Tips for Sports PR

Good communication skills and strong media relationships are essential for any PR professional to be successful, but with the PR business moving towards becoming niche, there are some keys things to keep in mind. The businesses sports and entertainment are action-packed and non-stop. In sports, the seasons never seem to end, often overlapping into the start of the next sport’s season. And, so it goes each year, with media appetites getting wider.

Whether it’s cricket, football, basketball, hockey, tennis, badminton, or events like the Olympics, World Cup, T20, IPL – there is a constant stream of sports news. And, of late, other sports are gaining visibility like – kabaddi, wrestling, billiards, golf and others. The PR teams for all of these teams, are always on the go – on good news days and on bad news days too. What the PR firms will be busy with are the day-to-day job of making coaches and players available to the press or even talking around a bad game!

So, here are six tips to keep in mind to help you fine-tune your media pitches, break through with key media contacts to develop your media relations:

Know your audience

In PR, we are aware that where press operations is concerned, your audience is not the public, it’s the media – the reporters, photographers, producers and other media professionals. It’s their job to communicate to the public and it’s imperative this audience has all the right tools to communicate to the outside world. Take care of the people, who are responsible for communicating your story to the public.

Make the storytelling interesting

Findg unique story angles and capture amazing moments – that’s what the media works hard to attain. It’s the job of the PR professionals or consultants to make everything else easy for them. So, even if they ask or make demands, make sure  that you provide all information, with a smile. For sure, they will appreciate it, and it will go a long way in the coverage that may work out.

Make it timely and relevant

Timing is everything, in the sports business. And, this is even more important to remember when it comes to PR and pitching to specific sports reporters. More often than not, unless something is breaking news, it is best to tie your media pitches onto something timely occurring that the media is covering – whether it a large sporting event (such as the Olympics, FIFA World Cup, IPL etc), the start of a new sporting season (like badminton, golf and tennis season or football season or cricket season or anything else that’s relevant), so that there is a direct tie-in to relevant  media reporter and their upcoming editorial calendar.

Keep competition in sight

To say it is a highly competitive space for coverage would be an understatement, when working in the sports business (check the media coverage that one sees around). When pitching to various media, remember that competition is also pitching and try to determine what your best pitch angle is, to make you stand out from the rest and break through the clutter.

In addition to the timeliness and relevance of what you are pitching, think of creative ways to enhance your pitches by determining the best subject line (and one that isn’t over the top or misleading), including images so your pitch helps you get straight to the point.

Manage expectations

The phrase under promising and over delivering is important to remember, for those who work in sports. This applies to the media you’re building relationships with and collaborating on coverage opportunities.

When it comes down to things like determining how much time a media reporter can have in an interview or how much time they need to schedule photo shoots, it’s important to be aware of tight timelines and deadlines. It is in everyone’s best interest to be honest and forthcoming, so that you manage media’s expectations, appropriately. This will help you build lasting media relationships (both short-term and long-term).

Keep track of what media is covering

Social media demands our constant attention today. We have seen how a small move can become both a blessing and a curse, with the integration of social media into our daily lives. However, social media also gives us an opportunity to follow key journalists, see what they are covering and determine better pitches – to add a personal touch to connect with them and develop relationships. While it is impossible to follow every media contact, but it gives you an insight into the ones you do follow, on what events they are planning to attend, what they are passionate about and so on, which can help you while getting in touch with them. You could engage in conversations that could help you connect with them, so that they receive your pitches and emails.

Getting to know reporters and photographers should be key at any sports event. The media constantly push limits to get their story. If you play your cards correctly, you can get maximum mileage.

Shree Lahiri on EmailShree Lahiri on LinkedinShree Lahiri on Twitter
Shree Lahiri
Shree is the Senior Editor at Reputation Today and hopes to move from one focus area to another in the editions that will be released this year. Having worked in Corporate Communications teams, she has experience of advertising, public relations, investor and employee communications, after which she moved to the other side – journalism. She enjoys writing and believes the power of the pen is indeed mighty. Covering the entertainment beat and the media business, she has been involved in a wide range of activities that have thrown open storytelling opportunities.

She can be reached at: @shree_la on twitter

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