Sunday, April 30, 2017

So You Want to be a Pro Staffer

Fishermen today live in a world surrounded with Social Media.  This has made it very easy for fisherman to show off their catch, communicate with other fishermen and provide helpful information to other fishermen.  However the most important thing Social Media has provided is a much better chance to get noticed by companies that want people to promote their products.  If you are looking to get added onto a company’s Pro Staff the first thing that folks need to understand is these companies are looking for Promotional (Pro) Staff and not Professional Fishermen.  Professional Fishermen make their living fishing, where Promotional Staff have normal 40 hour a week jobs or go to school, but on the side they promote the fishing products they use.  In most cases Pro Staffers do not get paid to promote products, but they do receive discounts and in some cases free products to test and promote.  A good Promotional Staff program is very important to these companies as it is a great method of advertising their products.  It is also a great opportunity for fishermen that want to start getting involved in the fishing industry while getting some discounts on the tackle they use to fish.  Also those really good Pro Staffers that promote products very well and also do very well in tournament fishing stand a chance to move up to the next level.
So how does someone go about getting selected to a company’s Pro Staff?  Getting noticed is the biggest hurdle for a fisherman looking to get selected by a company.  There are many ways to get noticed and in today’s world of Social Media it has become much easier.  Now I’m not telling you that you can get a Facebook Page, Twitter Account or a National Pro Staff Account and you will selected for a Pro Staff.  No I’m telling you that the tools are there for you to use, if you use them right.  Remember you are posting to get noticed not only by companies, but other fishermen.  If other fishermen aren’t following you and liking your posts chances are neither are tackle companies. There are two ways to be noticed, in a good manner and in a bad manner.  To get noticed in a good manner is the goal so here are some Do’s and Don’ts that will help in your Social Media Posts:
 1 – Always have a very good profile with a very good picture of yourself, with a good fish you caught if possible.  Make sure you put a lot of information in your profile about your fishing and your goals for fishing in the future.  Make sure to list any fishing accomplishment you have.
2 – Post good pictures of yourself and your catch whenever and as much as possible.
3 – Post good pictures of the baits you use and how you use them.  The same goes for your rods and reels.  Always explain why you use or like your tackle.
4 – Make sure to always give details of your catch.  Make sure to include what bait, rod, reel and line that were used to make the catch.  It is also helpful for you to talk about the method you used to catch your fish.

5 – Always reply to comments on your posts and try to answer any questions that are asked.  Even if the comment doesn’t set well with you take the higher ground in your reply.
6 - You need to be proactive and research the company and products you plan on promoting.  Be knowledgeable so you can make the best post possible and also be able to answer any questions that may be asked about the company and their products.  You want people to believe you know what you are talking about and not give them any information that turns out to be wrong.  Giving wrong or bad information looks bad for both you and the company you are promoting.
7 – Post helpful tips as much as possible.  A lot of folks are out there that like the help very much.
8 – Post questions that will draw a lot of answers from folks.  Reply to everyone that answers you.

9 – Follow back most of the people that follow you.  The reason I say most is there will always be some folks that follow you, that for some reason give you a bad feeling or have something offensive in their profile.
1 – Posting pictures of bleeding bass is never taken well by all folks.  I know that we all deep hook a fish from time to time, but be sure to wash off the blood before taking a picture. 
2 – I’m not against anyone keeping a few bass from time to time for the dinner table, but there are a lot of folks out there that are totally against bass being kept for any reason.  Posting pictures of a cleaning table or cooler with a bunch of dead bass is not going to go over well.  Take your picture before the bass are dead.
3 – Begging for likes or follows is a real turnoff for a lot of folks.  If your posts are good they will get likes on their own and people will start to follow you.  Keep working at making your posts better until they are getting likes.
4 – Posts that have anything that could be considered offensive are a No, No!  Remember you are trying to get the attention of as many people as you can.
5 – Never get into an argument on a post thread.  It is better not to comment at all if you cannot make some type of positive comment.
Now that you see the types of things you should or shouldn’t post let’s talk about making contact with companies.  There are a lot of different ways to make contact with companies.  You can Email them or Direct Message them but when you do make sure to include links to all your Social Media accounts.  However the best way these days to contact companies that are looking for Promotional Staff is through National Pro Staff. 
National Pro Staff or NPS is pretty new to Social Media, but it has taken some giant leaps in a short time.  Not only are there every day fishermen on NPS but also there are some Professional Fishermen, Promotional Staff Fishermen and most importantly there are many companies from the Fishing Industry that are on NPS.  Companies looking for Promotional Staff even make “Calls” on there so people can apply.  Applying to a company making a call for Pro Staff is not free, it will cost you $20.00.  That means you have to have your NPS Profile and Resume up to date with as much information about you as possible.  Make sure that both your Profile and Resume are appealing and only include truthful information.
You are Selected……Now What:
Each of the companies is somewhat different with their Pro Staff programs.  However for the most part there will be a contract or agreement you will have to sign.  Make sure that you read over these contracts or agreements very good.  Don’t enter into a contract or agreement that you know you cannot fulfill as it doesn’t help you or the company.  In fact if you don’t fulfill your part of a contract or agreement that could put a black mark against you and limit your chance for being selected to other Pro Staffs.
Don’t Be a Patch Pirate!
Being a “Patch Pirate” means you are just looking to add “Patches” or “Logos” to your shirt and you don’t use the products or promote for the companies.  If you know you are not going to actually use or promote a company’s products then don’t apply to be on their Pro Staff.  Only apply to companies you personally believe have great products that you actually use.  By doing this it makes promoting those products very easy.  If you are using them in your every day fishing, then getting pictures and making Social Media posts about them is so much easier and believable!  The other thing is you don't want to get on the staff of more companies that you can effectively promote.  If you are spread too thin then it doesn't benefit you or the company.
There is so much more that I know I’m not covering.  However anyone that has a question that I’ve not answered here can comment on this article, send me an email or direct message me on any of my Social Media accounts.  I really hope that this has been helpful to many of you, and you have a better understanding of this process.
Until next time, Tight Lines and Take a Kid Fishing!!
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Also check out the great folks that help make my fishing adventures possible and the tackle I use and trust. 
Ardent Outdoors
Bandit Lures 
Santone Lures
Creme Lures 
Dunamis Rods
Liquid Mayhem Fish Attractants
Lazyman Hooks
K-9 Fishing Products
New Pro Products
Thrasher Sports Apparel
Stealth Rod Holders