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Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing | How to Acquire and Retain More Sponsors

Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing | How to Show More “Digital Love” to Your Sponsors

By: Weston Schrank

Stone Road Media’s Content Manager

Frankly, this idea of digital content is changing the ballgame for Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing, and what is expected from the sponsored partnerships in the outdoor industry. If you’re not paying attention, “the train is leaving the station” so to speak. Brands and potential sponsors of your TV show, and now more than ever the actual TV shows themselves (your competitors), are realizing the potential for digital content marketing and acting upon their new found knowledge. In simple terms, it’s almost sickening how much a sponsor would spend with traditional ads and sponsorship for a TV show alone. What are they paying for? Honestly ask yourself. It would be the logo and mention in the sponsor reel, a couple of B-roll shots inter-cut with the main story line, and one link on their sponsors page of their website (this last one might even be a stretch for some). At best, a sponsor was receiving brand recognition, and a personality behind their product or company. What’s even worse about this situation, is that it is in fact still going on in today’s diverse marketing platform! There is a new bar of expectations between hunting and fishing TV shows and their sponsors/partners, being set by hunting and fishing marketing agencies seeking the most return for a sponsor or manufacturer’s investment into a show. The hunting and fishing marketing game is changing, the consumer is changing, and as a result the whole industry is seeing a shift.

I do it, you do it, and your fans do it…there is constantly second screen usage while watching your show, especially in the newer “millennial” generation. In fact 87% of consumers use more than one device at a time (Accenture 2015), and you guessed it, the smartphone is the most common device used. So what are they doing/looking for while on these devices? Well obviously their own social media sites, but more than half of consumers are inspired to seek out brand specific content during or after the show. Sixty-eight percent (68%) of consumers spend time reading about brands that interest them, and once found, 78% perceive a relationship between themselves and the brand after reading or watching digital content; 82% of which is positive feelings towards the brand – all of this by just giving them the content they seek (Demand Metric 2014). Honestly think about the end goal of your hunting or fishing TV show, it probably/should involve a large viewer base and fans with brand/personality loyalty. They love your show and they can’t get enough of it…right? So giving them custom content, on a digital platform, can reach them through other channels or devices, and give you better results, views, and loyalty right? Correct! Companies with blogs, and custom content especially in the form of video, generate 67% more leads per month (Demand Metric 2014). Now that we are talking actual result, the light bulb is starting to flicker in your head! So let’s just recap this before going further. Basically creating and promoting custom content on other platforms that are available online (digital content marketing) will give you more viewers, more loyalty, and more leads to your hunting and fishing brand and sponsors. This is still not to mention that consumers will be searching, finding, and engaging with this content on social media and other platforms if it is available 24/7. This is real time reach, and results that yield more than your scheduled and restrictive show times.

How to Acquire and Retain More Sponsors with Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing 5Increasing leads, viewers, engagement, and loyalty…that is what attracts sponsors, and what your sponsor and partnership is based upon. I’m not doubting your understanding of viewers and how you acquire sponsors, all I want to do is set the table for the main course of what I am trying to deliver. While the TV show has been, and still is a great outlet, outdoor content marketing and inbound marketing is by far the most effective marketing technique (monetarily and predictive) in the outdoor industry. The fact is that brands, potential sponsors, and partners are recognizing bigger returns on digital content marketing than the traditional ad spend and sponsor route. So how do you retain and gain sponsors? How do you jump on before you’re left behind?

By doing exactly what you are doing! Your biggest asset, and the sponsor’s biggest asset is you, an original content creator. You just need to be more efficient and diverse with that content. While outdoor content marketing is establishing itself in the outdoor industry and TV, overall, is falling behind, sponsors still need skilled content creators. You are a show, you have the video content, and you create more every single day! You are by definition a content producer and you are what google loves – up to a point. You have a TV show, so you have new shows and new seasons every month and every year. Now ask yourself what are you doing on the digital side? At most are you posting regularly on social media and updating your website with pictures, teasers, and information on show times? This is honestly as far as the majority of shows seem to get. What we are proposing is a completely different idea, one that changes the game of a partnership and the relationship between a hunting or fishing TV show and their sponsors. I want to warn you, however, you need to pay attention to how you are attempting this new standard. Some companies in this industry have started taking the hints, and have jumped…they are just off to a very rocky and unproductive start.

