What Can PR Learn From Olympians?

Only the best athletes become Olympians, and their journey to the top offers great insight for business. Here are some qualities public relations professionals can learn from these competitors to attain success.

1 - Dedication to a craft, whether it’s a sport or business, requires 100-percent commitment to victory. Olympians only compete on this global stage once every four years. Spectators often overlook how much dedication and hard work it takes in between to win the smaller battles that lead to potential gold. In business as in sports, maintaining motivation and drive is crucial to success, regardless of ups and downs. Communicators must remain dedicated to winning.

2 - Consistency builds identity and provides stability. For athletes, routine builds a strong rhythm, allowing them to measure success with incremental improvements. If they followed a different plan every week, they’d never reach their goals or gain recognition for outstanding achievements. In public relations, consistency builds strong brands for clients and catapults them beyond their rivals.

3 - Excellence – Olympians aspire to perfection, but that’s not always realistic. What they do obtain is excellence far beyond other athletes. PR can position clients for greatness by identifying the essential components that make a business shine.

4 - Aim higher – Athletes are competitive by nature, giving 110 percent to beat a personal record or a tough opponent. A successful PR program is not the end of the race. There’s always another milestone or goal to achieve, so no resting on your laurels!

5 - Confidence – Each competition provides an opportunity to win. A positive attitude generates the inspiration and belief needed to secure the next medal. As communications pros, we are hired when we instill confidence about our ability to make a difference in a client’s business.  

Importance of Online Coverage

Although print newspapers and magazines still have a broad audience, and play an important role in disseminating content, many outlets have evolved to include an online edition to address the different ways their audiences choose to receive information. Whether you pick up the morning paper off your lawn, buy your favorite magazine off the newsstand, or receive the latest news via RSS feeds, today's publications are diversifying to meet their reader's needs by providing accessible delivery options.

As published online in MIT Communications Forum, director David Thorburn states, "New technologies never displace older systems with decisive suddenness; the process of media transition is nearly always accretive and gradual, a mix of tradition and innovation, in which emerging and established systems interact, shift and collude with one another."

In PR, even in this digital age, we still get asked how important is online coverage, and our answer is: important! Here's why:

  • The majority of news today is consumed online. All leading newspapers, such as The New York Times ,Wall Street Journal, USA Today, etc.,have online unique visitor numbers that are much higher than their print subscriptions. This holds true for many newspapers and magazines.
  • Secondly, online coverage has longevity. Once coverage appears online, you can search, find and read it after many months and even years. This isn't true for print articles – unless you keep huge stacks of past issues or visit a library's archive.
  • Thirdly, online coverage increases search engine optimization (SEO). Backlinks coming from external websites (e.g., news sites, blogs or Wikipedia) to your homepage are not only a sign of quality and trust, but ultimately increase your searchability and Google Page Rank.

Many of us still enjoy reading the printed word in the traditional fashion, but the power and importance of online coverage simply cannot be ignored.

We would like to hear which is more important to you - online or print? Email your comments to  

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