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Getting on a Pro Staff

Posted by Alan Sladek on 8th Jul 2014

There have been numerous conversations, articles and blogs tossed around regarding pro staff positions. After reading Chris Payne’s article yesterday I thought I would chime in and give you my .02, for whatever it’s worth.Full disclosure here, I am a member of a few pro staffs and I believe in and use each product that I promote. As most of you know I am not a professional angler, but a professional promoter of outdoor equipment, all related to the kayak fishing industry. Promotion is the key to obtaining the pro staff position. Here are few things that I have done and continue to do in order to grow my product base.Here are the top three:

  1. Relationships are the key to your success in obtaining a pro staff position. I was very fortunate to have a great friend, Rob Milam, who took me under his wing and introduced me to people who could help me achieve what I wanted to achieve. Networking is the key to building your pro staff resume.
  2. Define your skill set. All companies are looking for an edge in the market. Most field representatives are challenged to grow their territory or market segment by 10-20 percent annually.Find those representatives and let them know what you do best.This could be writing and reviewing, shooting video that demonstrates the product and holding classes or seminars. Should you find yourself being more of a technical person offer to help set up for demo days or install rigging. By identifying the field representatives and making their job easier it will give you higher visibility when they are looking to add to their pro staff.
  3. Build your social influence. The opportunity to promote and talk about products is huge on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pintrest and many other social sites. The folks that are making decisions about pro staffs are going to look and see what kind of audience you have and if you could be relevant to their products. Once you establish your audience you can take larger steps into videos, websites and possibly webcasts. Companies want face time with your contacts and by being relevant and active in social groups you have influence that will give them additional visibility.

Always remember that when you are making attempts and applications for pro staff positions things will be expected of you. Chris did a great job talking about the discounts, compensation and perks of the pro staff. Something important to remember is to not over commit and try to do too much. I find myself in this position and sometimes stretch myself to thin. You also have to realize that over posting promotional messages will turn your social influences off; you become the over poster! I have fallen prey to all of the above and strive to find the correct balance that benefits the companies I represent.

The hardest thing about the pro staff world is keeping it fun. With all the responsibilities of the blogs, videos, sponsor mentions and so on it can take the joy out of what your passion is. My advice is to have fun, enjoy the ride and take every opportunity to meet new people and further the sport of kayak fishing. Lastly, when someone asks you about how you became a pro staff member go ahead and share it. There is nothing like paying it forward!

Good Luck & Keep Living The Dream!