Hunting and Fishing TV – Content’s Full Potential?

There is a clear understanding that custom content produced and provided to your consumers on the digital platform, alongside and beyond your TV show, will generate desired results. So how do you create and use your content to its full potential. Honestly, that is probably the biggest question partners come to us with and what we address at Stone Road Media. There is no lack of understanding behind the premise; executing it, however, and getting the maximum benefit out of your marketing and content is our department. We are starting to see a new progression in this industry, companies are starting to hop onto the right path but they are driving it with the wrong vehicle. The “first timers” or “innovators” of this outdoor digital content real estate for the taking, are not what they perceive themselves to be. There are some companies in the outdoor industry that have attempted to take the jump to digital content marketing. The sum of their actions are basically taking the hunting and fishing shows that have aired, segmenting them into bits and pieces, and have placed them on YouTube or another platform such as online TV or an online web show site. They are all striving for it to be reachable digital content that attempts to get ahead of TV shows and the shifting outdoor industry, and in turn be a better option for a partnership. Don’t get me wrong, they are creating content that the fans are searching for and eventually watching, but it is not producing the results it should be. What I am trying to say is this digital content real estate is still open, the players in this game have a foot in the niche but are far (extremely far) from dominating it. The content they are using lacks optimization, customization, originality, and as a result…traction! It is the right path to the digital content we are talking about, just poorly executed and as a result, concludes without the organic effect that we have proven ours can create with our partners. In turn this digital content, that in some situations can be moderately valuable content, ends up like every other useless piece of digital trash, stored on the far reaches of Google’s results with minimal reach. Now before we dive into how your content, the open real estate, and how digital content marketing changes the game for the sponsor-TV show relationships in the outdoor industry, we need discuss how we can successfully execute what the falsely acclaimed “first timers” attempted.

Content is King – It’s All About the Fans!!!

The reason these “innovators” or falsely perceived “top dogs” of the digital content, online TV, web shows, or YouTube channels are failing, is they are not giving their fans and consumers enough thought – or worse ignoring Google’s algorithm desires. Sure, they produce content viewers want, but they are not paying attention enough to take full advantage of it and reach everyone that could potentially be interested in their brand (syndication). There are no shortcuts when it comes to digital content and its marketing, it’s the cold hard truth of Google. Especially now, with the release of Google Hummingbird algorithm. If you want the desired results of the organic effect and a top spot in the ranks of relatable content to your brand, you have to be an authority on that content and optimize it as such. Speaking in clear English, a video on YouTube, an online web show, or other similar platform with the single title “John Doe’s 180-Inch Whitetail”, and no description or tags, will go absolutely nowhere. It was a complete waste of a hunt, editing time, and the 30 minutes it took to upload. This is the current standard of the outdoor industry. Get some subscribers and viewers, put up a video, and you have a web show. What’s even worse is these shows claim to be on the forefront of the industry, and the very same shows are going to sponsors with this junk. So like all things in life, to be successful learn from the mistakes! Overall we see 4 mistakes made by companies claiming to be the niche dominator when it comes to online and digital content.

