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The Press Release is Dead: Long Live the Tweet

Front Office Sports

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Article presented to you by Maximus. Strategic Consulting.


By: Michael Ehrlich, @MichaelEhrlich

This is an exciting time for brand storytellers with the rise of social media as the go-to news-making platform, expanding and diversifying the communications industry as a whole.

The media landscape in general and the editorial news cycle in particular has evolved from a focus on long-lead and daily print opportunities to instantaneous news that breaks with a thumb click on a button.

To be successful today, public relations professionals must embrace this evolution and in turn, question traditional communication strategies and tactics, specifically the form and function of the press release.

The first press release was printed in the New York Times some 110 years ago but unfortunately the antiquated format is reflected in many versions still used today. In certain corporate brand instances a press release is indeed appropriate, but storytellers should focus on creating and utilizing unique PR assets to break through the crowded space of the 24/7/365 news cycle.

Media today simply do not have time to read through a long corporate press release to determine if a story is worth exploring and ultimately covering. The editorial cycle is rapid and reporters now compete against anyone and everyone with a cell phone and WIFI service to break news, 140 characters at a time. This storytelling competition grows stronger by the day; consequently PR professionals must adapt to guarantee their stories stand out and ultimately garner editorial coverage.

So what are some easy initial steps for PR pros today? First, don’t consider your PR and social media teams separate entities. They should work and act as one storytelling unit by building communication plans in unison. Leverage your brand social platforms as PR tools, plain and simple.

Instead of leading with a formal press release to announce your news, explore using social as your main storytelling vehicle, driving media eyes to your interactive content on those spaces. Mirroring your brand’s social voice and vernacular within your PR communication will only help your key messaging stick. Additionally, using your brand’s social accounts as story launchpad will ultimately lead to media and consumers alike viewing the brand overall as its own newsmaker. That would be a huge win in the crowded storytelling space.

Throw out the old press release format and look toward the future of communications by drafting snackable and sharable PR copy that efficiently highlights your brand’s message, while giving reporters the opportunity to quickly review, digest and post on their channels.

The fusion of traditional editorial and social media will continue to grow each day, so be proactive in exploring new ways to communicate your stories to media and consumers. The opportunities for unique PR strategy, asset creation and execution are endless once you look outside the traditional communication school of thought and align with your social counterparts. Be bold, take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, and evolve as a seasoned storyteller.

News, insight, and authority at the intersection of sports and business.

Public Relations

NFL and ACS Continue to Partner in the Fight Against Cancer

When it comes to cancer, the NFL and the American Cancer Society know that offense is the best defense. Now, the two are fighting for positive change.

John Collins

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NFL - ACS

Professional sports leagues leveraging their platforms to raise awareness and support various charitable causes is certainly nothing new or unfamiliar.

We’ve all seen leagues like Major League Baseball wearing pink to support breast cancer research on Mother’s Day, blue to raise awareness about prostate cancer on Father’s Day, and many more.

One league that continues to go above and beyond is the NFL, with its impactful Crucial Catch campaign. Done in partnership with the American Cancer Society, the NFL and ACS announced the initiative will be expanding this year, and among other things, will be awarding $3.2 million in new grants to community health centers around the nation to reduce disparities in access to adequate breast cancer prevention and treatment services.

Started in 2009, the Crucial Catch campaign focuses on early detection and risk reduction, as opposed to some other charitable efforts that may be more geared toward research and/or funding for proper treatment and aftercare. Those are certainly equally important, yet as the Crucial Catch website says, “when it comes to cancer, the NFL and American Cancer Society know that offense is the best defense.”  

“This year, marking our 10th of working with the NFL and it’s Crucial Catch initiative, we’ve raised over $18 million to fight cancer,” American Cancer Society Chief Development and Marketing Officer Sharon Byers said.

She is proud of additional achievements, like the 201 grants they’ve been able to award across all NFL markets; the 632,000 patients they’ve been able to reach with education and screening materials; and upwards of 138,000 cancer screenings they’ve had a hand in supporting.  

Another unique element of the partnership is that all the funds raised through Crucial Catch are directed toward the ACS Community Health Advocates implementing Nationwide Grant for Empowerment and Equity program (CHANGE). That’s particularly important because it’s through this program that the ACS works to fight cancer in communities that might otherwise get forgotten or overlooked.

CHANGE is fighting for every life in every community, and has made it a priority to address the critical importance of health disparities and lack of adequate care for some populations,” Byers mentioned. The program uses data to target communities that have lower screening and higher mortality rates, fulfilling the ACS and NFL mission of improving healthcare equality nationwide.

