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Episode 118: 10 Creative Ways To Engage Your Athlete Team (minisode)

We're back with another minisode! This week, Iris discusses her top 10 ideas for leveraging your brand's athlete or ambassador team. If you are looking to utilize your athletes or hoping to kick off your company's ambassador crew, this is a great, quick listen for you!

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Episode Transcript

Hello outdoor industry friends, welcome to another episode of Outside by Design! I’m Iris, I’m on the creative team here at WHEELIE and I also produce and co-host this podcast.

This week I’m here with another minisode… this one is all about creative ways your brand can engage your athlete or ambassador team beyond a sticker to put on their helmet. If you’re curious about starting an athlete team or you just want to hear some new ideas to leverage your current roster, you’re in the right place! So let’s get started.

[intro music]

I’m just going to hop right into it - the first way to engage your athlete team is to have them produce reels of their sport. I talked about reels in a previous minisode, and one of the best ways for outdoor brands to use reels is to utilize the content your athletes are already creating. GoPro footage of your athletes or ambassadors getting rowdy outside and showing off their sport is easily chopped into short stoke-filled reels and can help grow your audience on Instagram or on TikTok. This is a great option for brands in the extreme sports realm or those that have athlete team members with unique talents like slacklining, parkour, extreme juggling, etcetera.

Number two is giveaways. You should absolutely be doing social media giveaways with your athletes to introduce their audience to your brand. These are really easy to set up - have the athlete post the giveaway on their feed and require entrants to follow both the athlete and your brand in order to enter. Give away a product, some swag, you name it… these giveaways spread the word about your brand to potential customers and build your relationship with the athlete.

The third strategy is to ask for guest blog articles. If you use blog content as part of your digital marketing strategy, ask one of your athletes or ambassadors to write a blog post on a topic in which they’re an expert. So, if they are a professional skier they can talk about how they stay in shape during the summertime, or if they’re a marathon runner you can ask for them to write a blog about their favorite pre-race meals. This can add expert knowledge to your website with some added credibility because the blog is written by a real athlete versus just a brand spokesperson.

Four! Discount codes or referral codes for the athletes to share. There are tons of ways to set this up, including affiliate links, shareable promo codes with kickbacks, and even entering athletes into giveaways for products if customers use their link. If your athletes get a perk for sharing their codes with followers and friends, they’re more likely to share and encourage people to use it.

Number five on ways to engage your athlete team: social media takeovers! You can have one of your athletes take over your social platforms with posts or stories for a day and take your followers through a day in their life. This adds personality to your feed and your brand - just make sure you partner with a trustworthy athlete and clearly discuss brand standards and voice before handing over the reins to your social media platforms.

The sixth idea is testimonials. Have an athlete create a testimonial on their favorite product of yours. These testimonials are highly effective on your site, social media, advertising, and elsewhere. People love hearing how your products really perform out in the wild, and your athlete team is actually going to put what you make to the test.

Number seven: give them shoutouts when they have big wins! Sharing someone’s celebration (after a big achievement, winning a race, or an accomplished goal) can strengthen your bond with that person and show a human side to your brand. So for example, you might have a biker on your athlete team that wins their first downhill race. You can just share that they won a race on your stories, give them a shoutout, tell them congratulations. Showing love for your brand ambassadors can go a long way and it can attract influencers as well as customers who see that you’re a brand who cares about their team.

Now we’re on to tip number eight - send care packages! Alongside celebrating big wins, sending your athletes swag packs or “just because” boxes can get you a long way. Send new t-shirts or limited edition merch for them to sport on their adventures and a nice note that they can share while unboxing the package on social. You can time this with a big product launch, sending out your new products, or before a big competition to remind the athlete you’re on their team (and that they’re on your team, too).

Almost there - way to engage your athlete team number nine: leverage their expertise in product testing! When your team is creating new products or prototypes, who better to test them out than your athlete team? Send a few to your athlete team to put them to the test. You can trust them to give you honest feedback, as a better product helps them perform better - and they’ll be sure to put them through the wringer.

Lastly, my final tip: ask your athletes for their ideas! Each of your athletes is unique and has their own skills, upcoming projects, and goals for your partnership. Be sure to ask them if they have any creative ideas for working together - you might be surprised what they come up with!

So there are ten ways to engage your athlete team beyond some photo tags and just repping your brand on their snowboard. To recap:

1. Reels

2. Giveaways

3. Guest Blogs

4. Referral Codes

5. Social Takeovers

6. Testimonials

7. Shout Out Their Big Wins

8. Send Care Packages

9. Product Testing

10. Ask Them For Their Ideas

[Outro music]

Have any other ideas for creatively using your brand’s athlete team? Head to our Instagram @wheeliecreative and let us know!

Thank you so much for tuning in to Outside by Design. This show is produced by WHEELIE, a creative agency for people who thrive outside. You can find show information at, including transcripts of each episode. And you can learn more about us at

Be sure to subscribe to the show in your podcast app so you don’t miss new episodes, and share the show with a friend who you think might like it! We really appreciate every kind word, share, and review we get from our lovely, lovely listeners.

With that, thanks for being here.

See you next time!

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