If you’re an avid New York Giants fan like I am, you already endured an embarrassing 3-13 season. Now, to add insult to injury, the New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles will duke it out for Super Bowl LII. What team do you even cheer for? (My answer: No one. You’ll find me at the snack table). But as I lick my wounds and indulge in too much buffalo chicken dip, I’m comforted by one thought: Post-game interviews will undoubtedly provide lessons any media relations specialist can apply – starting immediately.
What Does Football Have to Do with Media Relations?
Look no further than The Dan Le Batard Show and its “Useless Sound” segment (check it out here). Without fail, coaches and players often give horrendous post-game interviews that are buried in jargon and diminish their credibility. Think about it – how many times have you heard obvious and empty phrases like:
- We just need to take it one game at a time.
- You have to try to win every week and let the chips fall where they may.
- Hats off to the other team; they did an excellent job on defense.
- These are 60-minute ball games.
Media relations specialists can learn a thing or two from these mistakes. Chances are, you or your teams are making similar missteps while drafting pitches and marketing content.
Writing Game-Winning Content
Attracting media or customer attention requires relevant and intriguing storytelling. Here are three quick tips to put you on a scoring route.
- Avoid jargon. Even the best stories can bury themselves with business and industry jargon. Most mainstream publications cater to a general audience, which means your message needs to be understood by novices and experts alike. Think about your story and how you would tell it to a child, a student, a grandparent, etc. to find a common, crystal-clear message that doesn’t trivialize your ideas. Remember: Concise and digestible doesn’t mean “dumbed down.”
- Don’t state the obvious. Whether you’re writing for the media or creating marketing content for customers, consider what information is necessary to your message. If you’re pitching a healthcare reporter, for example, chances are he’s aware of the latest advancements (or lack thereof) in healthcare policy. Skip the long backstory and get to your point. Brevity is universally appreciated, and it ensures your story and expertise isn’t overlooked.
- Throw the challenge flag. What is your company or client saying that’s truly different? If you read a pitch or marketing content and think, “Anyone could say this,” you need to go back to the playbook. Challenge yourself by conducting industry research to uncover new trends and topics to discuss. Conversely, don’t be afraid to challenge your clients and thought leaders to think differently about their expertise – it’s what you’re paid to do.
Media relations specialists can tap into inspiration in unlikely places. If you’re like me, football is an easy go-to. Take note of this Super Bowl’s post-game interviews: What takeaways will you learn from?