Artist Endorsements and Sponsorships: The Right Approach
There are some helpful resources online about this topic, but many of them come from the artist or creator side of the proverbial fence. We here at Hosa work with many artists and creators, and get approached every day by people looking to build a direct relationship. While we can’t speak for other companies, we’ll go over some fundamentals that will make for the best approach when you’re ready to send that email.
Every Situation is Different
Companies come in all shapes and sizes, which means they have different sized budgets, marketing departments, staff, and requirements before working with artists. Some companies may require contracts, others a hand-shake agreement. Some may offer free product, others may only offer some kind of artist pricing structure. There is also the possibility there are certain metric thresholds that you’re required to meet beforehand, such as subscribers, follows, views, sales, streams, etc.
Important Things to Know and Do
We’ll list off 9 fairly universal things that will help you get off on the right foot and make companies more receptive to your approach.
Research the Company
If you’re attempting to create a relationship, you should already know about the company, what they do, and preferably already have experience with their product or service. There’s a big difference between someone who has a history and experience with them vs someone looking to try it for the first time.
Think of the Company’s Interests
It’s always helpful when the company you’re approaching can see that you understand some kind of equal value provided. Be as specific as you can with ideas so the artist rep has a good understanding that you’ve given this a lot of thought and value the mutually-beneficial aspect of the relationship.
Have a Plan
Like in the last suggestion, have your ideas already crafted to present. Know what it is you’re asking for and what you are offering in return. That could be promotion on social media in posts or videos, at events on banners, showcasing products in a tour or clinic atmosphere, etc.
Once you have your plan, be specific about your request and also the return value you’re offering, but also be open to alternatives if they’re proposed or required. The less specific you are, the less an artist rep knows where to start or what you’re going to do and may not take the time to respond.
Even though you’re emailing a company, you have to remember that you’re talking to another person, and they will be paying attention to how you present yourself. It’s okay to be smaller and growing, but it’s not okay to exaggerate your audience or buy followers/likes/engagement because those can be detected quickly and come off as dishonest.
Make it Easy to Find You
A good idea is to have a link or a document to copy from which includes clickable URL links to anything requested. Don’t just send @ handles or tell them they can Google your name or band, because you’re asking the person on the other side to do the work to find you, and that increases the odds that they may not.
Don’t Just “Fish” for Free Stuff
We get it, lots of companies send promotional products to artists and creators in order to advertise directly with their audience. However, remember that this is viewed as a relationship, which may be long-term or short-term. If it seems like all you want is something free for yourself and you don’t value that relationship, chances are very low that you get any type of response.
Have Confidence in What You’re Offering
If you’re approaching a company, you should have some honest understanding of the value you bring. You don’t have to over-promise or exaggerate. Part of that value is how you show sincere confidence in what you’re able to bring. Actions always speak louder than words, so this should be supported and emphasized with some kind of established content or example, such as a previous post or video that shows how you present other products and brands.
Spell Check and Format Properly
It may seem kind of silly, but we promise it’s not. While we’re all musicians and creative types, this is still a professional email and request. You should take care to spell correctly and use proper fonts and colors. It’s a simple thing to show respect to the recipient, and they notice.
Don’t Make Assumptions
It’s ok to take “no” as an answer, or accept less. Remember, if you value this relationship enough to make that initial approach, then you should understand that relationships can change and grow over time.
Business is Nothing but Personal
You’ve probably heard the old cliche that, “It’s business, it’s not personal” when in actuality, the polar opposite is true. You’re emailing another person who will read your email through their own prism and respond to you through theirs, as well. If you’re respectful, patient, personable, and reliable, people will notice. The music business is the people business.
Hopefully that gave you a little insight from “behind the curtain” that companies like Hosa are looking for, but a lot of these tips are just generally good rules to follow in many aspects of life. While we’d love to work with every artist who is interested in Hosa, there are only so many we can accept every year. If you have any interest in applying to be a Hosa artist, you can find our online form here.