It is now (January) less than 7 months until the 2016Rio de Janeiro Olympic Games. If you are not getting excited, something is wrong. The reality is that the entire world is getting excited - 2016 is the year of Olympics. Besides that hard work that athletes have to do in their sport to qualify, many of them need to make sure they have the funding in order to complete all the qualifiers. I wrote recently a post urging athletes to not forget about funding for their Olympic journey.
I've had an incredible road to the Olympic Games so far and besides learning a lot about myself, Ive alsolearned about a lot about marketing my journey online. Here are some lessons that I learned on the way :
Mistake #1 - Too humble for aFacebook Page
For the longest time, I did not want to create a Facebook page. The reason was that I didn't think I was good enough, I did not want to show-off, I was shy and on top of that I didn't know what I would share.
Well, after 6 months of playing around with a Facebook page, I realize that I was looking at it from a completely wrong perspective.
I realized that I very mistaken about the purpose of the page. In the past I thought that a Facebook page is strictly about YOU as an athlete - and that was too much of a burden to carry for little David. However the reality is slightly different. A Facebook page is about sharing your passion for your sport - which is hardly a burden. As soon as I had this epiphany, I started sharing content about judo that I enjoyed and nearly immediately I started to gain followers and fans. I was sharing interesting, cool and educational things about my sport and people immediately started reaching out, liking and sharing my posts.
I realized that besides simply gaining popularity as an athlete, I was also helping Judo increase its exposure and popularity. This was a game changer for me - I wish I would have set up a page a lot earlier.
The recipe for a successful Facebook page becomes very simple: 10% content about you as an athlete and 90%, videos news and picture from your sport.
Let's start with the 10%. This is very simple and it even becomes fun. Whenever I have a nice video or picture from my training or competitions - I share it. This gives people an idea of who you are. Next, anytime I am scrolling on my feed and I see something that I like that has to do with my sport, I immediately share it. It's as simply as clicking "share".
What type of content will I share about my sport?
- Videos from competitions
-News about tournaments or events in my sport
What is the result?
Well see for yourself :
The post below is a judo move from one of my tournaments. It reached more than 100,000 people due to more than 500 shares.
Or sharing another page's educational video to reach more than 175,000 people and 3,200 shares.
Mistake #2 - The No one cares what I do Syndrome
Ive always thought that no one cared about what I was doingas an athlete. However, this is the complete contrary. People are genuinely interesting in the basics of an athlete's life.
Here is a incredibly kind comment from a fellow athlete, Grace Dafoe. You can follow her journey here.
I am going pay this comment forward to all the athletes sharing their journeys. For those who are not yet doing so you need to understand that as an athlete, you are living an exciting life. All the ups and downs of high-performance sports makes for an exciting journey. When people read about your performance, training, and even lifestyle they feel a connection with you and what you are doing. With the help of MAKEACHAMP's platform and social media, you have the chance to give thousands of people the pleasure of living your dream.
You can check out my MAKEACHAMP profile for some examples of posts. Here is one :
Mistake #3 - not reaching out to corporate sponsors
The most surprising thing that I learned about reaching out to sponsors is that most companies want to help but they are only waiting for you to ask. I was talking to Joel Boucher, the CEO and President of Jukado Inc. (a Montreal - local martial arts store) and he said that he wants to help out the athletes, the only issue is that they don't reach out for help. I reached out to them to get help with my judo equipment. They gladly reciprocated and that started a great partnership. I'm happy to be part of this great company - wearing their equipment as I am traveling the globe competing.
Lesson learned. Since then I've been reaching out to companies not always to get something in return but to simply acknowledge and appreciate the work they do. In return I've gain a lot of connections and opportunities.
Mistake #4 - "I have nothing to offer to a sponsor"
The other lesson I learned about sponsorship is that as an athlete, I have A LOT to offer to companies. The hard part is to brainstorm those ideas and put them together in a presentable package for the sponsor to see. In reality many companies do not want a lot back for their sponsorships. Many companies will not even ask for anything. However, it will be up to you to use your creativity and resources to find ways to reward companies that have helped you.
The easiest way to do this is by partnering up with companies that you have bonded with. If you believe in the company's vision, mission and staff you will immediately be much more inclined to help them. In other words, if you want to help their cause, you'll be much more likely to put in the work.
So here it is, here are some ideas for you to offer:
- Go to the sponsor to give a talk or simply have a chat with the employees
- Offer the sponsor to model for their photoshoots
- Offer the sponsor to help them test their clothing or equipment
- Offer the sponsor free advertising on your social media and web pages
- Offer the sponsor to write a blog post about them and why you believe in them
The list can go on. However the important thing is that if you feel a connection with a company, you'll be much more likely to be creative and come up with a way to support them.
Mistake #5 - Being too proud to run a crowdfunding campaign
I think this was the mistake that made the most harm to my judo career. I prolonged running a crowdfunding campaign because I was being to proud to ask for help. The result is that I did not go to competitions that were crucial for my Olympic qualifications. I am paying for this mistake now because I fell very being on points and now I have to catch up.
I ran my first campaign about 3 years ago and I raised 1,200$. My second campaign about a year later raised 3,500$. My last campaign which was half a year ago raised 6,500$. One of the reason for the increasing amount of amounts raised is because every year I had the same people contribute and also many others joined them. The reason that people repeat their contributions to me is because they enjoyed the process of doing so.
The first thing that you need to understand is that people are already giving a lot of money to different causes. However, there is no better cause than helping a friend achieve their dream. Giving money to an athlete is a way of joining them on their goals. By creating a campaign you are giving people the chance to join your journey, it is an opportunity to create relationships and partnerships. There is no better way of networking!
The main lesson I learned after running three campaigns is that crowdfunding is much more about funding. When you run a crowdfunding campaign you are creating a ton of connections around your goal. People become inspired to strive to reach their own goals. Here is a blog post I wrote about why Crowdfunding is more than just about funding.
Thank you for taking the time to read the lesson I learned on my journey. I hope they will be helpful to you on your journey but most of all I hope you enjoy the process!
If you want to know more please don't hesitate to email me .
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