Sport in America is MASSIVE! Home to four of the five biggest sporting leagues in the world, there are hundreds and thousands of publications and journalists covering the world of sport every day.
But how do you tap into this market through Digital PR? This blog will run through important considerations when creating and launching a US sport related digital PR campaign. PLAY BALL!
MAJOR SPORTING EVENTS AND TIMING
It’s important to gain an understanding of the US sporting world in general and some of the most significant sporting events each year. Whether that’s the Super Bowl, March Madness, NFL Draft or just the opening weekends of the major leagues, you should be filling your calendar full of important dates.
I believe it’s important to shape your campaigns around these events and jump on stories which fit with the current news agenda. Good opportunities during 2021 would have been the change in legislation for ‘Name, Image and Likeness’ in the NCAA and legalisation of online sports betting in states such as Arizona.
Whilst sporting events and following the news agenda can’t always be utilised during the off-season, fear not, as this is not a bad thing – trust me. It’s important to note that the off-season is also an amazing opportunity to build links for clients. There are many journalists and publications which have limited discussion points during this time, which means your US sports campaigns will be high value to them.
US SPORTING MEDIA
Just a quick Google of sports in the US highlights the plethora of publications and journalists talking specifically about certain sports, teams and players… LeBron James even has his own USA Today page. From some of the biggest newspapers in the world to team specific fan sites and radio stations, you have the potential to reach out to many people.
However, what I’ve noticed is that many journalists only cover one sport, or quite often, one team. Therefore, its important to get the right story in front of the right people.
With this is mind, when creating a digital PR campaign for US sports, one of the best approaches is to run a campaign which compares and ranks players and teams with one another (from my experience). For example:
- “The Miami Heat ranked the most likely to start a fight in the NBA”
- “The LA Lakers have the worst fan experience in the NBA”
Sports journalists love talking about all the ups and downs surrounding their specific team, so keep this in mind when brainstorming new ideas.
HIT THE TARGET
Targeting your digital PR campaign is essential, especially in the world of US sports. For example, why would a New England Patriots reporter care about a story revealing that the Miami Dolphins are the best at something? They wouldn’t!
When outreaching, its essential to break down the campaign so it resonates which the journalist or publication. Taking the NFL as an example, there are 32 different teams meaning you can break the story down into at least 32 unique angles. With there being multiple teams in close proximity with one another, you could also break it down by state.
As with all digital PR, building strong relationships is important. A lot of sports journalists spend all year talking about the same sport or team, so they are happy to receive any extra information about their favoured one. Think about it, if you successfully build a relationship with one journalist regarding each team the coverage possibilities are substantial. Make sure to ask journalists what they are interested in seeing, and work from there.
PLAY IN THE RIGHT ZONE
Last but certainly not least is knowing your time zones – and I can’t stress how important this is. Regardless of sport, when outreaching in the US it’s essential to know where the publications and journalists you are reaching out to are located. This is because there are six different time zones in the US and it’s important to pitch your story before the day’s media agenda has been set, which is usually before 9am. This means you will need to schedule your emails accordingly.
When scheduling a pitch, make sure you check where the journalist is located – for example, even though the person might be talking about the Dallas Cowboys, they could be over in California… just make sure to keep your eyes peeled.
I hope this provides some valuable insight into the world of US sports and how to run a successful digital PR campaign across the pond. Find out more about our US Digital PR services here.