5 PR lessons from America’s pastime

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It’s Opening Week of the MLB season and you know what that means: Millions of fans once again partaking in the seventh inning stretch while buying peanuts and cracker jacks and rooting for the home team. There will be jerseys, countless TV commercials, and enough in-game promotions to make a marketing lover’s head spin.

Once you look beyond all the MLB marketing hype, however, there are quite a few lessons to be learned from baseball that you can easily implement to up your PR game. And I’m not just talking well-delivered pitches here.

Even if you’re not a fan of America’s pastime, here are a few easy-to-comprehend lessons from the ballpark to apply to your PR practices today.

Stay ahead of the competition

Pitchers give their teams a chance to win by throwing strikes, keeping runners off the bases, and eliminating any easy pitches to hit. When pitchers perform well, they keep their team in the position to win and ahead of the competition.

No matter how good their arm, pitchers cannot control the outcome of the game. The same goes for your PR efforts. While you cannot control the outcome, you can put your brand or business in position to stay ahead of the competition.

How?

By keep tabs on what your competitors are up to. If your PR strategy doesn’t include monitoring what the competition is up to, you’re not putting your brand or business in a position to win.

Step up to the plate prepared

One the most important rules when stepping into the batter’s box is to always know your count. If you aren’t certain how many balls and strikes you have as a batter, you’ll never know what move to make next.

This principle also applies to PR.

Before you draft an email pitch, call a reporter, or distribute a press release, you need to make sure you have your key messages—the three to five sentences that sum up what makes your business or brand different from your competitors—down pat.

By sticking to and then delivering on the most important and impactful messages about your business or brand, you’ll have a better chance at capturing the media’s attention.

Keep it loose

It’s not uncommon to see a player—frequently one of the team’s superstars—play a prank on another teammate while he’s being interviewed live on TV.

While it may seem like fun and games, it’s actually quite an important exercise. Why? Because the baseball season is a long one with Spring Training, 162 regular season games, and the possibility of postseason games.

To keep team morale high, and to prevent players from getting too down on themselves when things start to slump, someone needs to assume the role of the prankster.

No matter what industry or topic you are promoting, PR is not an activity that directly equates to saving lives. There is no need to be serious all the time.

If you are unable to take a step back and create a light-hearted video or add some good-natured humor to your promotional materials, you’re doing it wrong. Follow baseball’s lead and sprinkle in a little fun now and again.

Be aggressive

In baseball, you can’t count on a few great innings to help you win the game; you need to play hard for all nine of them to walk away with the big W.

The same approach applies to PR and reaching out to the media.

While one or two strong pieces of media coverage are great, you need to always be thinking ahead to what media opportunities you can secure next. Throughout your entire PR campaign, you should be working to secure a steady stream of media coverage.

Just as every media clip counts in PR, every run counts in baseball and often makes the difference between winning and losing. Being aggressive enough to steal a base or get around the bases faster than usual can be the edge a team needs.

Apply this same way of thinking to your media outreach and PR. If a reporter from the Wall Street Journal isn’t responding to your pitch, see if there is a local reporter who might appreciate your story.

By being aggressive and seeking out every opportunity available for your business or brand, you’ll definitely get coverage of your story.

Bunts happen

There’s nothing quite like the excitement that comes from watching a ball sail over the outfield wall. It’s obvious why the players who can hit a home run almost every time they step up to the plate are fan favorites. And, year after year, those leading the league in home runs are instant superstars.

That said, baseball players know they can’t approach every at bat with the sole purpose of swinging for the fences. Sometimes, what the team really needs is a bunt or a strikeout to allow a speedy runner to steal second.  It’s all part of the winning formula.

While there are many aspects of PR, there isn’t anything quite like seeing your business or brand on the cover of a national publication or being featured on air as part of a national TV broadcast. Sadly, every story isn’t worthy of front-page or national coverage.

If you are spending all of your time looking for your next national feature, you’re missing out on a lot of smaller opportunities along the way that could do even bigger things for your business.

Incorporate these PR tips into your game plan, and you’ll be knocking it out of the park!

What are you doing to up your PR game?

Want more helpful tips like the ones above plus more? Check out The Buzz: A Media Darling’s Guide to Press Coverage, get on the wait list for Hearsay’s PR mastermind group (launching soon), or email me directly to schedule a Mini PR or Mini PR Plus session today!