It’s March! Here in St. Louis, where the Cardinals are coming off their greatest World Series win ever, everybody is excited about the new baseball season.
With baseball on my mind, I’ve made a list of 9 ways that PR is like baseball. I’m sure there may be more, but 9 seems like a good number—number of innings in a game, number of players on the field. Here’s the lineup:
- You have to master the fundamentals. Learn to write, learn to edit. Master the basic office software programs. Learn about SEO, social media and all of the traditional media.
- If you’re pitching, you need to be able to work the corners. Not everyone will respond to your general, right down the middle, pitch. Tailor your pitches to individual media members. Get on the phone and find out what elements your pitch needs to make it work for a particular outlet.
- If you’re hitting, you need to maintain a good average. If you’re not connecting with the stakeholders you are striving to reach, ask for help. A bit of advice from your coach or a co-worker can help you get more hits.
- You have to be able to play defense. Any organization can face a crisis. You must be prepared to know who to talk to and what to say. (And what NOT to say.)
- Teamwork is essential. Need help making calls during a media blitz? Ask a teammate (co-worker) or bring someone in from outside. Having difficulties with a word, a concept or a technical issue? Reach out for guidance; you may be surprised how readily available it is.
- Be aggressive, but not reckless. If you can make it from first to third on that single to right field, great. But don’t get thrown out. Have enthusiasm for what you’re supporting, but don’t lose touch with reality. Follow up those emails with calls, but don’t be obnoxious about it. Be forthright, but respectful of feelings.
- You have to get along with the front office. Sometimes the client or the boss wants you to do something you disagree with. Unless there’s an ethical question, you generally need to do things their way. After all, they are the ones writing the check.
- You may need to play extra innings. There will be days when the work needs to be tweaked or completely redone. There will be days when the info you need comes at 5:00 p.m. There will be days when things cannot be put off until tomorrow. There will be calls on Saturdays and Sundays that you will need to act on. Hey, it’s part of the gig.
- The object of the game is to score runs and win games. You’re not just doing all this for fun. Let’s hope it is fun, but ultimately there must be measurement. Did you achieve the desired outcome? In either case, analyze what you did right and what you did wrong and make the necessary adjustments.
Here’s hoping 2012 is one of your best seasons!