Here in The Student Footballer office (see: library study room) we’ve got a fair few summer internships under our belts and we think it’s time to put our skills to use. So using our knowledge of the marketing game, we thought we would put together a handy guide for any student footballer looking to promote themselves to the wider world. So whether you’re looking for that dream contract, trying to blag a spot on a Sunday league team, or just want to improve your social standing in your current club, here are a few handy tips!
The guide is split into several approaches, with each one modelled on past and current players to help you navigate it. Once you identify your preferred style, try and put it into practice and send us the results!
For our first article we begin with arguably the toughest, but most rewarding, approach: ‘The Zlatan’
David Beckham’s retirement left a vacuum in the game for active and marketable players. Undoubtedly, several players have adequately stepped into the breach: Cristiano Ronaldo has his underwear line, Lionel Messi his own training range, and Neymar a set of signature gold boots. However, none of these guys seem to have accrued the same presence as Zlatan Ibrahimovich. While his regular on-field antics keep him in the press, his lively yet amiable social media approach helps affirm the cult of ‘Zlatan’. He’s doing so well that last year Nike created the ‘Dare to Zlatan’ range just for him. It’s understandable: with 21.2m Facebook likes, 2.3m Twitter followers and 2.1m Instagram followers, Zlatan has an unrelentingly strong social media aura that companies and clubs are desperate to tap into themselves. So how has he done it, and how can you copy him?
What To Do:
• Become an enigmatic on field presence. We don’t mean Berbatov-esque laziness (although there’s an art in that): this requires wonder goals, step-overs galore and a liberal application of unconventional flicks and tricks. Get practising!
• If you don’t quite have the talent try growing a ridiculous barnet instead. The top-knot is a bit 2014 but with the post-World Cup rise in popularity of the number 10. why not copy some of its previous master’s haircuts: reincarnate Carlos Valdermma’s frizzy monstrosity, get the gel out for Marek Hamsik’s Mohawk, or shave it all off for the Ronaldo wedge!
• In a similar vein, why not adopt a ridiculous name? You don’t forget a name like Zlatan Ibrahimovich in a while, do you? This is certainly unconventional, and we don’t recommend going to the deed poll, but try the Brazilian approach and ditch your surname.
• Go all in on social media. Fire out mysterious tweets, dominate Instagram with photos of obscure activities and elaborately engage with friends followers on Facebook. If you’re getting desperate, create a fan-boy shrine to yourself on Tumblr or a Pinterest feed of self-modelled knitwear. Most students have excellent access to university radio stations: get out there and self-promote!
Why This Works:
It’s all about that search traffic! Turn yourself into an easily identifiable and unique brand to maximise your marketing potential. A ridiculous name creates a distinctive long-tail keyword for followers to search meaning you’re easier to find online. Likewise, trademark your hairstyle to get yourself trending. All of that social media hype means natural link-building, which you can utilise by…
The Next Step:
Create your own website (a la this gem from Loic Remy) and over time direct your social media there. Having your own micro-site gives you much more control over your brand. With enough traffic going to your micro-site you should be able to sell advertising space and encourage brands to write native advertising! If Zlatan can get away with flogging overpriced water, what’s stopping you from profiting from an enhanced profile?
Ok, so we understand that this is all a bit far-fetched and might not propel you to international stardom, but seriously, if you’re bored of sitting on the bench every week, or not getting any game time, it can’t hurt to give our guide a go!
We’re not all talk at The Student Footballer. We’re going to test all of this out ourselves, so follow our player profile here on Instagram and Twitter, and we’ll post our results as we go.