Sponsorships 101 with Sierra Blair-Coyle

American climber Sierra Blair-Coyle is one of the most recognizable faces of the sport at the moment. You’ve probably seen her not just in competitions but also all over your social media and maybe even climbing a building with the help of a vacuum cleaner. She’s an absolute expert in sponsorship deals and she’s written a couple of posts sharing some of her knowledge on the topic.

Una foto publicada por OnBouldering (@onbouldering) el

I have based all of these blogs on my personal experiences over the past 12 years where I have been a sponsored climber. I hope that these blogs will give you valuable insight into some of the possibilities of what being a sponsored athlete involves

Now, don’t get any ideas, reading the posts (here and here) won’t guarantee you a deal with Black Diamond overnight, but it will give you a starting point and an idea of how this kind of deals work.

For most climbers, it is quite unclear how to get in touch with companies and what to expect from them. Sierra’s posts will help you figure out things like who to contact, how much to insist if you don’t get a reply, what kind of information to send them, whether or not you need to sign a contract…

Una foto publicada por Sierra Blair-Coyle (@sierrablaircoyl) el

Of course, being a good climber helps a lot, but nowadays you gonna need much more than that. It will be up to you to invest the time and effort to build a good following on social media and to make your name as known as possible.

It is incredibly important to have social media. Companies not only rely on “social media influencers” for one-time postings, they partner with influencers on sponsorships as well. Having a strong social media following allows you (as an athlete) to reach more people than if you did not have social media.

You can learn a lot by following Sierra. Take a look at how much content she publishes and how much she engages with her audience. You don’t get to hundreds of thousands of followers just with a pretty face. There’s a lot of work behind her success and we must give her credit for that.

Update: Here’s the third and final part of the series, How to maintain a good relationship with sponsors.

Being professional involves conducting yourself in an appropriate, business-like manner and is one of the most important things you can do as a sponsored athlete.  You want to be easy to contact, easy to work with, and have followed through on any obligations.

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