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By David Cindrich

In today’s world of online promotion, the Bass fishing world has taken notice at a national and regional level. This can be seen in many different ways.  Do a search for your favorite angler, chances are they have there own website, Face Book and a MySpace page at the very least. For a local or regional angler it can be a key to a door opening in the sponsorship world or it can be the key that locks the door forever.

An angler can start to set up their online credentials by simply starting a www.MySpace.com  or www.FaceBook.com  these are websites that are used by literally millions upon millions of anglers. 

To be successful at your goals of online promotion on these types of websites, I believe it is important to network with people that are there for your interest. This means to me, only network with other anglers, hunters, boat companies, tackle companies and outdoor television shows. I do this because it is easy to control the content others may post on your pages. This is a tough road because as I stated there are millions of users on MySpace and Face Book and it takes a lot of work to build a network. Anytime someone wants to network with you be sure to check their pages to see if this is someone you want to add content to your pages.

One of the simplest ways to build your network is to find a top ranking tournament bass fishing pro and look at their “friend list”.  In general these are people interested in tournament bass fishing. The pro angler’s friends list is a phone book of sorts to start the network you are at the websites to achieve. These types of websites have a lot of features and can take time to learn how to use to their full extent.

Here is an example of an angler that has used many of the tools I mention above and I feel is successful with his efforts to promote his sponsors and build a network that works for him.                                       

www.ChadWhiting.com

 Here is a link Chad’s to MySpace page. http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewProfile&friendID=153679523 

Chad has a great looking MySpace page he uses to promote his sponsors and keep his network of friends updated on what’s going on in his life and his tournament bass fishing career. Notice the clean lay out of his MySpace page; also notice how Chad keeps everything positive. Chad has about 2000 “friends” on MySpace. This means a sponsor can pick up the phone and tell Chad get the word out about a new product. Chad then can make a bulletin and it will then instantly go out to 2000 users in his network. His sponsors know this and so does Chad.

Chad also has a personal website www.ChadWhiting.com and uses many other online tools to promote himself and his sponsors.

Another important thing Chad has found since joining MySpace is that he is not only there for advertising his sponsors, but the people he meets on MySpace are awesome. He couldn't believe how many people were willing to share what lures they use and places to look for when traveling out of state. Also he receives great information about lodging, where to get a fishing license and gas. You name it he can use his network to help him. It is an easy and free way to advertise yourself and meet others that will help you further your fishing career.

Another road to an online resume is simply blogging about your fishing experiences and the bass fishing products you use. Blogging can help the angler in many ways.  First of all, if a blog is updated often with fresh content, it is usually found by search engines and indexed regularly. This means when someone does a search related to the topic you have written about on a search engine, such as Google or Yahoo, there’s a good chance some will find your blog. Another thing you are doing is making a record of your fishing efforts that you can return to as a reference year after year. The longer you blog the more readers you will have and search engines will pick up more and more of your content. Once a reader “finds you” on your blog, they can click on a RSS button, this means “Really Simple Syndication.” Each time you post on your blog a RSS is sent to a user that has signed up for your RSS and they will return to your blog because they thought it was worth there effort to sign up for your RSS in the first place. A successful blogger may potentially be approached by sponsors, advertisers and affiliates, but in many cases it will be up to the Blogger him or herself to approach them. Most of us know what sponsors and advertisers are, but do you know what affiliates are? Affiliate programs are a form of online promotion that awards the blogger that is directing traffic to the advertiser.

Learn more about affiliate programs @
www.2CreateaWebsite.com this is a free website that has tons of information about websites that many need to know, but don’t know how to do.

Here is an example of a successful bass tournament blogger that promotes some very well known sponsors and earns an income for his efforts. 

   

www.RichLindgren.com

Here is a link to Rich’s Blog - http://BassinBlog.RichLindgren.com
Rich is a very savvy bass tournament blogger that has been blogging few years now. Rich has learned a few tricks though out the years, but it is not about tricks as much as content. If you visit the blog link above you will notice although Rich may not be fishing in the winter months, but he is adding fresh and relevant content that notifies his subscribed RSS readers that the blog has been updated. The user then returns and reads the content. This does two things, Rich has an online record to show his sponsors the traffic that he is bringing to his blog and the impressions he is making about there product.

