Make it look fun
This is part 15 of a multi-part “More from media” series.
This article is about more than media. It’s also about dealing with fans and sponsors and anyone else you encounter if you’re in the fishing industry, and I can sum it up in one word.
But you should keep reading anyway. There really is more, and it will make you money.
Smiling is not about cheesy and occasionally putting a good face on a tough situation. It’s about looking like you love what you’re doing, looking like you’re having fun, appearing pleasant to be around and generally seeming like a nice person … even if and when you’re not a nice person.
If you’re a sports fan, I bet you’ve listened to striking athletes making millions of dollars every year complain about their situations. And if you’re like most sports fans, you probably thought, “What has that guy got to complain about? He’s living the dream!”
Guess what? If you’re a professional angler, your fans think you’re living the dream, too. They don’t want to see you with a scowl on your face or with a complaint coming out of your mouth. Save that for private times with someone who cares (they’re occasionally hard to find) or someone who can help you fix it (even rarer). Never let fans or media catch you complaining, and never look like you have something to complain about. It makes you unappealing, and that’s just a short pitch away from unmarketable.
The biggest smiles belong to …
If you’re interested in being a professional angler, take a look around at the people who are really making big money at it — not your heroes, necessarily, but the guys who make the big money, have all the sponsors and have the biggest and most valuable names in the sport.
They all have one thing in common. They make it look fun. They never look like they had a bad day at the office. They smile a lot.
And the reason they smile is not because they’ve “made it” and are cashing big checks. They’ve always smiled a lot either because they truly feel they’re living the dream or they understand it’s the best way to present themselves. They never look like the multimillionaire athlete on strike because they know there’s no future in that. It’s marketing death. It’s stupid.
One variation on this that is extremely common in tournaments among young anglers is the guy who just brought a giant fish to the scales and holds it up for all to see looking like he’s being prepped for oral surgery. He’s having no fun at all.
There’s a word to describe that angler, and the word is “idiot.” Even if you really do catch 10-pound bass every day of every tournament you enter, you’d have to be an idiot to get up on stage and look like that.
Some anglers might think it’s cool to do it that way. They’re wrong. They need to show how excited they are; they need to show that they love what they’re doing and that the sport still excites them. They need to realize that if they caught a truly big bass (whether it’s a 12-pounder at Falcon Lake or a 3-pounder at the Ohio River), most other anglers will never have that experience and they are living vicariously through you. Give them some joy!
Have you ever talked about a weigh-in with a pro staff manager? I’ve talked with many about just that, and lots of them have mentioned how excited and how much fun their pro staffer seemed to be having after catching a big fish. Not one has ever mentioned how cool a pro staffer looked after holding up a big fish and looking bored.
Media people notice, too. Most got into the media end of the sport because they love fishing. When another angler is obviously having fun, the media want to be around him. It’s infectious.
Being and appearing excited draws fans, media and pro staff opportunities. Looking nonchalant does the opposite.
Making the camera find you
Among those who compete in or follow the Bassmaster Elite Series there’s a common perception that the anglers who show emotion (and sometimes histrionics) get more television coverage. The more conservative pros have derisive names for many of these anglers, and those who feel they’re not getting as much media coverage as they deserve (i.e., all of them) think it’s because they haven’t thrown a tantrum on the water.
Whether you think that’s true or not, it’s an interesting phenomenon, and there’s enough smoke there to at least make us think of fire.
And so what?
Without debating whether or not it’s a good policy to give more television time to more demonstrative anglers, know that there’s a reason behind that thinking. People in the television business are selling a product, and it’s easier to sell a product that’s dynamic than one that’s flat.
You and I might want to see the focus on the best anglers and the most innovative techniques, but we’re not the average fan. The average fan doesn’t take things so seriously. The average fan just wants to be entertained. You and I are often on the water when these shows air. The average fan is in his recliner.
Screaming every time you catch a bass won’t get you much attention if you’re not already pretty good, but if it’s something that separates you from the rest of the crowd, it might be the edge you need.
To thine own self …
Whatever you do and however you do it, you need to stay within the confines of you as a person and your comfort zone. You don’t need to scream at the top of your lungs every time you catch a 2-pounder, and you don’t need to talk like a hip-hop wannabe with a Southern accent. You need to be you, and you need to be comfortable with your image.
Most importantly, you need to identify what makes you unique and special. Why should sponsors and fans and media care about you? When they try to describe you in three or four words (and they will), what will those words be? What is your niche?
- Smile … it pays.
- Even if you aren’t living your dream, you’re living someone’s dream. Make it look fun.
- You don’t have to scream and rant to get attention, but you need to do something.
- Discover what makes you special and interesting; then be that person.
Tags: Bassmaster Elite Series, edge, entertain, excitement, fans, making money, media, members, more from media, niche, smile, sponsors, TV