insta pics, Facebook posts and tweets (to name a few) are poised to deliver a team rider’s sponsor message to the masses. Even better is if said team rider has a healthy following.
There are a few who do an admirable job. But what else can be done if you’re team rider?
It’s actually not as difficult as you’d believe. To get a really good (vid) edit going you need a raft of people, or at the very least have good filming and editing skills yourself, so as much as this is desired it may prove too difficult. Delivering air time for your supporters can be as simple as snapping a pic of your gear rigged at the beach. A two minute job. Backing that up with an @ tag when posting to Facebook, for instance, whereby the brand’s name is clickable to users. This is just one strategy that’s simple to put into practice. Others include attending events and promoting supporters by being at the beach and talking about the kit. It may be hard getting someone to film you at times but short GoPro clips can also be effective.
Talking to people on the beach and explaining the advantages of the gear can be useful. Knowing the details about your kit is very important, especially for not to sounding like a broken record after your X times sponsor change: best gear ever (how many times have you heard that?). Being able to give an insightful explanation of what’s going on with your equipment is far more convincing.
Organising demos or local contests or a combination are more work again but can be valuable to your sponsors. Or maybe you can turn your hand to writing articles – for either online platforms or magazines. For example travel articles or sailing technique articles are ways to showcase equipment in a positive light.
Blogs are good, although there needs to be consistency if you’re heading down this route whereas magazine editors are always after good stories. Teaching and bringing newbies into windsurfing is also a great thing to do (see below re relevant equipment).
Unfortunately the rod for backs has been made over time. Windsurfing, as well as other watersports, can often be seen as a sort of arms race – especially during lean times (recent economic crash anyone?). Desperate to plant gear on beaches, with thinking that this will be enough to ‘market’ wares and sell more, equipment in some instances has often been literally given away. We at Witchcraft don´t work that way, we know the value of our gear and we have a limited production capacity so can´t/don’t/won’t over produce.
Witchcraft values its team riders and we pick them with great care, some have proven their skills and picked up sponsorship contracts right away. Others have simply started as regular customers and evolved. As Witchcraft´s philosophy is all about durability, most of them have been with Witchcraft for a very long time. Each one has their specific ways of how to give the best promotion, on or off the water.
In general sponsoring is always a matter of give and take, you will receive what you give. If your sponsor only ever hears from you when you need new gear you may not be sponsored for long. If you make sure you are doing a good job, your sponsor will not want to lose you.