If it’s Christmas season, it’s NFL draftee recruitment time. As we crisscross the country speaking to soon-to-be NFL players, we hear the same question: “How much money can I earn off the field?”
The answer to this question starts with the athlete himself. That’s because there are three keys athletes can control to maximize their earning potential. Here are our insider tips:
- Define your brand: There are thousands of pro athletes wanting endorsement and sponsorship income. Even a first-round pick competes against 31 other players having that same premium label. Being able to articulate “who you are and what you stand for” will begin to set yourself apart from the pack. It’s more than your on-field performance. It’s the unique things about you that fans connect with and cause them to cheer for you. Our eBook on defining your personal brand can get you started in defining that special you.
- Build your audience: If you think social media matters, you’re right. In our experience, few things demonstrate better that an athlete has audience than his or her social media. While some corporate brand managers use sophisticated data tools like E-Score, MVPindex or Q Scores, there’s nothing like an impressive number of Twitter followers to set yourself apart from the pack. If you don’t believe that deals are won or lost on audience size, you’ve never done an endorsement deal before.
- Build the hype: Corporate brands want to align themselves with hot sports properties. The more hype, the more likely an athlete can move the needle for corporate brands. Even before hiring an agent, there’s a lot an athlete should do via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, etc. Engage your audience. Take them on the journey with you. How many fans would love to know about your trip from youth sports to the most popular sport in America? Answer: They all would. For ideas, check out our eBook on cutting through the clutter and building hype for your brand.
Of course, a great marketing agent will be able to sell the potential of any client. However, athletes who follow these pro tips once again succeed in setting themselves apart from the pack.