Ready. Set. Collaborate – Five Ways PR is a Team Sport

Word PR.Working in public relations is as exhilarating as it is demanding. I can say with assurance that no two days are alike and that a career in this field promises to keep you on your toes at every turn. Most would agree that PR is for those who prefer to create their own destinies, blaze their own trails. There’s plenty of opportunity for this in our field, and that’s why we love it, right?

Sure, but as much as PR allows us the creative freedom to come up with ideas that’ll knock the socks off of our key audiences, PR is very much a team sport. Here are the top five ways.

Teaming up with customer service
In nearly all organizations, there is a segment of the team dedicated to one audience and one audience only: the customer. Since, ultimately, it’s the job of the PR person to attract more of them, you better believe that the customer service team is a key player in the success of the PR team. No need to be a mind reader when your fellow team members are talking to the customers day in and day out; getting to know their needs, their wants, their pain points and so much more. So what do you do? Turn that information into fuel for awesome PR campaigns and strategies.

Collaborating with designers
Once you’re ready to implement a campaign idea, it’s likely that you’ll want some creative assets to go along with it. In the visual storytelling age in which we now find ourselves, having a talented graphic designer on your side is priceless. Whether it’s creating an image to add to your press release or turning facts and figures into a beautiful infographic that can be shared across the web, a graphic designer can add tremendous value to the success of a PR team.

Tapping the stats guy (or gal)
Speaking of stats, nowadays we have more and more companies with a dedicated team member (or an entire team) who simply does data all day long. This is great news for the PR team because we all know journalists love data. Everything from customer trends and company growth to website traffic and Google Analytics; the data guys and gals are on it. Another reason you want to stick by the data miners is to help show and tell the value of PR and how it’s impacting the bottom line. For more on this subject, check out the previous blog post Communicating the Value of PR: Stop Dodging, Start Measuring.

Working with in-house experts
As PR people, we’re usually fielding media requests and coordinating interviews for others. Whether you’re on an in-house PR team or on the agency side, collaboration with your internal experts and thought leaders is a must. Successful teamwork requires more than just setting up time with reporters. It means collaborating on story ideas and PR opportunities that match the person’s expertise and that align with the organization’s goals and key messages.

Cooperating with journalists
Finally, we sync up with journalists to bring value to our respective audiences. Media pitching an idea and working with a reporter to bring a story to life requires input that meets the needs of both sides. On the one hand, reporters have a story to tell. On the other, PR pros have key messages to deliver to their target audiences. The happy medium is a story that adds value and brings something new to the audience.

What are some of the other ways you see PR as being a team sport? Would love to read about them in the comments section!

Andrea Carter is a Public Relations Specialist at AWeber, a certified news junkie and an aspiring world traveler. Check out Andrea’s back story here then follow her on Twitter @SheLuvsPR and connect on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/in/carterandrea/.

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Member Spotlight: Ike Richman

The following is part of our Member Spotlight series. Twice a month, the PPRA blog will feature a profile on one of our members. Today’s post highlights PPRA Hall of Fame Honoree, Ike Richman.

So, how long have you been a member of PPRA?

I joined PPRA in 1992 at the advice of Larry Rubin.

How did you get into PR?

I fell into PR, literally. I was working at SportsRadio WIP covering the Philadelphia Flyers. One day at the Spectrum, Larry Rubin invited me to apply for a job in the PR department at the Spectrum. I accepted and learned everything from Larry’s mentoring.

Tell us a little bit about your current position.

I currently serve as VP of Public Relations for Comcast-Spectacor, overseeing public and media relations for the company’s Philadelphia facilities, as well as the company’s public assembly facility management firm Global Spectrum, its food and beverage concessionaire Ovations Food Services, its ticketing system New Era Tickets and the four community skating rinks Flyers Skate Zone.

What is your favorite aspect of your current job?

I love creating memories for our guests. I love the challenge of trying to get our events on the news. I love the relationships I have with the media.

What social media platform do you use the most in your personal life? What about for business purposes?

I’m really into posting all of my announcements on Facebook. I use it professionally and not personally. I’ve booked a lot of stories through Facebook.

If you could give one piece of advice to current PR students about getting into the industry, what would it be?

My advice for students coming into the PR field, keep an open mind. Be ready to be adaptable. The field is changing every day. Be good at a lot of different skills. Know how to write and how to communicate. Get away from your cell phone and don’t hide behind a computer. Make face to face contact.

What is your favorite thing about Philly?

Philly is one big network. If you know how to use your contacts to network, you can get anywhere and get anything you need. Everyone wants to help if you know how to play the game.

Event Recap: Making It In The Big Leagues

For many aspiring (and current) PR pros, the world of sports communications seems like the promised land. What could be better than finding a job where you get to work with your favorite athletes and sports teams? On January 9, PPRA hosted a panel discussion where communications representatives from Philadelphia’s biggest sports teams shared insider stories and advice about what it is like to do PR in the world of professional sports.

Bonnie Clark of the Philadelphia Phillies, Zack Hill of the Philadelphia Flyers, and Michael Preston of the Philadelphia 76ers answered questions from the audience and moderator Ike Richman of Comcast-Spectacor and the PPRA Hall of Fame. A few of the key takeaways included:

  1. There’s no such thing as a typical day in sports communications. This applies to almost anyone who works in PR, but for those in the sports world, the tasks thrown their way really run the gamut. They can be faced with staffing changes, charity activities, winning (or losing) streaks, player controversies, and more at any given time.
  2. It’s not all about the athletics. Obviously statistics and the team’s win/loss record are an important part of doing PR for a sports team, but they aren’t everything. Every professional sports team is also a business, so there are always other components for the PR pros to worry about.
  3. The line between fan and PR pro is a thin one. When working for a sports team, it can be hard to keep your “fan side” and your “professional side” separate, but it is a necessity. If you can’t respect the line between these two, a career in sports communications may not be for you.

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For more insight from the sports communications panel, take a look at this Storify which captures tweets from event attendees.

Last Day to Register – “Making It In The Big Leagues: The World of Sports Communications”

Many know Philadelphia, not just as the birthplace of America, but also as a major sports town. With the spotlight of the media constantly shining on Philadelphia and our sports teams, maintaining the positive reputations of these teams can present a number of unique challenges.

This Thursday, PPRA presents a breakfast program featuring a panel of top communications representatives from the world of Philadelphia sports. Sign-up now while you still have the chance – registration closes TODAY!

Panelists Include:

Bonnie Clark, Vice President, Communications, Philadelphia Phillies
Zack Hill, Senior Director of Communications, Philadelphia Flyers
Michael Preston, Director of Public Relations, Philadelphia 76ers
Moderated by Ike Richman, Vice President of Public Relations, Comcast-Spectacor and PPRA Hall of Fame Recipient 2005