It’s may sound obvious, but the title of any book is of course one of the biggest factors in hooking a potential reader in. That’s why when I saw a book being promoted on Instagram called Get Paid to Race my tail well and truly flicked up and my eyes widened. That honestly sounded too good to be true!
But such book exists! It’s author Jess Shanahan, a.k.a. Racing Mentor’s, 1-2-3 guide to help fulfil a racing drivers dream of moving up the motorsport ladder. And dream I do!
I’m not going to lie, I was pretty sceptical at first. Motor racing is a seriously expensive sport and unless a car is on the world stage, like Formula 1, sponsors and backers seemingly get very little out of displaying their logos on the side of racing cars. However, quantifying the value of motorsport sponsorship has massively changed over the decades and there is a new in for budding racing drivers to tap into. Step in Get Paid to Race…
Let me explain a little bit about the journey the book will take you on…
Back in early days of motorsport sponsorship, logos were displayed on the side of racing cars and simply being associated with such a dangerous yet glamorous sport was enough of a hook to convince backers to hand over their precious cash. Think: Gold Leaf cigarettes on the Lotus 49 in the 1960’s, or Marlboro Red’s all over Ferrari and McLaren Formula 1 cars over many years.
As times have changed and racing drivers/teams cut smaller and smaller sponsorship deals, the crowded and often confusing liveries of modern racing cars make a logo on the door less appealing to companies as the sole reason to get involved with the sport. So how do you go about attracting a business to back you if that is the case?
This is where Jess’s marketing background and creative genius comes to the fore. She offers numerous ideas on how to stand out from other racing drivers, how to appeal to potential backers and how to offer value in many other ways compared to merely sticking a logo on the door or bonnet!
When I started the book I was excited, but still a little sceptical. At 32 years old, I wondered if Get Paid to Race was actually aimed at teenagers who are at the bottom of the ladder, who have youth and unknown potential on their side, compared to someone like myself who is has 2 years of car racing under his belt – but is on the wrong side of 30!
In some ways it’s true. Youth and potential will be two massive tick in the boxes to convincing a business to part with their money and fund a dream, but the book offers drivers of any age a gateway to attracting money if you have certain things in place. And this is what kept my excitement levels high from page 1 all the way through to the back cover.
So what is secret recipe to attracting a sponsor?
Let’s start with your brand – your personal brand!
Social media is a massive opportunity for anyone to build a personal brand, and that is a hook you can dangle in front of any company out there if you do it right.
But what is a personal brand and how would you build one?
It’s quite simple actually, but will require plenty of time, as well as trial and error. My personal brand build of entermotorsport is already underway. I started it at the beginning of my car racing ‘career’ and it is building slowly. I offer as much value to my audience as possible through sharing content across my digital channels, such as this very website, my Instagram page and other social channels.
If you have a targeted audience that are actively listening to you or a regular basis, you already have a personal brand, and that brand is of value to someone out there – those businesses are your potential sponsor.
Get Paid to Race offers numerous ideas on how to diversify your racing content away from simple race reports and photos of the norm. It’s these ideas that will propel you up and above of other racing drivers who are also looking for backing.
Not only does it give you inspiration on the content you should be producing, but also how to communicate with businesses and how to present yourself to them.
For those racing drivers that do get their foot in the door and actually arrange some meetings, the book also guides you through how you’ll be able to offer value to your sponsor throughout your race season.
Jess also offers a wealth of online resources to help you take the next steps after finishing the book.
Some key messages I took away from the book
- Concentrate on producing content that is of high value to your audience – to keep them loyal to your personal brand.
- Create friendly relationships with potential sponsorships before you request a meeting or pitch for support.
- No one likes to be begged to for money. So why would a business consider sponsoring a driver who is only holding their hand out?
- Be enthusiastic and reinforce the value you’re offering and what they’ll be receiving if they sign as one of your sponsors.
Anymore would just be a spoiler!
Get Paid to Race was a superb read and I highly recommend it to any driver who wants to take their racing seriously and needs financial support to do so. My initial reservations about it being targeted at the young, up and coming pedigree of driver were unfounded. I have found tons of ideas on how I could better my approach to my social media content which may, with the right amount of effort, lead me one day gaining some backing to get me up the motorsport ladder. Get Paid to Race is the blueprint every driver should have to achieve this.