'Aint no party like an East vs. West Coast Party…
By: Robert Goeke, Account Coordinator, Fusion PR
Sports and sports journalism seems like a beast unto itself (or a job that requires covering beasts). What other journalism revolves around such a clear structure as wins and losses, preseason, regular season and post season? The craft of writing sports journalism appears wholly unique.
This view is flawed because, like all chronicling of stories, sports journalism revolves around these key points: conflict, drama, consequences and if you can be a starter or relegated to the end of the bench. Put in PR terms, keeping these four items in mind when crafting and pitching your story will either lead to Kobe Bryant-esque recognition or Eddie House-ian anonymity.
Conflict: The reason why this year’s finals are reaping more of the overbearing media coverage than usual is the history. Memories of Bird and Magic, Russell and Chamberlain, East coast and West coast have been played up in previewing the game. Annals of great struggle add spice to what was already an intense match up. In the same token, PR professionals must work to create a conflict that the product or development their pitching approaches and defeats. Pitting one side versus the other and portraying yourself as the winner will always be successful.
Drama: Competition breeds theatre. As the clock winds down, one rises and one falls in the Shakespearian drama of basketball. Michael Jordan’s final shot in the 1998 Finals or the famed “Havlicek steals the ball” calls were examples of winners doing what was needed at the time their teams needed it most. Rising to the occasion in a crisis or when you’re on deadline and making your pitches a part of a drama will interest those you’re trying to reach – that is, if you can convince people that they need to write about what you’re saying. Prove to them you make a big impact.
Consequences: A turnover, a missed shot, a deflection, saving the ball from going out of bounds; it’s the little things that separate champs from chumps. Even the little things like grabbing a rebound or passing at the right moment can mean all the difference. Making sure your story is relevant and has actual impact is essential success. Have proof points for the story you pitch, and prove that you’re not a minor player in the great outcome.
Starters vs. Benchwarmers: As a player, your skill determines your success and your success is determined by performance. The most fervent competitors win and those who don’t remain ignoble. Pitching conjecture or possibility doesn’t interest reporters. Case studies and solid facts pique interest and help to make your story important, much the same way that milestone stats create stories for athletes.
We can learn a lot from the world of sports and sports journalism, even how to hit the clutch fade-away. But what I take away the most is the dedication, drive and strategy that make champions out of everyday players.