by Skip Cohen
Too many artists think they deserve support simply because they use a company's products or services. They don't think through relationship-building or their own communication skills, and often act as if they just need to hit the sponsorship button on their computer.
This is a very different episode of "Mind Your Own Business" because we're sharing ideas about sponsorship and relationship building, two topics Glen Clark and I have been focused on for years in this industry.
Here's a little of the backstory on the topic: Glen's background, going back to when we first met in the early 90s, has always had him in the role of the guy photographers chase down for sponsorship, especially when it comes to teaching and speaking engagements related to the companies he worked for.
My background is very similar, but with added exposure as the hosting event for speakers and educators during the seven years, I was president of RF Publishing and WPPI. The bottom line is that we've got years of experience understanding what it takes to make a sponsor happy and feel the investment in a photographer is worth it.
Where so many of you fail is not thinking through what it is you want to accomplish, as well as what it is you have to sell. It's not just about using a vendor's products but developing a reputation for integrity, creativity, and quality. For example, just because you scored a 100 in print competition doesn't mean you have the ability to teach and hold the attention of your audience on behalf of another company.
Plus, every sponsor will always ask you the same question: "How is sponsoring you going to help me sell more of my products?"
Over the years between the two of us, I'm betting Glen and I have sponsored hundreds of photographers and projects but turned down hundreds more! Every aspect of success in business plays into a company's decision to support an artist; it's about your style, professionalism, speaking ability, experience, topics, brand awareness, creativity, and skill set.
In this recent podcast, besides talking about Glen's extensive career in the industry, Glen, Chamira, and I spent a lot of time talking about the ingredients that companies look for when considering investing in an artist or project.
Follow Glen on Instagram, and he's always sharing images and content on his Facebook page. As always, we couldn't do this series without the support of Photofocus.com. Remember, we're just one podcast series in their lineup. Visit Photofocus.com and check out not only some terrific podcasts, but a stream of never-ending content to help you become a better artist and business owner!
Check out "Why?" one of the most popular features on the SCU Blog. It's a very simple concept - one image, one artist and one short sound bite. Each artist shares what makes the image one of their most favorite. We're over 100 artists featured since the project started. Click on the link above and you can scroll through all of the episodes to date.