How to Use Local Media to Promote Your Players and Build Your Basketball Program
The hardest part of a coach’s job is to mold all of the unique abilities of his or her players and create a culture of excellence that results in success on the basketball court.
However, in today’s age of social media and reputation management, coaches shouldn’t overlook the idea of branding a program and promoting it to local media.
There are simple steps to be taken by a coach that creates a solid relationship with local media. This can be as simple as sending a schedule and roster to start the season, in hopes of regular game coverage. The aim of a newspaper or television station is to fill blank space, so your consideration of the media will go far to promote the program.
Other things a coach can do to create positive exposure for the program include:
Send statistics and game recaps after every game, win or lose: Getting blown out to a top competitor or losing a game on a last-second play is tough to swallow, but good or bad, make a habit of getting local media information they typically ask for to run in the next day’s edition.
The hardest part of managing the ever-shrinking sports desk is getting to every area game each night, so any help is always appreciated by the local sports editor.
Create a document before the season begins that you can use as a template to include the final score, scoring by quarters and offensive stats for both teams. Even make a section where you include some commentary on the game. Be mindful the quote will be printed, so be diplomatic in any insights you have on the night’s game.
- Be available for comment: We’ve all see the epic rants by coaches after a tough loss, so don’t be that coach that ends up on the highlight reel. Even worse than putting your foot in your mouth is avoiding the media altogether.
These sports writers are working under deadline, so keeping them waiting only serves to weaken your program’s image. If a sports writer comes to despise you for ducking out the back door, it does nothing but creates a negative image of you as a coach.
- Make players available to the media, too: The best thing a high school player can do is learn the importance of speaking with the media. It creates a leadership opportunity as the team’s spokesperson, which bodes well for the player when he or she is recruited by college coaches.
Find unique feature stories within the program: Do you have a player whose parent or sibling was a legend in the same sport years before? Maybe a player battling back from injury? A player on the verge of breaking a record?
Keep track of those interesting storylines and be proactive in reaching out to local media to pitch those ideas. College coaches read newspapers and watch local stations, too, and they will take notice if they read an interesting feature about your team.
- Encourage community involvement: As a team-building exercise, have your players organize and execute a clothing drive, food drive or holiday toy drive and invite the local media to the presentation.
Your players will feel the personal satisfaction of helping those in need, the media will get a nice, fluffy story, and most important, your program will be showcased in a positive light.
Other opportunities might include organizing a one-day basketball clinic or a weeklong summer basketball camp that introduces local youngsters to your program, your coaching style, and helps cultivate a strong presence for your program in the years to come.
Players should be coached before the season begins on the dos and don’ts of media interviews, so be sure all understand these basic concepts - selflessness, diplomacy and humility. Players should ask themselves, “Is this good for the team?” when answering a question. Speaking with the media gives players the chance to shine in the public spotlight, so give them that unique opportunity whenever possible.
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