As soccer fans enthusiastically cheer on their favorite teams during the World Cup, I’m focused on another sporting event that is happening right now — Wimbledon (maybe because my country Czech Republic didn’t qualify this year). I played tennis for 13 years as a kid, and this experience gave me skills that I now apply to my work at our lifestyle PR agency. Following are the connections I’ve made between the two:
1) It’s all about that perfect serve: If you know anything about tennis, you know that the ideal serve will result in an ACE or winning a point. A great, high-ranking player is able to deliver a couple of these high-speed, well-aimed serves throughout a game, but it is a skill that is honed with a lot of practice and is not easy for everyone. A serve is also dependent on the ability of an opponent to react. This is very similar to pitching media with a story idea. As publicists, we will spend a lot of time perfecting pitches, sending them out and hoping we receive from editors, but sometimes it can take a while for these pitches to be successful because you need your ACE. Once you have that, you’ll likely have a winner every time. But keep in mind that it takes lots of practice and patience, and also depends on the person on the receiving end of the pitch.
2) It’s a marathon: Well, not technically, but if you are a well-known tennis player, good chances are that you have not gotten there overnight. Your raking is a result of your hard work and sweat, and you have taken a long time and a lot of practice to get there. The same applies to PR. Every article and every success serves as a stepping stone and only a small part of what will build a brand. Sometimes it just takes time, continued hard work and perseverance to create that “they’re everywhere” moment.
3) Your reputation will precede you: Every tennis player has a reputation — whether it’s for scoring ACEs in a game, being a left-handed player, or throwing fits and broken tennis rackets. Whatever it is, your reputation precedes you and you will be judged by it. Just like a tennis player has a “brand,” so do publicists and their clients. Ultimately, this reputation is what helps to “sell” the product when you pitch. If you are known for great pitches, an editor will be all the more receptive. If your client is known for making great products that are beloved and have a strong following, then this will help you as you pitch as well. It is very important to keep in mind that in every interaction with media, you are using your reputation and that of your client to get the win.
Enjoy the game and here’s to making sure every rally ends in a winning point for you.