How A Fishing Instagram Became A Media Company On The Way To Making $1 Million

  • Jared Zissu started a fly fishing Instagram account in 2012 that now has over 293,000 followers.
  • He also relies on his fly fishing site and digital marketing agency to sell brand bundles.
  • Zissu is on track to earn over $1 million in 2022, based on documentation provided to Insider.

Jared Zissu first picked up a fly fishing rod in 2012 during his freshman year at Sewanee: University of the South. Zissu had recently joined the local fire department and several members introduced him to the sport.

“Fly fishing has become a tool to disconnect from the stress of school work and the stress of everyday life,” said Zissu, who went fly fishing several days a week while studying.

While Zissu initially posted photos to his personal Instagram account during his freshman year, he opened a dedicated Instagram account (@Flylords) in July.

That first year, 2012-2013, was largely spent posting content curated by other creators in the fishing space, but soon Zissu doubled down and posted more original content to the account. Flylords slowly started to take off with the fly fishing community and now has over 293,000 Instagram followers.

It wasn’t until 2017 that Flylords landed its first sponsor, a fishing line company called Scientific Anglers who paid around $500 a month.

“It was a chore,” said Zissu of the landing sponsors, describing fly fishing as a very “old-fashioned” industry that still relies heavily on trade publications for advertising.

“He would go to trade shows every year and explain to me with passion – why they should work with us and why digital is the future and why social media is the future,” he said. “Every year it was like, dead end, dead end, dead end.”

Zissu launched Flylords Mag the same year. Initially funded by capital from sponsorships for the Flylords Instagram account, Flylords Mag is a news site with original videos, photos and articles.

Zissu has also quietly built a small digital creative agency that allows it to create high-quality photo and video content for brands. Although the agency won’t officially launch until later this year, it has previously worked with whiskey brand Limavady, as well as a maker of fly fishing and gun cases called Negrini. .

One of the benefits of starting a digital marketing agency is that the business can leverage its resources to sell advertising packages to brands that include high-quality video and photo assets, as well as placement on social networks on Instagram of Flylords and advertisements on the website.

Here’s what an advertising package starting at $30,000 can bring to a brand:

  • High quality commercial video content
  • High quality photo content
  • 2 Instagram reels on Flylords Instagram account
  • 1 Instagram story on the Flylords Instagram account
  • 1 TikTok post on Flylords TikTok account
  • 2 sponsored articles on the Flylords website
  • 100,000 website ad impressions
  • Placement in the Flylords newsletter

Zissu’s cross-platform approach has proven compelling for brands that previously weren’t attracted to sponsoring content solely on Flylords’ Instagram account. The results speak for themselves: Zissu is currently on track to earn over $1 million in 2022, based on financial documentation provided by Zissu to Insider. By mid-October, the company had grossed around $900,000.

Entrepreneur would like to eventually expand beyond the fly fishing space by launching a Flylords-like property in another niche industry and catering to brands in the outdoor or alcohol industries with his digital marketing agency.

“We love to tell stories about people in places we love and inspire emotion through our content,” Zissu said. “I want to make sure we continue to develop our role as creators and storytellers.”

Cathy W. Howerton