[This article was written by guest contributor brian botkiller.]
So, as a musician, I have the good fortune to talk to a lot of fans and friends about the instruments they play, and they of course ask me what I like to play. So at some point, I began to narrow down what I enjoyed playing, and from what companies – and then I thought to myself, what if I were to ask these great companies if I could endorse them?
Sponsorship vs. Endorsement – not the same thing!
Now, most of the time, people think that endorsements are sponsorships – but there are two very different distinctions between the two. Namely, a sponsorship states that a company is sponsoring you – and you’re not a NASCAR car, so that’s not the case. Secondly, YOU are endorsing the company that makes your gear, stating that you use their gear, and why. Why is this beneficial to either side? Let’s talk about that.
Endorsing products you use is beneficial to you because you are stating that you prefer those products for their quality and your playing style, and any other reasons you might have that are legitimate to being a musician. It helps you when a company takes an interest in you, because you can get listed on their website next to great musicians you admire, and depending on the endorsement level (we’ll talk about that later), you can get discounts on gear. But – you have to make sure you always represent the companies you endorse with the utmost respect and quality. We’ll talk about tips on endorsement showcasing later. Even small endorsements are useful! My friends at Rubicon 7, who make some great electronic music, even have a pop-filter company who took an interest in them. Connecting with any company is a potential for more growth!
It is beneficial for a company to work with you as an endorsee because your fanbase is a potential channel they may not have reached, and your stating that you use their products gives clout to what they do. If you say that you like a drum stick company, and you tell your fans, they may take an interest and become customers. This is very useful.
Ok, so how do I endorse a company?
So how do you get these endorsements? Firstly, you need to build a fanbase via social media, playing out, radio, and more – all things we can talk on and on about. Needless to say, build your fanbase. If you don’t have one, you don’t have enough to bring to the table for a music company. Next, find the Artist Relations managers for companies you want to work with – you can search their website, linkedin.com, Facebook and other websites for connections – then politely ask them what their endorsement practices are via email or social media. DO NOT simply approach a company saying, “Hey, endorse me”. Everyone, I mean EVERYONE, thinks they should be able to endorse a company. This is simply not true for everyone; you have to bring something to the table. You have to prove why you have something to offer.
After you find this info, put together a good press kit, get the mailing info from the company, and send that kit off. Tell them what you can do, what you play, why you like certain products, and what your fanbase is like. In my case, I put together a video and DVD of me drumming, and then talked about why I loved my dDrum Dominion kit and my Ahead drumsticks (see what I just did there?). I put that video on YouTube, and I explained that I loved these products, and why. I pointed to my wins in the music industry, and to what I plan to do in the industry as I went on, and I got interest from these great companies.
What happens after you setup an endorsement?
Endorsement levels are different from company to company, but on average, they run in A, B, C and so on format; you will usually start around a class C endorsement, and as your career flourishes, you will move up the chain. These endorsement deals usually get you discounts on gear and listed on websites/etc., but differs with each company. Either way; DO NOT expect free stuff, and DO NOT press the matter. Be grateful if a company takes interest in you, and nurture that partnership. Remember; YOU are endorsing the company by stating that you use their products; they are counting on you to use your clout to showcase the product to your fans and followers.
So what about showcasing? Well, make sure those company logos are clear in your videos, onstage, and anywhere else. Wear shirts with the company’s name on them in your YouTube videos. Tell others about what you play, and why. Keep business cards and stickers on hand for the companies you endorse. Always mention your endorsements on your website and on your social media outlets, and always be respectful of the company you endorse.
Remember, endorsements aren’t about free stuff; you aren’t going out to get free things from companies. Your’e going out to partner with developers and companies you like, and help them. You help them, they help you. Have fun, work with what you have and what you know you want to do, and you can find great success working with these companies.
Now, get out there, do some homework, and make it happen!
brian botkiller is endorsed by dDrum, Ahead Drumsticks, and TRX Cymbals, and is a tutor and trainer with OBEDIA.com