It is my goal for 2012 to take a lot of my weird and wonky experiences as a lifecaster and help nerdy dudes out by providing a frank (not shirley) and honest answer to some weird and potentially random questions you may have about life. ::deep breath::
Here is an email I got this morning ...
Okey doke, well a few things ...
The sponsorships I have now I get paid for, but mind you - that is step 3 in the process; here is a breakdown of how I was able to get to this point.
1) Create the platform.
On November 3, 2009 I created TNTML, SEOed the fuck out of it, and devoted 17 hours a day, every day to it for now over 2 years. The passion, the commitment, the dedication ... all there. VERY important to big companies to see that.
Also too, when it came to creating the site I developed a niche, albeit a HUGGEEE one, being a nerd is a niche none the less. Sponsors knew psychologically what they were getting when they got involved with me - and they understood my audience. VERY important to big companies to see that.
2) I spent over two years measuring my influence.
No one paid me when I started this site. I had a few offers from affiliate crowds, but thought the entire business model of affiliate marketing was totally full of shit. I didn't ever want to sell someone something to take a percentage. I have a background in sales, and I'm not mad at commission based sales, but as a consumer I always felt used in a certain capacity. It's like sure, I'll tell you all about this AMAZING thing, but understand I'm taking a kickback by selling this to you. Sponsorships not only IMHO create more of an awareness for the product, but the consumer doesn't feel "cheated" in the process. Whether you buy or sell, it didn't matter to me - but I just GENUINELY wanted to tell you about something REALLY FREAKING RAD!!!
Spirithoods were my first and greatest example of this. They even poached my former co-editor, Morgan, who has brought their numbers in social media THROUGH THE ROOF in the last year and some change. Did I mention that when I approached them at first for a sponsorship they didn't even want to talk to me?
By posting about it, and incorporating it into my adventures I sold so many that I was not only sent an apology email from the owner of the company, but I was invited to their shop downtown where I had full access to as many as I wanted.
Dudes, I even got these things on the Ritter family (as in John Ritter), since I met Amy Yasbeck in a coffee shop. She loved the hood, so I connected her with the owners, and on CHRISTMAS day 2010, I got this on the TNTML facebook wall ...
If I didn't believe in this product, I would NOT have been wearing it at that coffee shop, nor been so passionate about posting on it (over and over and over again) - my results would have been drastically different.
This taught me that when it comes to sponsorships you are ONLY as good as the product that you believe in - and to even GET THAT sponsorship, you have to have tangible proof of what you were capable of executing; I now know my measure of influence, but had I not had spirithoods (which lead me down the rabbit hole of other sponsors), what value would I really have been able to give to these companies I now talk to?
BIG COMPANIES WANT NUMBERS; I can now supply those numbers.
3) ONLY after creating the platform, and measuring the influence of said platform can I now accept cash sponsorships.
I now get paid to talk about products. They're ONLY things that don't suck ... but I've honed my craft and figured out how to present something to all of you loverly people in a manner that makes sense to both my own creative storytelling and theirs. This community is alternative, and that's rad, because we own it. But it took steps one and two before I could EEVVEERRRRRRRR ask for money from people. Companies won't just cut you a check for a crazy adventure. And TRUST!! I had plenty!! Even after crashing the 2010 Grammys which I thought was SOO bat shit, I humbly realized it was just the VERY beginning, and I had a lot of learning to do.
Where we are ... where we are going, is all a day to day. But in the here and the now, I'm happy and that joy and bliss resonates more joy and bliss - and it feels PRETTY FREAKING AWESOME!!!
Bottom line: You can't just ask people for money, (your community, or big companies) BUT if you're dedicated, passionate, and determined to succeed (whatever that means to you), you will KNOW what to do to move forward. After crashing the Grammys I slept on couches for a year bartering social media to live, danced on stage with Prince, flew cross country with Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top, went out on over 103 dates in 9 months - and I'm still barely getting out the gate.
Companies want numbers, proof of community, engagement, and dedication. If you don't have a current track record, I very honestly don't know if you can immediately get a sponsorship, but use this as an investment in YOURSELF to execute, document, and see where this can take you. I've had NO FLIPPING IDEA what I was doing the ENTIRE time I've been doing this adventure, but I know it was all within my personal legend, and all I am doing is executing.
SO MUCH FREAKING LOVE!!! please please please keep us updated.
OH! and here's the youtube video he was talking about ...
Got a question? Drop me an email! JenFriel at TalkNerdyToMeLover dot com
Best of luck out there nerds!!
xoxo <3 @JenFriel
Oh and PS. Here's a shorter video on what passion did ...