 If you click on the hot links of the products Rich is blogging about you will notice it brings to an online store. This is done for multiple reasons, one it brings you more information & pictures of products. Also, many times, but not always, this store is an affiliate of Rich's Bassin' Blog, this means when someone clicks on one of his banners or hot links of the product and goes to the affiliate’s website and makes a purchase Rich will receive a small commission. Now you may ask why would you go through Rich’s affiliate link to purchase a product, the answer is it does not cost you any more for the product and you are supporting a tournament angler that has taken the time to give you a honest input about a product.

You can also see that Rich has created an entire affiliate mall to help anglers and his readers find the best deals on all their fishing gear on his website - http://www.richlindgren.com/ShopFishingTackle.htm.

Now you may ask yourself can anybody be an affiliate, the answer is no. The affiliate provider will look at many different things (traffic, quality of site, related content, etc.) to determine if they want to let you post links as an affiliate on your site. Traffic and does the Blog project positive message to its subscribers are important to the affiliate. Rich also uses many other online sources to promote himself and his sponsors, including bass fishing forums and social networking tools. Once again www.2CreateaWebsite.com can help you with the finer points of blogging. Also, feel free to post questions to Rich's Blog

Personal angler’s websites is another way to promote your sponsors and yourself. You can do this yourself for little cost and you control the content. Usually anAngler will use their own name for this type of website.

  

 www.JoshDouglasFishing.com

By using your own name you are creating a “brand”, a brand is type of trade name that in time if you do your work you can be recognized by the bass fishing industry, also when you use your own name and someone does a search of your name, your website will usually be #1 on the search engine.

www.JoshDouglasFishing.com has successfully used his website to promote his sponsors, himself and his guide service. Josh gets good traffic to his website and in return he gets guide trips and helps promote his sponsors. The income Josh earns from promoting himself on his own website helps him with the expenses of tournament bass fishing. Notice the hot links to his sponsors, his guide service and how he keeps us up to date on his fishing career. Josh also uses many other online tools to promote himself and his sponsor’s.

To help build traffic to your website, learn from. www.2CreateaWebsite.com 

Part of many anglers online credentials are their ability to promote themselves and their sponsors on fishing forums. Another example of this is right here on www.FutureBass.com  When you visit FutureBass.coms message boards you will notice a “signature” at the bottom of a lot of our users post. This is a privilege we allow our users to use to promote there sponsors. A signature is a hot link to the users sponsor’s website that automatically appears each time a user post.

Many anglers have been recognized by sponsors for their ability to promote online on fishing forums. Another great thing about a signature is that if I obtained a new sponsor I can add the sponsor to my signature on FutureBass.com message boards. This means as of right now I can instantly add 850 hot links to FutureBass.com message board. Each time I post the number goes up. I mainly will only post on websites that allow signatures to sponsors and websites that I Pro staff for.

 Pro Staffing for a website is another way to help the angler self promote themselves. Pro Staffing for a web site or for a sponsor does not necessarily mean an angler is a professional tournament bass angler, rather it means promotional staff. The angler helps to promote the website and in doing so gets more exposure for themselves that can help land future sponsors.

 Always be positive on fishing forums or any other place on the web for that matter. A sponsor is looking for someone that can promote their product,  help less experienced anglers enjoy the sport and project a positive light to the product without down grading a competitor’s product.

It is very easy to take the bait that another fishing forum user with an agenda may have, I know I have been found guilty of this before, stay positive and stay focused on the subject. Many of us are not professional writers or punctuation experts, as you may be able to tell with the mistakes I have already made in this article alone.  Always use spell check. It is very important to do your best when you are representing yourself and sponsors online. Just thinking to your self that no one cares is not good enough. Sponsor and you deserve better. Don’t short change good information with bad punctuation and bad spelling.

 Don’t have spell check?  Well here you go;

Google spell check; down load it in your Google toolbar for free.     http://www.google.com/ig/adde?moduleurl=www.sendsome.org/spellboy/modules/google_gadget/index.xml&source=spel&ct=1056755011

Don’t have a Google tool bar? Go to www.Yahoo.com and make it your home page and spell check will come with a toolbar download for free.

A great way to help yourself with punctuation is open a Word document, Word helps with punctuation and spelling, then simply cut and paste into your post on the bass fishing forums.

 Some of the other things to consider is anything put on the web stays on the web. Every thing you ever type onto the World Wide Web is there forever.  There is much more to learn about on-line promotion and can take a lifetime to learn, but these are some simple ways to get started. Take the time and do a Google or a Yahoo search of yourself and you may be surprised what you find.

Are you opening doors for yourself or locking them forever?