Have you ever wanted to be a stand out rider? Of course we all crave the feeling of being the fastest rider at the track, but what about someone who stands out and gets the attention regardless if they win out right or not. How about someone who gets the attention of the sponsors and race shops? Sounds interesting right?! Well we're here to help! All too often we run across individuals and racing families who are looking to stand out and hopefully attract some sponsors to help with the sometimes dauntingly high cost of racing. We wanted to address some simple yet beneficial things that anyone at any level could implement and put to work to make the difference in their programs. All of these things don't cost anything to you except some time, strategy, and elbow grease! Let's dig into how you can get noticed and get the support you need.
Step 1) Be social!
One of the biggest things that we hear from people is " We don't bother with social media, we aren't tweens". This is understandable, however it won't get you to where you want to go. Our being social tip plays two fold: Being social online and being social at the races, but we'll cover the latter a bit down the road. Social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook are modern marvels that far surpass anything a cable network of yesteryear would have been capable of. The sheer impact and outreach of these two platforms alone can rocket just about anyone to multi-million dollar stardom. You can see the evidence of that every day. To let this ultra-powerful tool go to waste is a huge loss and something budget conscious racers shouldn't do. If you haven't already (and we know there's a few of you out there) make sure that you create your own Instagram and Facebook pages, two of the most popular platforms. These help to tell your own personal story and to help "brand" or market yourself. This can really be a great tool for anyone who has a unique persona or charismatic personality as it helps to highlight this and set you apart from the herd. The cool part is that we all have a unique voice and point of view no matter how "normal" or mundane we think we are. An added bonus is that you get to post pictures of yourself getting steezy on your dirt scoot- always guaranteed to put a smile on your face!
Owning a social media page also gives sponsors a place to learn more about you from a far and you can also use it to interact with the hundreds of millions of people around the world! It's pretty easy to find and DM a brand rep of a new gear company or a sales person from a parts manufacturer to strike up a conversation with. This builds a relationship that could one day turn into a sponsorship. Using your social media page to tag or use trending hashtags can propel your outreach exponentially and put you in the face of some pretty influential people across multiple industries. With these platforms also comes the ability to create your own live videos, tell pictured stories, and stay connected with anyone at any time. These can truly be your marketing magic wands. For more information about how to properly use these platforms to maximize your outreach check out a few of the hundreds of thousands of videos on YouTube that are all about this topic.
Step 2) Results matter!
This one goes without saying. Results always get the job done. It only makes sense, right? After all, our attention is only on the top 3 at any race we go to. This rings true for every Pro Supercross event all the way down to the local 85cc beginner classes. We as a collective society focus on the winners, and brands know this. People and reps who want riders and racers to represent their brand want those individuals who have the most attention on them. Typically, that includes those who are in the top tier of their classes. If you want to get the attention of brands and have something to put some weight and credibility behind your name then results are the key. This means doubling down on your training and development as a racer to ensure that you hang at the top of your class. We recommend signing up for as many race schools as you can to get hands on lessons. You can never practice the fundamentals too much and learning under the watchful eye of a professional is always a plus. Can't afford MX schools? Try to see if you can work with the local fast guy at your track. Often times these guys are more than happy to help a fellow rider out and all it usually costs is a beer at the end of the day. Once you get your results where they need to be make sure that you are compiling them into a very organized and informative racer resume. Many brands and companies use these to validate all prospective applicants.
Step 3) Make connections!
Along with being more social online, you want to make sure that you are social in person. Meeting new people and getting your name out there is more important than you would think. A motto to live by is "You are only one handshake or hello away from your next greatest opportunity". You never know where relationships or interactions can lead. It's always a great practice to be very outgoing and helpful to as many people as possible at the races. People really notice and begin to associate you as a kind/worthwhile person and this can go a long way, especially with sponsors. Think about it. If that one person you met at the track all of a sudden gets a gig working for a major MX brand and is looking for people to help out in your area, who do you think they are going to go for? The person who he or she doesn't know who randomly emailed them about getting sponsored or you, the one person who she/he became friends with after you striked up a conversation about how Ken Roczen's arm looked like corned beef hash after his crash at A2?.... Get the point? These stories happen everyday at almost every local track or race. Being social, kind, and open to making friendships goes a long way in this industry. It's not about who you know, it's all about who knows YOU.
