In my previous post, How Authors Can Earn Real Money with Corporate Sponsors: Part 1, I discussed several ways you can earn money by working with corporations. While you may think that these corporate sponsorships are few and far between, I can assure you that they are easier to get than you might think.
First, you should know that big companies have equally big budgets. On average they allocate 10% to 15% of profits toward marketing alone. That adds up to big advertising budgets, investments in new marketing campaigns, and an ongoing commitment to finding fresh strategies to implement.
What Corporate Sponsors Want from Authors
Corporations aren’t looking for a bargain. They aren’t necessarily looking for top celebrities either. Here’s what they really want:
Ideas – Big companies are run by people—and those people have to come up with all the big ideas. In many cases, they look to outside sources for new opportunities and solutions. If you want to pitch a company, give them an idea that aligns with their business goals. Read their most recent annual report to learn about where their growth areas are, what areas of the company are struggling, and what their priority initiatives are. Then put together a dazzling pitch that addresses a challenge they are facing (like how to reach a certain segment of the market) and how your offering helps them overcome that obstacle. Before you know it, that idea can work its way through the corporate approval process and a check will be on its way to you!
Audience – One way to assure you get the attention of a company is to demonstrate that you have a large audience. That could be a high traffic website, large social media following, thousands of books sold, an active speaking engagement schedule, or a large newsletter subscriber base. The fact is that having an audience gives you leverage. Figure out which companies want to reach your audience and then find solutions to offer them. And by the way, there’s a good chance companies will seek you out when you start building some credibility in your field and show that you have an audience.
Professionalism – If you’re going to pitch something to a corporation, it will likely go through several levels of approval. So whatever you offer has to demonstrate professionalism on every level. If you self-published your book, they won’t care—as long as it has an attractive cover and has been through comprehensive editing. If you sell yourself as a speaker, make sure you are polished and deliver a great experience. The point is that you need to step up your game and demonstrate that you are the right person for the job.
How to Reach the Right People
Reaching corporate contacts can be tricky, but it has gotten easier in recent years. First, you should always start by figuring out who you know. If you can find someone to refer you directly to the contact you want to meet, that can be a great way to go. But since that isn’t always likely, you still have options.
The best tool out there for finding corporate contacts is LinkedIn. Using the advanced search feature, you can search by company name, job title, or keyword. For example, if you want to find the person in charge of the small business contest at Office Depot, type in the name of the contest as a keyword and see who comes up. You’d be amazed at how easy it is to find the people in charge of specific departments or initiatives.
Next, you can pay a minor fee per month to subscribe to LinkedIn mail, which allows you to send email to people outside of your network. However, you can also take your research a step further. Once you locate a contact name, head on over to Google and search for that person’s direct contact information. You can often locate an email address this way or other social media profiles where you can learn more about the person. Then you can reach out in any number of ways: LinkedIn mail, email, phone, or even postal mail. Be professional and creative. Most will listen to your idea because, remember, they need new ideas.
If you strike out on LinkedIn, look to Google to find leads. Some companies post an employee directory. You can also call the company operator and ask for the name of the person in charge of XYZ department. And you can check the other social media networks as well to find the information you need.
If your initial contact doesn’t get noticed, get more creative. Mail a copy of your book along with a hand-written note. Send flowers or a fruit basket. Send tweets to the CEO. Do whatever you have to do to get their attention and ask that they at least listen to your pitch. Trust me; they are used to listening to pitches and ideas. If you want to cinch the deal, do your homework and show up fully prepared to pitch them something they can’t refuse.