Keeping track

This is part six of a multi-part “More from media” series.

What good is media exposure if your sponsors don’t know about it?

Shaw Grigsby

Shaw Grigsby gives an interview to

They hire you to get exposure and help them sell product, but many sponsors are not very savvy when it comes to media. They know you’re supposed to get exposure, but they don’t always do a good job of keeping track of who’s really doing the job and who’s not.

Unfortunately, the less savvy your sponsors are, the more of their work you need to be doing for them. Most will have only a vague idea of how often or where you’re getting ink. Worse yet, they have little or no idea of how you’re doing when compared to their other pro staffers. Don’t let their ignorance and guesswork hit you in the wallet. Take charge of your metrics.

Keeping track of how much media exposure you’re getting is a tedious and time-consuming job that absolutely no one enjoys. It’s mind-numbing, but it’s critical … especially if you like to eat and pay your bills.

Though the task isn’t easy, it is simpler than it used to be. Thanks to giant online search engines like Google, you can get a fair idea of the media exposure you’re getting without spending any money. But even Google doesn’t catch everything — especially print publications, radio and television.

For print, you should consider retaining a media monitoring service (a.k.a., a clipping service — search for them online) that will scan the publications relevant to your career area and pull copies where your name appears. Being able to waive hard copies of magazine and newspaper articles in the face of your pro staff managers can be a big deal. Make sure they all get a nice, thick binder with all of your articles in it every year.

As for radio, keep track yourself. You know when you’re on the air. Be sure to ask for a copy on CD that you can duplicate and give to sponsors. Radio tends to be under-appreciated by sponsors, but every little bit of exposure helps and radio reaches a lot more people than many pro staff managers realize.

Television, on the other hand, tends to be over-appreciated. Sponsors typically overestimate how many people watch outdoor-related programming and how much they spend. That’s good if you’re on TV a lot and bad if you’re not. Either way, be sure to record your TV appearances and convert them to DVD so you can share the shows with key parties.


What is all this media exposure worth? Most researchers say that editorial exposure (the kind of attention you’re getting in a how-to article or profile piece) is three times as valuable as the same space used for advertising. That’s big, and it’s certainly going to be many times what the average sponsor is paying you if you’re doing even a halfway decent job of promotion.

So take the incidents of exposure you got and put a monetary value on them. Call the newspaper, magazine, website, radio or television station and find out what it would cost to have a comparable advertisement in that space. Then multiply it by three. There’s your media contribution.

Is it a big number? Flash it around like crazy. Make sure everyone knows.

Is it a lousy number? Hide it for now, but look for opportunities to make it grow. Then maximize your efforts by keeping track of every bit of exposure you get.

And remember that if you can’t measure it, for many people it simply doesn’t exist.

If a tree falls in the forest and there’s no one there to hear it, does it make a sound?

If a magazine article features you and one of your sponsor’s products, but no one at the sponsor company sees it, does it help your career?

Think of media reporting like a weigh-in for the “other” part of your career. The fishing part of your career will have its ups and downs, but you can take charge of your media efforts.

And the worse you’re doing on the water, the better you need to be doing off it.

Keeping score in social media

Partly because a lot of sponsors aren’t very sophisticated and partly because they want an easy way out and don’t really understand new media, many are now evaluating their pro staffers based on things like Facebook fans and Twitter followers.

Never mind that they probably haven’t figured out how to monetize such things, these evaluations are easy to do and easy to defend, so that’s what they do.

“You have 500 fewer Facebook fans than Billy Joe, so we’re cutting you from the pro staff.” Never mind that you were on the cover of Angler’s Monthly and won the Angler of the Millennium award. “Metrics are metrics!” to those who don’t understand them.

The real bottom line here is to make sure you understand how your pro staff managers will be keeping score. Then tailor your efforts to that method. If your sponsors don’t value radio, stop looking for radio opportunities. If they overvalue television and treat all television appearances as equals, get on as many local cable programs as you possibly can.

It goes the same for social media. If all your sponsors want are Facebook fans, you can buy those for relatively little money. If they want Twitter followers, jump online and start following everyone out there; lots of them will quickly reciprocate, thereby increasing your numbers.

If you’re in a competition for those sponsorship dollars (and you almost certainly are), find out the rules of the game and do what you can to exploit them.


  1. Media exposure is money to a professional angler. Keep track of all that you get.
  2. Find out what your sponsors value and give it to them. Their measuring system may be screwed up, but it’s the way you’re being evaluated.

Ken Duke is the managing editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer and the author of two books on bass fishing. He has 33 years of experience working in a multitude of media platforms, and he’s arguably the most knowledgeable stat guy in the sport.
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Author: Ken Duke

[author] [author_image timthumb='on'][/author_image] [author_info]Ken Duke is the managing editor of Fishing Tackle Retailer and the author of two books on bass fishing. He has 33 years of experience working in a multitude of media platforms, and he’s arguably the most knowledgeable stat guy in the sport.[/author_info] [/author]

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