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Professional Development Plan

Steven Woodgate: Professional Development Plan


Steven Woodgate


1. Aim The aim of this professional development plan is to raise the author’s profile and to ensure that the quality of teaching and learning is fully beneficial in the quest to obtain employment in the sports sector of public relations. In setting out this plan, this author wanted to exert methods to promote the skills and talents developed from a range of previous employment extending from retail management to broadcast journalism and to discover the skill gaps that need filling to become a public relations professional. By using the skills and education of the Public Relations MA course, it will transform this author into a potential thought leader in the field of sports PR by underpinning professional practice with defined educational theory. 1.1 The need for an Aim Gone is the era of high job security, with the same employer for life, where good employees automatically move up well-defined career ladders. Even through higher education, downsizing will continue to eliminate some jobs in response to increased pressures to reduce costs – therefore making it necessary for workers to be more mobile in finding the job and employer. Employees will need to develop new skills and become more flexible, adaptable and creative in identifying Developmen ts their next job (See appendix 10), and Skills public relations is a way for people to get involved in the marketplace of Requiremen ts ideas (Coombs & Holladay, 2007). This professional development plan will look into potential skill gaps and how to combat these to become more Table 1: The Sports PR employable in the eyes of the Professional employer and to produce a method to source network links and to create a better knowledge.


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2. Contents 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Aim Contents Introduction Reflection Personal Insights Objectives 6.1 Objective 1 6.2 Objective 2 6.3 Objective 3 7. Conclusion 8. Mid-term Plans 9. Reference 10. Bibliography 11. Appendices

2 3 4

2.1 List of tables Table Table Table Table Table Table Table

1: 2: 3: 4: 5: 6: 7:

The The The The The The The

sports PR professional learning, development and tactics for objective 1 timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 1 is achieved learning, development and tactics for objective 2 timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 2 is achieved learning, development and tactics for objective 3 timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 3 is achieved



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3. Introduction – Sports PR Industry 3.1 Understanding Sports PR Disagreement exists regarding the definition of public relations in general and particularly in sport public relations (Nichols et al. 2002). Parts of the sports public relations only have been discussed from a boarder perceptive (Williams, 2000). Similar to general public relations practitioners, sports professionals still need the ability to write effectively. Other important skills required to be a sports PR professional are to be able to coach and persuade through a range of presentation skills and being articulate at desktop publishing to ensure the intended message gets across (see Appendix 9). Most commonly, the media relation aspect of public relations is most popular in sports, this is hardly surprising with the amount of jobs created by the trade and the significant coverage mass media devotes to sport (Stoldt, Sittmore & Barnvold, 2000). Media relations can be such an influential job in sports that some practitioners – most notably Rima Katorjii – devote their entire PR profession to it. Many stay at professional clubs to become ‘press officers’ and ‘media officers’ dealing primarily with the first team, without the employer realizing the greater advantage of adopting a public relation specialist. PR for minority sports is very different to working for the Football Association (FA) though. Bowls, for instance, is trying to shift the perception that it is an old person’s sport. Sport is both a major international business and a key structure in globalised society – illustrated in the political interest with the Olympic and World Cup bids (Britsport, 2004). It is important to understand that sport is also a “media product” of many organizations and BSkyB’s grip on football and cricket, as two examples, as resulted in vast sums being put into the game (Boyle & Haynes, 2005). 3.2 Why media relations is king? A Media relation person for sport tries to emphasis the need for favorable publicity and can be thought of as information regarding sports products or organizations. This can be conveyed free through the mass media and it is often


