For many independent artists, one of the biggest challenges is doing things by yourself.

Everything comes out of your pocket, whether it’s creating the music, promoting and marketing it your fanbase or going on tour. Everything is funded by you.

While you answer to nobody, it means you usually have nobody – or very few people, at least – fighting your corner. This is why you need to be ready to look to ‘recruit’ people to help build your brand with you and make you a more popular name in general.

By working with a sponsor, you can:

  • Make sure you have plenty of income coming in to help supplement touring
  • Boost your reputation and ensure you come across as more attractive in future
  • Help to inspire a new breed of fans who might not have heard of you otherwise
  • Get yourself on larger gigs and more lucrative investments

Getting sponsorship, though, isn’t as simple as just clicking your fingers. It takes a lot of work, and an awesome proposal. To help you understand and appreciate how to best get around such an issue, we recommend that you take the time to look at and further investigate some of the key issues that exist.

By following this guide, you should hopefully be closer to establishing a sponsorship proposal.

1. Do your research

This might sound obvious but you would be shocked by how many artists skip this vital step. Look at what they deal with – how good a mixture would they be for your sound? Do they fit with your demographics, your background, your lyrics and your philosophy? This all sounds rather abstract, but it’s so important. Getting a sponsor who fits in with your part of the world really matters.

2. Appreciate what you bring to the table

A sponsor needs to see something from you that makes them think you are worth the money. Show them what kind of skills you have and why your skills would be worth their investment. Most importantly, don’t forget to show the sponsor why they would benefit from partnering with you. Without that, you are essentially just putting out a begging bowl. Give them an idea of what positive outcomes you’d bring.

3. Make sure you propose it to the right person

Going to the wrong person in an industry could end your chances of success – going to the right person would be pretty incredible for you. avoid cold calling, sending some impersonal or blanket e-mail, or even trying to get a sponsorship program through a website.

While this can work, it’s all about being personal. We recommend trying to network your way to the right person: wait until you can make a proposal to someone who likes, trusts and respects the sound you produce.

4. Form strong relationships

Avoid any kind of hard selling or obvious promotion – show them that you are worth pursuing, first and foremost. Listen to what they are saying, be as professional as you can in interaction, and also show that you are here to work with them and build something tangible. If you can, provide some referrals.

5. Get to know the sponsor and their own objectives

Why would you help them move closer to success? Ask yourself that. They probably want to try and break into new demographics or boost sales potential in an already-established location. You need to help them see that, through your music, they could do that. Make sure, then, that everyone you try and sponsor up with fits with your music, your sound and the kind of locations you’ll play at.

6. Ensure there is a clear proposal in the sponsorship request

From offering to help them improve social media following to making claims about helping them boost online traffic or subscriptions, you can find it easy to make a more tangible request this way. They want to know what you can do for them, so make some offers and take a risk – show them their money is an investment, not charity.

7. Promise then some kind of positive improvement

Whether that’s seeing themselves spoken about more on social media to improving loss rates from people who bounce from their websites, you can make a less set in stone aim and ambition to try and achieve. Whatever you do, try and show them that you have some kind of positive gain to them both today and tomorrow, fueling their brands potential for growth.

8. Determine if your offer is realistic

Ask for some kind of budget or plan out a sponsorship fee that is genuinely a good deal for both parties. Asking a local bar to sponsor you for five figures is probably folly, for example. Try and find out what kind of return they expect – is it realistic? Some sponsors might offer a “big” budget but will expect a huge response in return. Is that going to be possible for you?

9. Take a deeper look at the options you have open to you.

Using the criteria above, you should have a good idea about what you can or cannot bring to the table to a sponsor. In the context of all the information about budgets and overall management plans, are you really the kind of person that they are looking for?

10. Develop the proposal with a professional

If you need the help of a professional in terms of presentation and wording, by all means. Don’t, though, just look to work with someone who you can outsource all the heavy lifting, research and planning for. You need your sponsorship proposal to be authentic and engaging, so make sure that all the information you are spouting is information you actually researched yourself.

While the above can make getting sponsorship sound like a nightmare, it really isn’t. With the correct panning and an attitude that favors research, there is no reason why you cannot succeed when it comes to gaining a sponsorship platform. The more research you do now, though, the better chance you have of actually being accepted.

Written by Stop The Breaks
Stop The Breaks is an independent music marketing company focused on showcasing independent hip-hop artists. Our goal is to help motivate, inspire and educate independent artists grinding around the world. We provide branding, content marketing, social media, SEO and music promotion services.