Find the camera
This is part 13 of a multi-part “More from media” series.
Unless you were a member of the drama club in school, you probably made fun of the kids who were always ready to go on stage, to sing in front of the class or generally to put themselves “out there.” You called them “hams” … or worse.
Several studies have shown that a fear of public speaking is the most common phobia in the United States — 25.3 percent of Americans fear speaking in front of a crowd. If you’re one of them, it’s time to work past that fear or to find another career path.
The goal of every professional angler (whether he says it or even knows it) is to create a stage and build an audience so he can speak to as many people as possible. It’s that kind of “reach” that creates your value as a pro. Without it, you’re left hoping to win enough money to support yourself … and the truth is that almost no one can do that.
Media isn’t everywhere, but there are certain places where you can anticipate they will be. For those times, you need to be prepared.
Big tournament? There will likely be some media there — at least for the final day weigh-in. Big consumer show? Ditto. Big trade show? Yes. If you’re in attendance because it’s an industry function of some kind, there’s a chance media will be there, too.
That’s why you must always be prepared. In this context, prepared means dressed tastefully and appropriately. If you’re not competing, ditch the jersey in favor of a nice polo shirt with a single sponsor logo. Avoid jeans and shorts. Wear dress pants or khakis. Under no circumstances should you be wearing sandals or flip-flops, and leave the cap at home. Business casual isn’t just for the office; it’s often your best way to get in front of media.
And bring some business cards that show you’re in the industry. A business card means you’re serious and ensures that they’ll get your name right in the story. It may even get you more exposure later because they’ll have your contact information.
A little help, please
Unless you know the media person you find, it’s probably best to assume they don’t know a lot about fishing. Newspaper, television and radio reporters and photographers are often assigned to cover events they have no training or experience covering. They’ll go out, talk to a few people who seem engaged, take a few pictures and head back to the office or station confident they’ve just done a bang-up job that will soon earn them a Pulitzer Prize. You’ve seen their work when they go out to cover a big tournament — they talk to the wrong people, ask the wrong questions and generally look like they have no clue.
Imagine how much better their story could be if you were available to help them navigate those treacherous waters. They’re still not likely to win a Pulitzer, but at least they won’t be laughed at by every angler who happens to catch the report.
They need you — or someone knowledgeable — to show them the ropes. What’s more, most media know they need help and actually want help. They just don’t know where to get it.
And that’s where you come in.
No time for false modesty
When you meet a reporter or photographer at an event, you must make an impression right away. You must convince them that you are exactly the person they need to talk with and exactly the person who will give their story authenticity. If you can’t do that, they’ll find someone else or go it alone.
This is no time to play games or for false modesty. If the reporter asks if you’re a knowledgeable angler, let them know you’ve won tournaments on that body of water or that you’ve lived there your entire life or some other thing that will give them confidence in you. Don’t lie, but don’t be disingenuously modest either.
This is no time to say, “Well, I’ve gotten lucky out here a time or two.” This is the time to say, “I won this tournament last year, and I know the anglers who are winning now. How can I help you?”
Don’t want to find the media? Find help instead
That public speaking is such a big phobia is no joke. For some people, the fear is paralyzing. These people will struggle as professional anglers because they’ll do a poor job for their sponsors.
If that’s you, get help right away. Consult with a psychiatrist or take a class in public speaking. Practice whenever and wherever you can — first in front of friends and family but soon in front of strangers. You won’t be able to control your audience in the real world.
If you don’t seek out the cameras and microphones, someone else will. When they do, they may also find your sponsors and your money. If you’re reluctant to put yourself “out there,” ask a couple of questions and answer them honestly.
First, “What would my sponsors want me to do?”
Second, “What would my family want me to do?”
When you have the answers to those questions, you’ll know what you have to do.
The angler who wins the Bassmaster Classic becomes a media magnet, and the media is drawn to him. Until that happens for you, the media is your magnet and you need to find them.
- Watch for media at every appearance you make — tournament weigh-ins, trade shows, consumer shows, etc. When you find them, introduce yourself and ask how you can help.
- Be prepared for these opportunities by being informed and properly dressed.
Tags: audience, Bassmaster Classic, business cards, cameras, consumer shows, exposure, media, members, microphones, more from media, newspaper, photographer, proper attire, public speaking, radio, reach, reporter, sponsors, tournaments, trade shows, TV