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deemed extremely credible form of communication because it comes from a mass-media outlet, not a sports organization. Davis (1998) suggests that the two most common job titles are labeled ‘media relations’ or ‘sports information’. Regardless of staff size, the role of media professionals in all sports often consists of: cultivating publicity; managing statistical services; managing the media at games and competitions; creating publications; and, managing websites (Stoldt, Sittmore & Barnvold, 2000). Community relations remain the solid founding of any sports club and they should sought to foster desirable relationships between the sport organization and the communities in which it is either located or has strategic qualities. 3.3 Industry as it stands and changing perceptions According to the Premier League Club Directoryii, only four of the top 20 football league clubs in the country have specialized PR practitioners in their offpitch department but every club exercise a press officer or a media relation expert. This emphasizes a noticeable job gap that has not been exploited; there is plenty of scope for potential employment and this in itself is an emerging trend (see appendix 12). Professional clubs, as Arsenal, now have a proper business model in place and use PR effectively; however they seem to be ahead of their competitors in terms of making a football club run like a businessiii (Perren, 2011). With the prodigal rise of London 2012, sports PR is more commonly on the agendaiv. This will act as a future trend for sport and PR to work more diligently together. Sports PR is a continuingly growing industry and a common theme has developed with specialist sports - as archery - taking on public relations officers. They have identified the importance of using onev. The responsibilities included in the role range from helping international sporting professionals perform at worldwide tournaments to promoting the sport at grassroots level, all of which are big priorities in the sports industry, especially for the government ‘legacy’ goal and in turn, will create emerging roles to maintain the level of interest experienced at the games (see Appendix 7). PR will have such a big role to play in the 2012 Olympics games, and as the London Organizing Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games (LOCOG) has a massive communications slate to handle they have hired leading PR expert Matthew Freud and his company, Freud Communications, to lead in promoting the gamesvi. Big sporting PR companies like Pitch PR and PHA work with major professional teams and individuals, it is obvious that the industry is expanding.


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Clients also include companies, who have large amounts of invested interest in sport, and with the money received from worldwide television revenue always increasing, there will be more sports stars and businesses looking for bespoke PR. A noticeable trend is the importance of the use of sponsorship, marketing and commercial activity is to sport, many of previous campaigns have come on the back of heavy sponsorship deals resulting in celebrity endorsements and active publishing. This is an aspect sport PR professionals need to know about as it dictates the direction of future PR campaigns. The role of PR in dominant sports and at elite level is hazy but often understood, but the field of sport PR is wider yet. There are areas such as sports tourism and sports holidays that are taking more presidents in the field. One of the key aspects in sports PR is the title of the job role; many call the role ‘sports direction’, ‘sports promotion’, ‘sports development’, or ‘sports marketing’. It is dependent on the role specific role the policy-makers want the individual to fulfill. There are many dedicated sports agencies that tackle only sport such as Benchmark Sport, Sports Impact, Whitestone International, Total Sports Online ASA and many more focusing on particular sports, most notably motorsport.


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4. Reflecting 4.1 Commodity Skills As stated in the curriculum vitae (see Appendix 1), many skills and insights have been practiced in the workplace and throughout the university education system. Previous management experience at Iceland Foods has provided an essential and fundamental platform for progression into the public relation industry with its emphasis on people management and organization skills. The natural and quick progression from Store Assistant to Senior Supervisor at Iceland Foods in three years helped the process of developing important skills including delegation and organization; these two skills are fundamental in running business, projects and more importantly, working in public relations. Even more impressively, the level of maturity required increased significantly. Being responsible for thousands of pounds’ worth of equipment and stock has certain bearing on how you conduct yourself professionally among employees and the public. Previously, working alongside fellow employees and then being promoted would often manufacture a difficult situation, which had to be dealt with accordingly, something that the level of maturity obtained made easier. In doing this, the skills and experience arose were imperative in this author’s development. Dealing with resentment and animosity and spinning that into productivity and enthusiasm was certainly challenging. During the study for a degree in Sports Journalism, Iceland Foods’s Area and Regional Manager used the skills developed tactically and constructively as a crisis management tool. Selected underperforming stores in the area received additional help to turn things around. By working part-time some skills and developments were put off, such as admin and time-management. Crisis management is an essential tool in any corporation dealing with reputation and possible controversy. Admin work is necessary when it comes to new employment; it needs detail to ensure legality and policy in new employment. 4.2 Non-Commodity Skills To plug more skill gaps, this author decided to leave Iceland Foods to boost a wider range of skills. With the level of management at Iceland Foods, coming down to a junior role was difficult. It was important to become more of a