  • Not Original – their content is regurgitated common sense blogs, or reused and segmented TV show footage put online. This content is old, it’s bland, tasteless, it’s short (200-500 words, if any), and it’s not relevant. In order to get Google’s organic effect you need to first start with original, new, custom, never seen before content.
  • Not Optimized – This is by far the most lacking in the industry. Once you have an original piece it needs to be “teed up”. This means optimized attributes including title, meta description, meta tags, keywords, and the list goes on. Even the best magazine and print freelance writers are behind in this aspect. For video content, the process is even more meticulous as it needs an authoritative chunk of relatable copy for Google to know what it is.
  • Not Repeated – This is not just a week-long, month-long, or even year-long process. New custom content that is optimized needs to be continuous, relentless, and anticipated by your fans and audience. The biggest mistake we see made beyond these first two points above, is putting up the first season or round of your content, and being dormant for 6-7 months. Hunting and fishing is seasonal, your content shouldn’t be.
  • Not Syndicated – Your content is king and you are on the right track if it is custom, if it is optimized, and it’s on-going. The next step is getting this content out and available to your fans. This is where marketing, social media platforms, and syndication comes into play. If you are the content producers, you can reach the first three steps with some hard work, but the last step may require some help. If you’re the sponsor you might have a better idea of this, but the maximum benefit will still be out of your reach.

Showing Love to Your Hunting and Fishing Sponsors

With that out of the way we can progress into what you came here for…your hunting or fishing TV show sponsorships. Once you have jumped the hurdle of not only producing custom content for your fans, optimizing it, and giving it legs, but you can begin to show sponsors “digital love.” When you begin to see the results, the “organic effect” as we call it, of your content marketing…the sponsors will also notice. They do not only see the viewers and reach potential that is seen through traditional sponsor eyes, they see further into the value of your content from the digital perspective. The potential of how the relationship should work is simply explained, take advantage of every piece of custom, original, and relatable content. This will be the new standard for hunting and fishing TV show – sponsor relationships.  Honestly getting to the point of producing or receiving the content is the easiest part of this process, knowing what to do with it and using it to its full potential is by far the hardest part.

Hunting and Fishing TV Show Marketing 11Here is a taste of what should be going on between hunting and fishing TV shows and their sponsors.

Links

The bare minimum of relationship should not only be to think in terms of sales or reach but help each other maximize digital presence. This means syndication and linking. The smallest amount of this should be at least blogs, forums, and discussions with backlinks between companies and products. Links built the right way is a small portion of the big picture, but it helps to build online presence and authority on the relevant subject of the relationship.

Embedding Content

The lifeless YouTube videos you have on your channel are a shining examples of knowing you came to the right place. A couple thousand views is pitiful, and relatively speaking completely wasting the content. This goes both ways. Whether it is a how to, tips and tactics, a hunt, or a fishing webisode from the TV show or a product video, review, or teaser from the sponsor company, the content, in this case a video, should be embedded again with a chunk of relatable copy, optimized, and syndicated across all available platforms in the relationship.

Specific Hunting and Fishing Brand Based Content

Once you start specifically going into the relationship and maximizing every piece of content, you can start to fall into a pit. This pit is going too far into specific brand-based content. All too often a TV show will get set into trying to sell the product. This is about as boring, and unoriginal as you can get. I’m not necessarily talking about reviews here, but blogs or video paired content that focusses to heavy on the relationship itself (linking and embedding the company or product) and not thinking about the customer. It still needs to be entertaining or informational, it needs to benefit the viewer.

This is just a taste, the entry-level basics of what is rapidly becoming the new standard in the relationships between hunting and fishing TV shows and their partners/sponsors. Outdoor content marketing will be, and is developing, as the future and focal point of the outdoor industry. Whether you are a sponsor or a TV show, no matter the size of your company or your budget, outdoor content marketing can boost your company in the industry. As you plan for 2016 marketing of your company and beyond, remember that a lot of companies are already investing into outdoor content marketing. There is only so much space in this competition, and once you get ahead in the game it could be easy to stay ahead.

For more information on Stone Road Media’s digital media assistance and multi-faceted team, contact us today at info@stoneroadmedia.com.

Weston Schrank is Stone Road Media’s Digital Content Manager. He has turned the obsession of outdoors and hunting, expertise in wildlife and land management, and understanding of specialized content creation and SEO into an excelling and devoted career benefitting the company’s many outdoor industry partners.

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