Being a wrestler is about more than mastering the mat. If you want to succeed financially in addition to physically, you need to build a brand as a wrestler so you can market yourself, drum up media excitement for your upcoming matches, and build a fan base that will follow your exploits for years to come.
Easier said than done! But if you want to be a professional wrestler, you already know that struggle is necessary for victory. Today, let’s break down how you can build your brand as a wrestler step-by-step.
Settle On a Unique Persona
The first step to building a successful brand as a wrestler lies in deciding on a unique “persona.” In essence, your persona is the character you’ll play in your media appearances and during your wrestling matches against future rivals.
For example, John Cena’s wrestling career was dominated by his “heroic” persona. Generally, wrestlers are separated into two types: baby-faced good guys and gritty “bad guys”. You can be either depending on your appearance, personal preference, and the direction you want your career to go in. Everyone knows it’s a story made up for the crowds!
Still, settling on a unique persona will help you by:
- Letting you draft marketing materials, like posters, that better reflect your character
- Drawing people who like your wrestling character’s theme or aesthetic to your brand
- Setting you up for matches against other wrestlers whose brands mesh against your own
Your persona is also partially what you wear, the color of your uniform, and other elements of your aesthetic. Bottom line: settle on a personal early so you can tailor the rest of your career and brand-building storytelling toward it.
Set Up Your Social Media
Next, set up your social media profiles if you haven’t done so already. Social media is a major part of marketing for a brand or company these days, and that’s also true if you want to build up a wrestling brand.
Specifically, you need to be active on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media platforms. In the early days of your career, you’ll be responsible for posting regularly, interacting with your fans, and taking care of marketing. But as you grow in fame and success, you’ll be able to hire someone to run your social media profiles for you.
Regardless, social media is important because it:
- Lets you interact with your fans
- Helps you announce upcoming matches or promotional events
- Spreads the word of your brand far and wide
- And more
You can’t be a successful wrestler these days without posting on social media, so get started early.
Play Up Your Personality
When you’re on TV or when you attend any wrestling match, you need to play to your personality. This relates back to the brand identity or persona you developed earlier.
For example, if you settled on a “bad guy” personality, you need to showcase this by:
- Demonstrating aggressive actions in front of your fans
- Acting tough and gritty in front of your opponent
- Trash talking during media events on social media
- And more
Remember, wrestling is a show at its core. Fans know that it’s all a fabricated storyline for them to follow along and get invested in. But you have to help sell the storyline by playing up your persona as much as possible.
The more dramatic, the better.
Self-Promote Your Initial Events
As noted above, as your career starts, you’ll be in charge of promoting your events or wrestling matches. To that end, you can and should self-promote those events as much as possible by posting regularly on your social platforms, as well as by making a personal website.
Alternatively, you can make physical or digital posters using tools like PosterMyWall. Fight posters are useful not only for self-promotional purposes but also for announcing the date and time of an upcoming wrestling match: a major concern if most of your initial fans are from your local area or if you want to draw people from a nearby city.
Again, digital tools will help you whip up great-looking posters in a matter of minutes. They can use engaging graphics, great backgrounds, and other elements to draw the eye to your chosen wrestling match announcement.
Work with Other Wrestlers
No wrestler builds a brand alone. To really succeed and build a fan base, you’ll need to work with other wrestlers and develop storylines.
Let’s use John Cena as an example again. His career really took off and got more of the spotlight when he developed a rivalry with Randy Orton. Cena played the good guy against Orton’s villain. Combined, they won 30 world titles over the course of their careers, and they benefited from the extra media attention their storyline produced.
If you want to build your brand quickly and efficiently, reach out to other wrestlers or their media managers and start working on partnerships or rivalries.
Evolve Your Story
Lastly, don’t rest on your laurels once you build up a fan base. Your body will change and so will the tastes of your fans. To that end, you should evolve your story with the times. There’s a reason many professional wrestlers “announced their retirement” multiple times over their careers; it gives the fans a sense of climax or finality when they watch an upcoming match.
As you work with a media manager, you can develop your story and decide the direction you want it to go in. Of course, you’ll also be able to evolve your story with your chosen rivals or partners as you develop marketing partnerships with other wrestlers.
Ultimately, building a brand as a wrestler is a lot like writing a story. You’re the protagonist, and you need to make sure that your audience can follow your story and be invested in your “character,” just like a movie star. Use all the tools at your disposal and you’ll find that playing this role is rewarding in more ways than one!