Sports PR Diaries: A Pro Still Learning the Ropes

By Elpin Keshishzadeh @elpin_kz

Managing Editor, SportsPR.Com

As an individual with zero sports knowledge, at least upon entering the field, adapting to sports PR had its challenges. But it didn’t take long to realize the knowledge of individual sports isn’t as crucial (although helpful) as the ability to apply the PR skills you already know to a more fast-paced, ever changing and visible field.

After working one full year in the sports industry, these are takeaways from a PR pro who still Googles when the 2016 NFL season starts:

1)   The sports industry might be in the spotlight, but not all your clients are going to be well known

Unless your client roster consists exclusively of current NBA MVPs, chances are you will come across the same obstacles while pitching as you would with the opening of a new, unknown restaurant. The need for creativity never dies.

2)   When your clients are well known, not every journalist is going to be your friend all the time

PR pros understand strong relationships with journalists are crucial and building new relationships with the media should be on your daily to-do list. That’s why when one reporter writes a smear piece on your client, it’s hard not to black-list an entire publication. My advice: be an advocate for your clients, but try to remain positive and professional.

3)   You don’t fully realize the impact of social media until you see the ramifications of a slip up from your client

We’ve all heard time and time again about the importance of personal branding on social media. But when your tweets don’t get more than two likes, it doesn’t seem all that important. It isn’t until you see a careless tweet, snap or photo from your client, sending the digital world into a frenzy, that you start to get it: Think twice, post once.

4)   Whether or not your firm specializes in crisis communications, when working in a high-profile industry, basic knowledge of handling a crisis is key

You never know when an unexpected story will hit, or when a reporter might ask the wrong question at the wrong time. Keep a simple response strategy in your tool box at all times.

5)   If you’re having a bad day, TMZ will most likely make it worse