Baseball, America’s favorite past time and the highlight of the summer. Baseball is and probably always will be one of my favorite sports. It’s a sport I’ve grown up playing and watching, and thankfully the only sport I’ve ever played where I’ve never gotten hit in the face with the ball (knock on wood). Spending an afternoon at the ball park or in the backyard playing a game is one of the best ways to spend a day, in my honest opinion. As I was thinking the other day of why I enjoyed baseball so much, I began to notice a lot of similarities to the practice of public relations, which of course only strengthens how much I enjoy the game! The similarities I found are listed below, feel free to add on to any of them, or add your own!
Strategy. Baseball is very much a strategic game. Coaches and managers are always evaluating what’s working. Does this lineup give us the most benefit, when should we relieve this pitcher, should we trade Player A for Player B? Public relations is also a strategy that constantly needs to be evaluated to ensure that it’s working. If one aspect of your PR strategy isn’t bringing in the results you would like, you’re going to have to re-think it, much like the big guys in baseball.
It’s a waiting game. My friends can’t stand baseball because it’s “boring,” but I say that it’s unexpected. You never know when something big is going to happen, and yes, sometimes the game goes by a little slowly. In PR, we’re not going to be able to land every story, television spot, interview, etc, but you also never know when the tables are going to turn and the reporter you’ve been talking to for months has a spot for your client. It takes a little patience, but is in no way boring (IMO of course)
We’re not in control. Ken Harrelson said in an issue of Sports Illustrated that “Baseball is the only sport I know that when you’re on offense, the other team controls the ball.” The same goes for PR. We could spend all the time in the world prepping our CEO for an interview or press conference, but we can’t put questions in the media’s mouth or stop the CEO from saying something he/she might regret.
It’s not all about the fireworks. In a conversation with Mike Schaffer (@mikeschaffer) last week, he said to me “Not everything you do is going to be a home run, but hitting a few doubles along the way isn’t too shabby either.” Think about it. Did Sammy Sosa hit a home run in every at bat during his home run race with Mark McGuire? Almost, but no. The goal of baseball isn’t to hit home runs; it’s to advance the players around the bases so they can eventually score. Sure, a home run speeds that up a bit, but a couple well hit singles and a few doubles will also do that same thing. It’s ridiculous to think that every idea we come up with is going to be out of this world amazing. So while it’s great to set our hopes high, we have to know when to take the little victories too. If it gets you closer to home plate then you’re doing your job.