• Hope Salyer

Nine Things PR Practitioners Can Learn From Baseball

You stayed up to watch the World Series, and you saw the Houston Astros win the World Series after major tragedy struck the city following Hurricane Harvey. Now, midway through March, and with opening day just around the corner, you keep up on social media with your favorite teams (The Detroit Tigers) and players (J.D. Martinez… duh) ☺ What you might not have realized it that while doing so, you actually learned some vital PR tips as well. Here are nine things that public relations practitioners can learn from baseball

1. It Ain’t Over ‘Til It’s Over

Don’t report to your client on the successes or failures of your campaign until it has ended. Just as anything can happen in the bottom of the ninth inning of a Detroit Tigers verses Boston Red Sox game, anything can happen in the last few hours of your PR or Social Media campaign. You don’t want to report an early success or failure, only to have something shake that information up an hour after your report. Like Yogi Berra said, “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”

2. Practice Makes Perfect

Major League Baseball players take batting practice before every game because practice makes perfect, and PR practitioners need to do the same. PR professionals have to constantly work to strengthen their skills, but this is something that can easily be forgotten. Volunteer for a non-profit organization, participate in a Twitter Chat with other professionals (#PRStudChat is a great resource for professionals and students), or find a mentor to help you hone your skills. There are many opportunities for practitioners to practice their skills; they just need to remember to do it!

3. Quality Over Quantity

Baseball teams can’t buy World Series Rings, and PR practitioners can’t buy successful campaigns. Teams spend millions of dollars in salaries each year to have the best chances at a World Series Championship, yet only one team can win. PR campaigns are in the same boat. You can spend, as much money as you want on a campaign, but that doesn’t guarantee it will be a success. You can’t simply focus on the numbers of retweets, comments, and shares your campaign is getting. You also have to focus on the sentiment surrounding the campaign. Just because you are trending on Twitter, doesn’t mean it is for something positive.

4. Don’t Dwell on Strikeouts

You haven’t lost until your competition is celebrating with Champaign. Any PR campaign is going to have bumps in the road, so it is important to take a step back from the situation, analyze what went wrong and how to fix it, and then focus on how to prevent it from happening in the future.

5. Watch for the Curve Ball

Anything can happen in PR, so PR practitioners have to be able to think fast. When something unexpected happens during your campaign or to your client’s reputation, you have to be able to think fast and come up with a solution to minimize the damage.

6. Be Prepared to Perform in Clutch

PR practitioners always have to have a plan in place for a crisis situation. Crises can happen at any time, so when you get a call at 2 am that your client is being dragged into a damaging front-page news story, you need to have a pre-discussed plan that you and your team can implement on instinct, without having to start from scratch.

7. You Can’t Always Swing for the Fences

Just as Bryce Harper can’t hit a home-run every at-bat, your client’s happenings isn’t going to be front-page news every day. It is so easy to get caught up in seeing your client in the news, but if you continuously pitch stories to journalists that aren’t relevant, you will hurt your relationship with them and your ability to get a story covered when you actually need it.

8. Don’t Throw Your Arm Out

Baseball is a long game, and so are PR campaigns. You can’t use up all of your creativity and resources in the first six months of a yearlong campaign. Make sure that you spread out your resources to ensure that you have enough coverage for your entire campaign.

9. Be Prepared to Come off the Bench

In a crisis situation when everyone has been working around the clock and exhausted, you never know who will be able to step up to the plate and be the go-ahead run. It is important to train everyone on how to act during a crisis- even your interns.

Hope Salyer is a senior public relations major and journalism and communication double minor. Hope is serving as the Vice President of Special Events and Programs of EMU PRSSA. This is Hope’s fourth semester serving for the PRSSA E-board. A Michigan native, she hopes to start her career working for an non-profit in the greater Ann Arbor area. Her dream is to become the public relations coordinator for the Detroit Tigers. Contact Hope on Twitter @hsalyer01 or by email hsalyer@emich.edu.

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