Lately it seems my inbox is flooded with questions regarding marketing and how to go about moving forward in a very competitive industry. I can't help but love the most common question: "How do I become an Under Armour Hunt athlete? It's my biggest dream!" Well ladies, I have a public announcement to make: I'm not on the Women's UA Hunt Team! I've managed to portray that I am, although that was never my intention. This brings me to the very reason I'm writing this blog post. Every last move that you make, whether it be behind a computer or at a public event, is a representation of YOU.
I'm a huge proponent of chasing your dreams and I feel that we are each here for a purpose. In an effort to help you achieve your personal goals and find your purpose in life, regardless if it involves the outdoor industry, I want to go over a few tips for marketing yourself well. I don't have it all figured out, but I'm sure trying!
This may seem like the silliest subject to start this list, but let me tell you something - I often have a hard time taking people seriously when they don't take the time to double check their posts, blogs, emails, etc. Am I judging you? Absolutely not! Do I use slang? Yes - I'm from Texas and y'all IS a word! What I'm referring to are mistakes using their/there/they're and run-on sentences that are hard to follow. It's a sign of professionalism when you can communicate clearly in writing and it WILL set you apart because the majority of the population lack in writing skills.
Think about what makes you feel close to a person or why you feel like you can trust them. For me personally, it's when they're transparent with me. When a person is vulnerable and can talk about their mistakes, what they need to work on, or just remind me that we're all human, I automatically feel more comfortable around them. Why? Because the last thing you want is to feel that you're being compared. Keep this in mind when you share things with your audience.
One of the best ways to engage your audience is to leave them hanging with "I wonder what's next??" If you have big news, wait a couple of days to tell it so they're checking back. Keep them engaged by asking a question in the caption so they'll comment below and talk to you. It's tough, trust me. When I've accomplished a goal, I want to talk about it! However, with a little patience, you can create some suspense for your followers.
Get out of your house, away from your computer, and go where the connections are! Get in front of people who can see, hear, and most importantly FEEL your passion. If you can't afford the big events, go to local businesses and ask for help. I understand that not everyone can fly to another state and attend an outdoor convention, but I bet you can go to the local bow shop or outdoor store and shake someone's hand!
I can't tell you how much it helps to be consistent on social media, even though it is an exhausting job. Make sure you are posting 2-3 things a day at peak times. If you're trying to push the outdoor industry, be consistent in the field by practicing any chance you get or trying to learn new things. When you've met a great connection, make sure you follow up and stay under their radar by consistently checking in with them. When someone is competing for that same spot, how will they remember you? MAKE them remember you.
You will attract the things you allow to consume your mind. Keep your goals at the forefront of your thoughts, the rest is just a distraction. Remember to do the things that feed your confidence and you will be unstoppable. People with good energy are contagious and others want to surround themselves with that! The best advice I've ever been given was when I attended SHOT Show in Vegas this year. I was so nervous until someone told me "those people wake up every day and put clothes on just like you do." That was a game changer for me. Hold your head up and keep moving forward.
QUALITY OF CONTENT
Let me just be really blunt. Is your entire social media a collection of selfies? How much can I gain from following an account that only has pictures of your face with an inspirational quote as the caption? Yes, I went there. I'm not saying you can't have selfies, but truly think about the message you're putting out there. How does that relate to what you're trying to accomplish? Even the famous makeup artists on YouTube or Instagram will include application tips, latest product on the market, as well as their networking experiences. They're not just posting selfies because they're good at makeup! Also, keep your content relative to your goals. You can always run separate accounts if you'd like to share the other areas of your life, but don't mix them!
If you're wanting to be sponsored by a brand, you need to start by promoting that brand. Why would your ultimate sponsor want to pick you up when you're promoting 5 of their competitors as well? Part of why so many assume I'm with the UA Hunt team is because I'm a huge fan of the product and I'm not advertising the other dozens of lines out there. Pick a brand, stick with that brand, promote that brand in unique ways, and reach out to the company so they know who you are!
This isn't something that needs to be addressed right away, but it's a huge factor in everything I do because I have a degree in Graphic Design and I know how truly powerful it can be. This can be as simple as a business card or website, but a quality logo will help connect you with others as you progress. Keep a notebook with you and write down ideas as they come to you. Creating a brand helps your audience get a feel for your style and what you're about. Once you have something in mind, keep it consistent across all platforms so people can look at any given material and link it back to you.
Some of the wisest words I've heard are from Jeremiah Doughty when he told me, "You are a walking billboard. When you are good, you seek others. When you are great, others seek you!" That does not mean you have to accept every offer. I see so many people in the outdoor industry with every brand you can imagine on their profiles, and at the end of the day they're getting free product with no potential for growth. Also, I look at those hunters and wonder if they truly know anything about that product or if it just made them feel good to accept whatever came their way. Really think about what you want, no matter how big the goal, and work toward that. Don't settle!
KEEP IT CLASSY
Many people want to have that "I don't care what they think" attitude. While you don't want to get too caught up in people's opinion of you, it's good to have a balance to keep you in check. Trust me when I say that people will twist your content to make you look bad, so choose wisely. With that being said, there's nothing classy about trying to be sexy in your tiny bathing suit in the middle of snow while shooting your bow. Do you want a lot of followers because you're half naked or because you inspire others by your talent?
I still get choked up when people direct message me and tell me that I've inspired them or they're a huge fan. I shake with excitement every time I get an email from a potential sponsor that I've dreamt about, so you can imagine my state of mind when I receive product on my door step. I never want that to go away. I don't feel like I've "made it" yet and in a way I don't want to feel that way because literally every tiny thing that happens in my life excites me. I hope that as you chase your dreams and you begin to see growth, that you remember where you started. We all started somewhere!