The recent changes with the NCAA ruling allow student athletes to receive compensation for sponsored partnerships. While some schools and states have quickly put guardrails in place, many others are an open marketplace for endorsements. Whether you’re a marketer, parent of a student athlete, director of a collegiate athletic program, student athlete mentor, or even a student athlete yourself—you’ve likely already seen the influx of opportunities and have many questions about a variety of topics relating to content creation and compensation.
This is brand-new territory for all of us, so we did the research, talked to athletes and persons of authority in the space, and put together a series of podcasts to help navigate the unknown. Our first episode in the series talks about student athlete influencer basics and provides tips to help move through conversations comfortably.
Social Marketing Introduction
Social marketing content varies amongst platforms, style, and media type. It’s important to have a basic understanding of what brands are asking for. Examples of social media content include images, text, and video to be used for short posts on Twitter, longer text on Facebook, Instagram static images or carousels, short videos for TikTok, longer videos for YouTube, and many other ways to amplify your voice.
For student athletes, endorsements extend well beyond products and services. Event attendance and promotions are other ways to secure compensation for promotion.
A brand contacted me, now what?
Our most important tip to student athletes is to take your time. You don’t have to rush into partnerships and should understand in depth what you are agreeing to. Social marketing timelines are generally about six weeks from the time you are contracted to the content publishing.
Most times, a brand reaches out to a content creator with specific deliverables outlined. Next, fees are negotiated and both parties agree to move forward with a contract confirming details. Post instructions are reviewed, and then content drafts are submitted for approval before content is published. After the post is live and the brand has confirmed all requirements are met, payment is issued.
Every campaign and compensation opportunity will look different. Remember, you are talking to people, real people, and you should ask questions. It’s okay to turn down sponsorship opportunities. Actually, it’s more than okay; it’s encouraged. You’ll likely be saying “no” more often than “yes.” Some opportunities will feel like a great fit in your content feeds, and others will not.
If you receive a product from a brand without a conversation beforehand, you have absolutely no obligation to post. However, if you choose to post about what you’ve received, the FTC requires clear disclosures.
FTC Required Disclosure
When publishing content, you must reveal your relationships with brands within your posts. Discreet disclosures are not permitted; you must clearly identify you were gifted product and/or services or are working under a partnership with the brand. Violating the rules can lead to penalties, fines, and legal fees.
All affiliate partnerships must also be disclosed. If you are paid only when a follower or fan makes a purchase, you must make it clear that you sharing an affiliate link.
Not every partnership comes with a long legal contract, but what all partnerships do have is an agreement from both parties: the content creator and the brand. When a conversation covers specific deliverables, timing, and payment, it should be followed up in writing for clear confirmation you both have agreed to the project. When you have a casual conversation and deliverables are left unclear, follow up by email or a call to get clarification, then send the details by email.
Content creators have a responsibility to fully comprehend contracts. Read the entire duration of the contract, and if you are confused by any detail, ask for clarification or consult with a trusted mentor.
We recognize this is the Wild West of influencer marketing, as many student athletes are just starting to venture into sponsored content creation. Check out the first podcast of our student athlete series for tips to help you get comfortable in this space. Stay tuned for many more topics covered, including rate sheet guidance, brand responsibility, student athletes as marketers, tax liability, and more.
Reach out to us to learn more about how DMG can help you craft a marketing campaign with student athletes.