The SportsPR news team caught up with five industry professionals to find out: What is your best piece of advice for someone pursuing a career in sports PR?
brian berger, founder and ceo, sports pr summit
Don’t be afraid to work hard and don’t ever expect that something will be handed to you. I started as an intern making $500 per month with the Portland Trail Blazers. I got people coffee, did grunt work and attended any meeting they’d let me sit in on. People who are hiring want hard workers and proactive thinkers.
Writing is a vital skill. Whether it’s a press release, a social media post or an event recap, writing is a very important skill in our profession.
Think like a journalist. When I am not wearing my PR hat, I host Sports Business Radio (www.sportsbusinessradio.com). I receive 20 story pitches per day from PR people who are trying to book guests on my show. If I receive a pitch that is catered specifically for me and my show, I am more likely to respond versus a pitch that has little or nothing to do with the topics we discuss on Sports Business Radio. Offer an exclusive experience for each reporter you pitch.
Have a deep understanding of how to best tell a story and which tools work best to tell that story - video, audio, pictures, written word. And should the story be told via the media, on social media or another platform?
You will most likely be working with high profile people during the course of your career in sports. You will need to have candid conversations with your owner, GM, coach or athletes. Those will be difficult conversations, but it is the PR person’s job to be straightforward and present the possible scenarios that could play out. Telling them what they want to hear or backing down when they disagree will not serve their best interest. Stand your ground and be firm with your clients.
katrina younce, managing director, Pro sports communications
- Be a sponge and learn as much as you can, even if it's not technically your job. Volunteer to work on anything you're interested in or that might help build your skill set. Not only will it open your eyes to different opportunities in your career, but you'll never be sorry that you gained a new skill.
- There is no substitution for hard work. At PRO Sports Communications, one of the strengths of our team is a shared work ethic. It's part of our DNA and it's something we look for in every new hire. It's vitally important that we can lean on each other and trust each other, which enables us to maximize what we're able to accomplish together for our clients. (Most) everything else can be taught.
valerie krebs, media relations manager, fox sports
My very first sports PR boss once told me that if I wanted to take a job that didn’t pay much, but I wanted to do it anyway because I thought it sounded fun and I’d learn a lot, I’d better do it “now.” I think the advice still stands several years later in a different, more meaningful way – there’s no time like the present to take a risk. It only gets harder to make change or try something new as you get older and have more responsibilities, so if you can do something you think you’ll love and you can make it work, do it!
Kara Fisher, Assistant Director, Michigan State Athletic Communications
One piece of advice that I always loved was to always be there for other women. We need to work together, not against each other because we can achieve so much more together.
Try everything. Take your time to find the area that fits you the best. I always thought I would be on the other side of the media relations machine, but I found that behind the scenes is where I excel, not as a journalist. It is ok to take the time to find what is the best fit for you.
Aimee Dulebohn, Communications Manager, Phoenix International Raceway
- The best piece of advice that I’ve been given and would give to anyone looking to pursue a career in sports PR is the truth that it is NOT what you know, but WHO you know. When it comes to getting a job in the sports world, your connections and network are your most valuable asset. Remember this for anyone you come across - you never know where they may end up.