As you can see, navigating and getting the most out of the MX and SX industry is all about the connections that you make. If you ask a majority of the mechanics on the line at a Pro race, they would all say that they got into their roles from the relationships and connections that they made. You can never know too many people and it always pays to have a lot of people in your corner. Being at the forefront of people's mind when they are giving out opportunities that directly align with what you want is the name of the game. Make sure you are taking every opportunity to make valuable connections at the track, at the local shops, online, at the races, in the Pro pits, and even connecting with the annoying race announcer guys at the local weekend races....
Step 4) Be part of the action -join clubs, groups, and race classes
One of the best ways to get noticed is joining a riding club or organization that has a big outreach or platform. Racing in big area competitions and with clubs that have a big social media following or video coverage can have a huge impact on you getting noticed. Some races and clubs can generate hundreds of thousands of followers and video coverage of this magnitude can reach even more. Getting your face or shots of you riding in these can propel you to that next step. There have been a lot of racers who leaped frogged in popularity thanks to being featured in a video from a big race or from being tagged on social media by one of the race organizations with a large following. This also helps out even more if you already have sponsors that you wish to highlight. Getting your sponsors seen on a national scale solidifies your value as a sponsored rider and motivates them to work with you on upcoming seasons or projects...it's a win for them and a win for you!
5) Get to know your local reps and sponsors
This ties directly into being social and putting yourself out there. Often times people don't think to talk to their local reps of MX companies that they like or buy products from. These are great relationships to have and are often times the easiest and most sure fire way to get noticed and supported. There are a lot of MX companies all over that have regional reps that travel to races, shops, and other events. Many times they are on the search for new vendors or shops to sell to and even new talent to represent the brand. Why not have that person be you?! Find out who your local reps are and build a relationship. A few of us have done this and it's led to lasting relationships with opportunities to become sponsored, test new products and bikes, and even ride with some of our favorite pro riders! Also, don't be afraid to hit up local businesses in your area like hardware stores, auto centers, or even restaurants. After all, who wouldn't want to be associated with a Motocross racer?! Trust us, it works!
6) Learn from others
One of the best ways to learn or master anything is to get a good teacher or to use someone as a great example. We all do this when we buy "How to videos" from our favorite riders. We can apply this directly to getting noticed and supported. Try to talk to or follow the example of some other riders who have the level of support and attention that you aspire to have. What are some of the tools they are using to put themselves out there? How are their results? How did they get their support? Don't be afraid to ask them and see what advice the have. It's always a great idea to check out their social media presence and how they interact with everyone.
7) Keep your set up clean!
This is another big one to make note of! Keeping your bike, gear, and overall set up clean and professional looking really makes you stand out. Think back to when you were at the track and a super clean and pro looking bike rolled up to the track. What was your first thought? $20 says it was, "Wow that person must be good!" We all think it. Really cleaning and getting your bike looking like a pro's bike will attract a lot of attention and shows sponsors that you take pride in your bike. Brands want to make sure that their stickers and logo are shown in the best way possible. This is the reason why so many pro mechanics spend so much time keeping the pro bikes looking clean and polished. Spend a little extra time scrubbing your ride and making sure that the scuff marks and all of the dirt is off the bike. Also, it's good to go over the bike with some polish or tire shine to really make it pop. Check out one of our previous articles on keeping your bike Pro level clean.
This also extends to your gear set up. Nothing looks worse than showing up with gear already mud splattered and helmets with broken visors for example. Make sure that your gear is cleaned after each ride and that nothing is missing or broken. Everything should be clean and as pro like as possible. This doesn't mean that you need the latest and greatest gear, but making sure it's devoid of tears, stains, and any other damage is the goal. Making sure that your set up is as #lit as possible without breaking the bank is very do-able for racers on a budget.
What do you think about these tips? How can you implement these to make the most out of your racing? Try to apply these tactics and tips and work on getting the attention and help that you need. Feel free to add in your own personal flare and tricks and feel free to share them with those round you. Be sure to check out our upcoming articles on more industry tips, interviews, and contests.
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