Dallas Cowboys PR Assistant, Joe Trahan has played an instrumental role in educating UNT’s chapter of Public Relations Student Society of America about sports public relations. Members from my chapter had the opportunity to visit the AT&T Stadium in Arlington and learn more about Trahan’s role in public relations for the Dallas Cowboys.
Here are a few of the key lessons he taught us about sports public relations:
1. Learn to respect the brand.
In sports PR it’s important to understand the importance of a brand. Make sure to get sponsors right when communicating about them and also strive to effectively communicate your own brand. Miscommunicating a brand can leave you on bad terms with sponsors, or in some cases, cause a crisis.
2. Don’t be afraid of rejection.
As Trahan said during the tour, when applying for positions with major sports teams it’s like asking out the most beautiful girl in school. It’s terrifying and it might be easy to assume the answer is no, but you’ll never know if you never try. Successful people in any field learn to get over the fear of rejection. Consider it a challenge and strive for excellence. It may surprise you.
3. Ethics, ethics, ethics.
There are always ethical situations to be aware of, but in sports PR, it’s important to be ethical in decision-making, especially when there’s a crisis. There are often crises that deal with members of sports teams and it’s important to be able to make ethical decisions quickly. In all situations remember to be honest, fair and strive for accuracy.
4. Learn how to say no.
Sporting events are an atmosphere where PR professionals need to be attentive to what is happening around them. Often crazed fans try to overstep their bounds by trying to interact with players or go places that are off-limits. It’s important to be firm and to be able to say no.
5. LOVE what you do.
Sports PR professionals are not paid much, but there are many benefits, such as meeting celebrities, working at sporting events and opportunities to travel. Unless you’re very passionate about sports and public relations the long hours will be difficult to manage and you won’t be happy. Be passionate about what you do and you’ll never work a day in your life.
If you’re interested in sports public relations the best thing to do is try. Network through LinkedIn and your local PRSSA chapter and offer to volunteer at sporting events. Remember that it’s okay to start off small and to be bold! You might surprise yourself.