What do football and PR have in common? With the culmination of Super Bowl 50 last week, football season has officially come to a close until August. Many of us here at RH Strategic are fans and regularly discuss the latest games and player news.

While trying to overcome the disappointing loss of my Carolina Panthers, I realized many of the positions in football mirror the positions and skills needed to successfully run a PR team. Here are a few that come to mind.

Quarterback—Account Manager

The account manager is calling the shots in the huddle and leading the charge when it comes to executing plans. They have a pulse on the distinctions of each team member as well as the expectations of the client. They’re typically the face of the account when it comes to interactions with the client and leading client calls.

With a solid read on the PR landscape, the account manager knows the right time to keep driving down the field at a steady pace or pull out all the stops and throw a Hail Mary pass to the end zone.

Running Back—“Researcher”

Every account has a person undertaking the behind-the-scenes work of compiling media lists, editorial calendars, and researching award and speaking opportunities. This is long term work, and the fruit of their labors may not be seen right away.

Similarly, a running back takes time off the clock as they churn their way down the field, picking up a handful of yards on every down. Hours of research to create an impressive file of relevant events, awards and media opportunities may not pay off right away. But the client will certainly appreciate the end result when the PR researcher finally crosses the goal line and lands that long-sought speaking or editorial opportunity.

Wide Receiver—Media Relations Expert

Wide receivers are often some of the flashiest players on the team, from their incredible catches on the field to their sometimes absurd sound bites in post-game interviews. In a similar vein, the media guru on the PR team isn’t afraid of putting themselves out there and being outgoing and creative. They know the nuances of each reporter and the sweet spot to hit for each pitch in order to secure coverage.

Not every pitch is a success for the media relations expert—sometimes they can run routes to nowhere. But other times, they secure amazing coverage against incredible odds that leaves people talking for days.

Offensive Tackle—Crisis PR Leader

While the entire offensive line is responsible for blocking, the left tackle is often viewed as the most skilled player as they’re charged with protecting a right-handed quarterback from being hit from behind, or his “blind side.” If the left tackle and offensive line as a whole perform well during a game, you rarely hear about them. It’s only when they play bad that people start to take notice. Likewise, if a PR team’s crisis leader expertly navigates a client crisis, the news will barely register in the press. The crisis expert manages the most potentially vulnerable areas of the account to ensure smooth sailing.

But just as a quarterback can be mobile and run the ball or a wide receiver can throw a block down field, PR team members can wear multiple hats. Everyone plays a crucial role in moving the ball forward!

Can you identify any additional PR “football” positions for a team’s success? Let us know in the comments below!


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RH Strategic is the PR firm for a hyper-connected world, delivering integrated traditional, digital & social media strategies for technology, healthcare, and public sector markets.