I call myself the multi-tool of sport communications. What does that mean? Well – if you work in amateur sport, you’re generally working for an organization with big dreams, but limited resources. Meaning, if you’re lucky enough to be their communications (and often marketing) staff person, you’re going to be asked to essentially do it all, and most often with limited support.
You’ll have to conduct interviews with athletes and coaches and use those quotes to write press releases on the daily – and under tight timelines. Because we’re in Canada, you’ll then have to ensure that the release gets translated, and then, when you’ve got both French and English versions, you’ll have to send them out to your carefully curated, and ever-changing media list.
At the same time, you’ll have to create graphics and copy for oh so many social media channels – Facebook, Instagram, Twitter – and now adding TikTok, YouTube…Threads. And of course, each of those channels will want different sized graphics, allow differing amounts of text, have different ways of tagging your sport and corporate partners and the media. And then you’ll have to respond to comments, share content from your athletes (where appropriate), share interesting news stories…social media is a full-time job all by itself.
If you’re lucky enough to attend competitions in-person, you’ll be taking photos and videos of behind-the-scenes, and/or on the field of play to share to social. You’ll be managing any on-site media – print and broadcast. You might need to help the folks live-streaming your event to set-up and provide them with commentators. After the event, you’ll be helping the athletes and coaches navigate the mixed zone (if there is one), perhaps even producing your own interviews to post to social media. And the days will be long!
In-between competitions, the work doesn’t end – oh no! There are athlete bios to write and keep updated, athlete headshots to gather, a website to keep maintained – oh yes, this is your job too! You’ll be the organization’s webmaster on top of everything else. You’ll have to ensure its kept up-to-date with the latest news, program and event information, the latest policies and staff updates. Yet another job that could so easily be full-time!!
If you’re REALLY lucky, (and I write this with the utmost sarcasm), you might have to help the organization deal with a crisis. Safe sport is ever-present in sport today and NO sport organization is immune from it. If you’re smart, you’ll have a communications plan in-place so you’ll be prepared to respond to the media or your membership should an issue arise. You’ll likely have to coach your leadership team on how to do an interview (oh – and you’ll be a pro at this, because you’ll have been delivering media training to your athletes and coaches before events), you’ll be writing internal communications for a variety of your important stakeholders. You’ll be the person who needs to stay calm under pressure.
Sometimes, you might get the opportunity to work on branding. A lot of sport organizations have quite old and dated brands, and sometimes, some grant money or something will become available and you’ll be able to work with an external agency on a complete rebranding project. From creating and sending out RFPs, to research, to conceptions, to approvals, to roll-out – you’ll be helping and leading it all.
I did ALL of these things (and yes, even more) – as a one-person team, as the Director of Communications & Marketing at Gymnastics Canada. I’ve actually almost never had a team around me during my career so I really have learned to do it all over the years. So, when I say I’m the multi-tool of communications – I really do mean it!
I created Fortius Communications to put my multi-tool to work for amateur sport organizations.
I know sport organizations have limited resources, and that their communications and marketing staff are generally all overworked (and usually underpaid!) – if they even have them (!). Many of them try to get these jobs done by bringing in interns, or, because they think they don’t have the $$ - they hire pretty entry-level staff and expect them to do all of these things with zero guidance and leadership. It’s a recipe for frustration, and the output of poor content – which impacts their brand, their ability to service the media – resulting in low coverage and lack of growth, etc. It means that sponsors won’t be super interested in being aligned with their brand as the quality isn’t good. It’s a downward spiral and I’ve seen it happen over, and over again.
Maybe you think hiring a consultant to help your organization isn’t affordable. I can promise you that it is – a consultant like me who has years of experience, can produce content so much faster, and once you tell me how to do something once, you can let me just get the job done with little need for oversight on the quality – ultimately saving you time and money in the long run. And if I’m helping to support your internal staff person, they can finally have the space to work on other projects for the organization, rather than constantly feeling like they’re drowning with not enough hours in the day. I can also help more entry-level staff to learn the ropes so they can feel successful in their roles. I would love to have the opportunity to mentor the next generation.
So why not hire a multi-tool to help you with your communications and marketing efforts? It’s worth a chat at the very least isn’t it? Get in touch with me at email@example.com and let's discuss how I can help!