Seven Ways P.R. Is Like Football

  1. Training and Conditioning are Vital. Why do football teams repeat the same play over and over again at practice? Why do players run laps and wind sprints? They do it to be ready at game time. Similarly, PR pros must constantly hone their writing and editing skills through blogging and social media work. And they need to participate in workshops and webinars to learn new tools and techniques (and to polish up old ones).
  2. A Versatile Offense is Essential. The most successful teams mix the pass and the run. A successful PR pro is one whose personal communication skills are as strong as his or her formal communication skills. Writing a good release is one thing, making a good phone call to an editor or reporter to encourage coverage is another.
  3. Good Defense Often Wins the Game. Limiting the progress made by opponents is a concern of defensive coordinators and crisis communicators. Sometimes a crisis or an offensive lineman must be confronted head on. At other times, you may want to slip around the lineman or the crisis to halt the forward motion of a running back or a delicate situation.
  4. Scouting Reveals Important Information. Just as watching game film shows players and coaches things they may have missed, so does researching your client’s history and that of competitors. Flaws in branding, positioning and communicating can be tempered, but only when they are identified. Scouting uncovers strengths and weaknesses. Likewise, learning about a client and a client’s business area gives a PR pro ideas about how to proceed.
  5. Special Teams Can Make A Difference. Those players who serve on kickoff and punt squads have opportunities to make game-changing plays. In PR, going the extra step can lead to positive results. Handing an under-informed interviewer a fact sheet can salvage what might’ve been a disaster. Finding a sidebar angle to support the main gist of a story can lead to more ink or more airtime.
  6. Injuries and Pain Are Part of the Game. PR pros don’t suffer hip-pointers or dislocated clavicles, but injured feelings can occur. When a reporter you had lunch with last week replies “not interested” to your pitch, you cannot sulk. When you offer a perfect story to a TV assignment editor and she says, “that’s not our kind of story,” say “thanks, anyway,” and call the next name on your list.
  7. Victories Must Be Celebrated. Football teams play fewer games than other sports teams, so every win must be savored. When you score that front-page placement for your client or a nice feature on a TV news show, share your excitement with friends and colleagues. Post links on Facebook and Twitter. Acknowledge your success by treating yourself to something you enjoy, such as a bottle of wine or a venti frappuccino. Just win, baby!
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