It’s the kind of thing dreams are made of. You wake up one day and you’ve received an email from a rep at a company that you not only love but that you’ve been dying to work with for as long as you can remember. And here they are, asking you to partner with them.
Believe it or not, this kind of bliss isn’t just reserved for major label artists. Sponsorships are no longer just for major players, they’re as much for emerging artists as they are anyone else. In fact, in some ways, it’s actually a much wider landscape when it comes to emerging artists looking to secure their perfect sponsorship.
Think about it—as an indie you have the ability to say yes to (or turn down) whatever deal you want. You can test out different partnerships, change as your tastes and brand do, and embrace the ebb and flow of it all. There’s room to play, experiment, and really have fun.
Now, that doesn’t mean throw caution to the wind and take every sponsorship possible. However, it does mean that you have the ability to really pick and choose the things that make the most sense for you now, as well as in the future.
But how do you do that? How do you decide which opportunities to pursue? How do you make yourself stand out in a crowd of millions?
Think about who you are
The first thing you want to do before you start looking for opportunities is to get crystal clear on your brand. Yep, we’re talking about branding again.
When embracing any kind of sponsorship it’s important to know what your brand is. That is, what you’re all about. This is going to be crucial in determining what kind of deals you say yes to. The sponsorship absolutely has to make sense for the message you’re putting out into the world, and it should resonate with the audience you’re attracting. That one is especially important, because part of the sponsor’s goal is to get in front of a new audience. So, if you love peach soda but your audience doesn’t care one way or the other, then that’s not going to be a huge incentive for them.
For instance, a band who writes a lot about social justice concerns would not want to partner with a company who is known for spilling oil into the ocean —no matter how appealing the deal.
On the flip side, a 2 piece folk duo with a cozy vibe of nostalgia and spreading love might be the perfect fit to partner with a local coffee chain and feature their coffee.
Embrace other indie companies
When it comes to growing together, I’m a big fan.
I get the appeal in giant companies and scoring a big name, but there is so much potential and growth opportunity in partnering with others who are in the same life stage as you. Not only is there room for brainstorming and experimentation that wouldn’t necessarily exist with a larger company but as you each grow you’ll have access to more and bigger opportunities. And having built that loyalty from the start will only help you.
Get clear on your ask
What is it you’re looking for? Don’t expect the company you’re approaching to figure it out for you. Before you even approach them, know what you’re asking for. Do you want to wear their clothing line in your next video? Drink their coffee in your IG videos for the next month? How about use their drumsticks exclusively? Go in with a specific task and you’re much more likely to get the results you’re after.
Think outside music
As you’ve probably gathered from some of these examples, one of the keys to landing a great sponsorship is to think well outside just music-related sponsorships like gear or accessories. Instead, think about the things that embody your brand, and how you can help elevate the message both you and the company are trying to sell—like the examples above. Honestly, this is one of the best ways to land a sponsorship because it goes well beyond talent and to the core of the message itself—which as you know, is also how you grow a fanbase.
And that’s good for both of you.
Know your worth
When you’re approaching companies, it’s important to be really clear on who you are and why you’re the perfect fit for them. If you’re still a pretty new band gaining your traction, that’s ok! You can still highlight the things that set you apart and specifically, what makes you a fit for their brand. Are you both animal lovers with a history of advocating for their rights? Put it in your pitch. Do you have any past partnerships you can point to with success? Share it! This is about working with what you have but highlighting the absolute best of it.
Creating sponsorship opportunities is incredibly exciting and so full of possibilities for growing your career and taking your exposure to the next level. Follow these tips and you’ll be on your way to finding yourself the perfect sponsorship opportunity.
Angela Mastrogiacomo is the founder and CEO of Muddy Paw PR. She loves baked goods, a good book, and hanging with her dog Sawyer.