This year, the Crucial Catch campaign will be awarding two-year grants to 32 community health centers — one for each NFL market. The Defender app was also added to the plethora of resources they already provide, as it is “a new tool that provides personalized tips on how to reduce your risk of cancer” and is available to everybody.

Further showcasing the work done by the ACS through its partnership with the NFL, Byers noted the Sun Safety Initiative the two worked on this summer, in which free sunscreen was given out at training camps across the nation.

NFL Senior Vice President of Social Responsibility Anna Isaacson, for one, loved the effort, as it “expands out Crucial Catch campaign with ACS, allowing us to increase our impact in the cancer space and address issues like the link between sun exposure and skin cancer risk.”

The American Cancer Society and National Football League continue their great work together using campaigns such as these to enact meaningful change.

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Public Relations

How the 24 Foundation Effectively Lifted Its Image in the Community

Started by one Charlottean after seeing Lance Armstrong defeat cancer, the mission of the 24 Foundation is getting aid to those going through a diagnosis.

Aaron Blake

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24 foundation

*Centerfold is a proud partner of Front Office Sports.

Inspired by Lance Armstrong’s triumphant defeat of cancer, one Charlottean decided to take matters into his own hands by spawning the 24 Foundation. The organization now uses 24-hour, non-competitive cycling and walking events open to all levels of ability as a way to raise money for cancer navigation and survivorship.

It began when Spencer Lueders, Founder of 24 Foundation, yearned to make a difference in the cancer community. Lueders became the first person to bike the famed south Charlotte Booty Loop for 24 hours. Only three miles long through the affluent South Charlotte Myers Park neighborhood, Lueders knew his commitment would be beneficial.

In 2017, the organization underwent a rebrand through the likeness of Centerfold Agency, also located in Charlotte, N.C. The rebrand positioned 24 Foundation to be more visible among other cities across the country.

“As an organization, it was important that we ensure each city hosting an event felt ownership of it, rather than feeling like an extension of Charlotte,” said Ann Marie Smith, communications and marketing director, 24 Foundation.

Previously known as the 24 Hours of Booty, the organization’s name did not have much significance outside of Charlotte. Giving a less localized name ensured others in various communities understood its mission.

“24 Foundation has grown to include Indianapolis as well as past events in Baltimore and Atlanta,” said Smith. “Event participants fundraise, and the foundation disperses those donation dollars to our local beneficiaries in each community as well as the national beneficiary, LIVESTRONG.”

The rebrand allowed 24 Foundation to shift its focus and clarify its mission: To inspire and engage communities to make an immediate impact on the lives of those affected by cancer. Without this mission, the foundation’s cause of providing cancer navigation and survivorship to those affected would not exist.

“Commonly, 24 Hours of Booty was thought of as an event to raise money for a cure or cancer research,” said Smith. “However, the rebrand gave us an opportunity to clarify our focus on cancer navigation and survivorship rather than research.”

Now completed, the rebrand keeps the legacy of 24 Hours of Booty alive. Maintaining the foundation’s signature colors and refreshing the logo, allowed them to achieve a modern look while embarking nationally and staying true to their roots.

“One of our favorite things that Centerfold has done is to create both a centralized 24 Foundation brand look and feel,” said Smith. “As well as cleverly modifying brand elements to match each city that we’re in.”

Elements of the live events boast hand-drawn backgrounds highlighting key elements of the host city. For example, Charlotte’s social graphic background embodied the Queen’s Crown and Indianapolis’s 24 Indy, embodied checkered flags.

Smith says these designs are intentional and pose a personal connection to the host city. The local elements, along with biking and community, bring together a wholesome and impactful experience.

“Everything they have created for the new 24 Foundation look is cohesive while weaving in local elements of fun,” said Smith.

Smith sums up the rebranding and repositioning as a great opportunity to tell their story better. The story of 24 Foundation has remained the same since its inception, but with the help of the professionals and a national outreach, the work shines through.

“Our mission has always been to provide aid to those going through a cancer diagnosis and treatment as well as support to family members affected,” said Smith. “But the rebrand gave us the platform we needed to shift from an event-focused to a more mission-focused narrative.”

*Centerfold is a proud partner of Front Office Sports.

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Public Relations

Telling The Kentucky Basketball Story

Jim Cavale, CEO of INFLCR, chats with Eric Lindsey, Associate Director of Media Relations for the University of Kentucky.

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