Collecting EndorsementBy Joshua_Jarman
You've practiced your craft for many hours. Countless. You've shown all of your friends, family and even those passing by how well you do your thing. You've been in the studio and now it is time to carry on and share your work with people in surrounding towns. But, how can you go about funding your travel? What about repairing damaged gear, or renewing your out of date equipment? All of your favorite YouTube artists and touring artists seem to get help from the source of that equipment. Serious artists seem to aim for endorsement or business-collaborations. How can you begin reaching for sponsorship and when is the right time?
The first steps toward endorsement are in the work you do. The footwork, the gigs, the crowds, the following. Almost every company who offers endorsement deals seek those who already have a following and are active. After all, a business collaboration must be a mutual benefit. It is so easy to expect free gear, swag and major discounts, but why would a company give you those things if they didn't see some sort of remuneration from you? Before you ever reach out for endorsement, understand clearly that no company is obligated to offer you ANYTHING for free. Sometimes simply offering logo exchange and exposure therin is all a company is interested in. But, you've got to try to know.
If you only have 100 subscribers on YouTube and you fill a gig with 40 friends 3 times a month, Gibson guitars may not respond to your endorsement request. Companies like this often recieve innumerable requests each month, and may only choose 2. This sort of expectation from the artist reaching out can easily lead to discouragement. So, where is the success? Upcoming companies in the feild are in much more need of the exposure you may offer than those which are already established. This means a young company will more commonly consider an upcoming artist, especially if 65 of your YouTube subscribers are musicians (future customers.) Reach out to young companies working to make a mark. String manufacturers, Local Luthiers, Accessory companies, beverage companies and similar usually consider your emails and will gratify you with an acknowledgement or even the endorsement you seek!
After deciding to reach out for endorsement, I sent over 30 emails to various companies. From the unheard of company, to the companies I would never expect to hear back from. Each email was basically idential. I changed the company names in the passage body and took time to cater a small portion of each inquirie to the exact company I was reaching out to. This added that 'Personal' touch to each that all humans enjoy. In these emails I spoke about my work, what I have done and where I am headed. Use this opportunity to brag on your career... but, be careful not to make information up. These companies deal with business people and artists all day and will see through you immediately and you will likely get a generalized response to your email. Don't lose hope! You may send these emails multiple times before you hear back. You may not ever hear back. That being stated, you may be suprised who you get attention from.
Of my 30 initial emails, I scored two product endorsements and several musical opportunities. SHUBB Capo company responded gleefully with a contract and even set me up with a complimentary guitar capo! I agreed to only use SHUBB capos publically and in video. The second endorsement was from Nicola Brand String Company, a rather small operation out of California, USA. This company was happy to post my name, webpage and image on their page in exchange for my promotions toward their company. This company offered a discount as incentive in lue of free merchandise, as they were too small a company to issue much pro-bono. I accepted both offers and continue to share their logos proudly as these two companies believed in my work when I was just starting to emerge.
Do not be afraid to send Gibson that email. Don't be too proud to ask that local guitar pedal maker to throw you a bone in exchange for your public decrees. If you are often photographed at your shows with a specific water bottle, or in a specific hat, don't be afraid to let those companies see that! Share the proof and let them know how many eyes see you drink that water! You may be suprised who wants to help!
*This message brought to you by Wings Back Entertainment, Nicola Brand Strings, and SHUBB Capo Company. :P*