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The Marketing of Paris Hilton - A Lesson For Sports Marketing by Zennie Abraham..cont'd.

...Or how an unknown athlete can become a local Paris Hilton.

Female Bodybuilder Amanda Dundar -- The Next Paris Hilton?

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What Women Bodybuilders Can Learn From Paris Hilton

The matter of videos causes me to turn my attention to one group of athletes that could most benefit from using my "Paris Hilton Rules for Marketing:" women bodybuilders and fitness models.

Female bodybuilders have the most to gain from this method as they represent a sport where their success is based on what people see when they look at them. Some bodybuilders gain money from this process -- all wish to earn money from it. Where female bodybuilders can gain is by creating advanced buzz for who they are. Now what do I mean? I'm stating that -- and this is a theory as it's not common practice by far -- a female bodybuilder can actually impact what the judge or judges in a bodybuilding contest think of their "look" by becoming so popular that by the time they reach a contest, the judges would believe that the most well-known of the contestants should be the winner.

My evidence that this approach can work is based on the recent decisions of food-and-supplements-seller GNC and the International Federation of BodyBuilding (IFBB) to reduce the support of female bodybuilders and limit the "amount" of muscle they can build. The charges have been that people don't like "overly muscular" women. But this claim is countered by the huge number of websites featuring female bodybuilders and fitness models. My cursory count is that there are about 400 websites and thousands of photos online. Indeed, a look at Yahoo! Groups reveals several groups about women bodybuilders that serve over 10,000 members, each. These are some of the largest groups in the Yahoo! system.

While some may argue that the Yahoo! example points to the "oversexualization" of the sport of female bodybuilding, one can offer the counter-example of Women's Tennis star Anna Kornikova, who's profile increased substantially when sports talent agency Octagon marketed her sex appeal, with everything from a website with her most "interesting" photos to calendars and clothes. And then there are the websites that feature any number of near-X rated photos of the tennis stat. With Anna's celebrity, It definitely wasn't the tennis. Just as with Paris Hilton's celebrity, which had nothing to do with any industrial skill she might have.

But there's the example.

Here's how the ambitious woman bodybuilder can increase her visibility. To start, we'll use the Kevin Johnson example above as a foundation and build from there.

This is the inventory of actions a woman bodybuilder can take:

1) Development of a website and/or blog (a blog is cheaper to start as one can go to -- to use one example -- www.blogger.com and start one for free. The result, instant website, but more on this later)

2) Exchanging links with other webmasters to increase the popularity of the webpages, and therefore the total site, with search engines.

3) Add Google AdSense, and affiliate marketing links permitting visitors to buy related items like clothes and books on the website, thus "monetizing" the website. In this way, it makes money for the woman bodybuilder while she's off at the gym. Why? Because when visitors come to a site, they will click on whatever's of interest to them that can be clicked. All the better to induce impulse shopping in the website by having links to products and services.

4) Have at least 250 business cards with their email and website address.

5) Offer photos to see on the site, but not for sale. Why? Because Google has a provision such that some images can be downloaded right from their site. To see this, go to www.google.com, type Jody May, then click on "images." (And read SBS's interview with Jody May with a click here) This is less true for Amanda Dunbar, as her site has frames. Google has a harder time reading frame-based websites. But then, such sites are also not well ranked in search engines.

6) Offer a members section with just a few photos. If a person pays to be a part of the section, the number of members can make up for the fact that the photos will be out in the Internet domain and available for free.

7) Offer a calendar for sale with more photos. You can do this for free at http://www.myfreecalendarmaker.com This is a better way than just spraying the site with photos, as they're protected from Internet exposure, thus because of the "scarcity" of the photos available online, the calendar is more in demand.

8) Join a website group or get on a message board.

9) Offer T-shirts for sale online. The woman bodybuilder can use CafePress at www.cafepress.com to make her own shirts for free, and for purchase by others. That's right, there's no up front cost to do this.

10) Send out press releases using PRWEB (Tell your company story to thousands!) and about any little thing the woman bodybuilder does. Starting a new members section of a website? Write a press release. Got a new trainer? Write a press release. Taking on personal training clients? Write a press release. This, again, can be done for free.

11) Send an email to, then call the local sports editor. The woman bodybuilder can pitch herself as a local sports interest story. Or, the person enjoys writing, they can pen four example columns of 600 words each, and send them in as an email attachment. Oh, and place them on the website, too.

12) For each week of working out toward a contest, the female bodybuilder should write a press release updating the World about their progress. No, having this on the website is not enough. A press release on PRWEB presents the information to the world, rather than just hoping that the World will find it.

13) The woman bodybuilder that's in a contest should have a special event for her fans. Again, setting aside a part of a local restaurant and inviting fans on the website to come to a "meet and greet" before the contest builds support that will lead to a fan base in the stands at the contest, influencing judges. "This costs money," you say? It doesn't have to. The woman bodybuilder can just ask their fans to buy one appetizer or one drink. The establishment wins by having a group of buyers of its food product.

14) Finally, the woman bodybuilder should get out and about. To A-list local parties. To charity benefit dinners. More public exposure in these settings builds celebrity. Bill Dobbins (www.billdobbins.com) is one of the best known professional photographer of women bodybuilders in America. He has a valuable observation I've added here:

... "A lot of the information on this page is very valuable. However, some thought sabout photos for sale and member sections:

1. Women bodybuilders can make a lot of money from selling photos - if they are the right women and have the right photos. Timea Majorova made $12,000 selling just one photo of mine over a three year period. They sold other photos as well, but this one sold best. Right woman, right photo.

2. No matter how many 72 dpi (dots per inch) jpegs on a site, fans still want signed 8X10 photo-quality pictures. Advertising photos for sale on a site, as low as the samples are low-res jpegs, doesn't hurt the sales. But too many women list too many photos and not the right ones (see 1) and just confuse fans. Even at (Women's Bodybuilding) Expos, I tell women not to put more than 5 photos on display at the same time.

3. To make a subscriber area work women need LOTS of photos, hopefully sexy ones, and to keep updating regularly. They also need personal material - regular diary entries, text on their travels, who they met, what they did, how they felt in contests - along with pictures. Every FBB should carry a small digital camera and get photos taken with every interesting person they talk to.

The actions above can be taken by any woman bodybuilder reading this. There are other efforts, but they do cost money. This "local Paris Hilton" method can work for any woman bodybuilder.

For the sports marketing professional, the overall lesson here is in how to create a celebrity of your client. In about 10 years, there will be an indutry called "The Celebrity Industry." You can get a head start in it with these ideas and approaches.

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