“I want to work in sports!” I’m pretty sure that we can all think of someone who has said that phrase before. Personally, I say it almost every day. But do we really know what goes into the sports business? Keri Potts, senior director of communications for ESPN, definitely does. While speaking at The University of Alabama’s Southeastern Regional Conference in January, Potts gave us an idea of what she does on a daily and almost constant basis.
Key Takeaways from Potts’ Presentation: 1) TV publicity is not “sports”. It is not glamorous. You have the opportunity to work with the broadcasters; however, you’re the one making sure the show goes on. You're behind the scenes and responsible for making sure everything runs smoothly during the show.
2) Be aware of the competition, and remember that journalists are your friends. You need to stay in the loop with all of the talk in the sports world. By having a strong relationship with journalists, you can have the upper hand in many situations.
3) Social media never stops, and with that comes long hours. In the 24-hour news cycle that we live in, social media never stops. As public relations practitioners, we have to be prepared for anything that may come our way. For example, you could receive a call on your day off while grocery shopping. You may have to drop everything at that very moment and run to the office. It’s the reality of the career path public relations students have chosen.
4) Keep yourself grounded. We cannot let our jobs fully consume us. If we do not do the things that we enjoy outside of work, we may start to lose ourselves. Keeping yourself grounded and taking pleasure in the little things will be extremely beneficial in the long run.
Other points: 1) When shopping for clothes, make sure that your clothes fit properly and are clean. There’s nothing worse than looking like a slob as you’re trying to impress someone who could someday be your boss.
2) Do not be afraid to reach out to people and ask them questions. They want to help you!
3) You are in control of your own career. Only you can take your career as far as you are willing to go. There are endless possibilities out there for us to navigate toward, so get out there and try everything you can get your hands on.
4) Most importantly, have confidence.
As Potts was giving her speech, her confidence and wit captured the attention of the whole room. In my opinion, confidence is the key to success. Ask yourself this: What can I be doing right now to help myself stand out, get in control of my own career path and make myself happy? If you aren’t confident in your ability to manage work and play at the same time, you will not be truly content with your career.
-by Mary Catherine Molay, PRSSA General Member
Mary Catherine Molay is the president of the Public Relations Council of Alabama’s student chapter at The University of Alabama. She is also a student assistant for the Athletic Communications Department at UA. Connect with her on LinkedIn or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.