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team player rather than leading by example, this was certainly reflective in a short stint as a salesman for nPower. Being a door-to-door salesman was difficult, but through this, many skills were enhanced; objection and rejection handling skills significantly improved, something that will help when pitching to new clients. After the company went bust, the next opportunity was working as a Web Consultant for a number of clients of Yell Adworks. It involved dealing with customers, by phone, and writing up content for their websites whilst maintaining a professional outlook for their company specifications. This helped develop managing relationship skills and becoming responsible for their line of work. These skills helped to obtain the Solent Creatives role as well as providing excellent experience in project managing. After delving into four months of travelling, this author returned to pursue a MA in Public Relations and filled the summer gap with two temporary job positions at the ICMA Centre, University of Reading and at Menarini Diagnostics in roles as copywriter and telesales respectively. This further improved the skills already obtained and improved interview techniques. The PR internship with Solent Creatives, Southampton Solent University came up and after a rigorous interview process, this author was able to obtain the role. The position’s specification included work extending from relationship management to admin to press relations, this will be of huge benefit to secure a job in PR. To coincide with the pursuit of employment in the sport industry this author was appointed Winchester City’s Media & Public Communications Officer. The role involves the day-to-day running of the club’s website, media relations with local and regional media, as well as internal communication with fans and other staff. 4.3 Improvements To summaries, this author will need to address certain skills to plug gaps including the need to be more concise when it comes to admin work. From starting from scratch, the Winchester City role will give me ample opportunities to evaluate and improve. Dealing with the media is getting easier, and constant interaction with key stakeholders will broaden this author’s understanding. Skills such as admin will need addressing, as well as knowing the competition before heading into a role at an agency or company. Further improvements should be creating a bigger profile in sports PR, and a blog and interactions with other practitioners should be a priority.


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5. Personal Insight and Statement 5.1 Understanding what skills are needed AGR, the collective voice of graduate recruiters, periodically publishes a survey identifying the qualities that are most lacking in new graduates. In the Graduate Recruitment Survey 2007: Winter Reviewvii, the following skills were found in short supply: -

‘softer’ skills such as team-working, leadership and project management awareness of their chosen industry sector; commercial awareness and business/organization understanding.

To combat these two obvious discrepancies the ‘softer’ skills such as teamwork, leadership and project management are currently being practiced with the work at Solent Creatives and have been practiced with previous employers. Working at Solent Creatives involves great responsibility to ensure that the interactions with clients remain strong as well as great emphasis on maintaining projects and becoming accountable for them. This allows project management skills to improve increasingly over the course of the year, where before they were rusty and constant interaction with the employees will provide a solid platform to promote commercial awareness. 5.2 Sport PR Experience To actively pursue awareness of the sports PR industry, this author pitched to Winchester City Football Club to obtain some media work. The Media & Public Communications Officer role identifies many of the requirements needed to work in a sport’s PR department and more. From the author’s background in journalism, it was easy to gain media coverage but the focus on the community and the financial wellbeing of the club was imperative to the role. To grow a greater profile in the industry, networking events need to be attended and use social media platforms more proactively to keep up-to-date. 5.3 Web Presence Most recently, it is made obvious that a solid and reflective web presence is essential to receive the best chance of obtaining employment and work is


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ongoing in establishing that. According to the survey of e-pdp and e-portfolio practice in UK Higher Education, almost all universities claimed the PDP had been implemented in their institution and over three-quarters of these were using some form of electronic tool to support the process (Strivens, 2005). This is just one strand that is vital in establishing potential sources advancements in the technological perceptive. E-portfolios have been increasing prevalent during a difficult period and having a self-branded website and having a unique and professional web presents is fundamental in promotion. From this a selfcertificated website has been sanctioned and implemented to promote image and to give selective examples and testimonials. Social media remains a huge part of interacting with PR practitioners and academics and recently this author has engaged with huge players like Michael Greer (@MGreer_PR), Craig Pearce (commain), Lindsey Evans (@lindseye), Charlie Almond (@charliealmond), Daney Parker (@daneyparker), Rebecca Hopkins (@Sports_PR), Richard Bailey (@behindthespin) and Adam Tanous (@Adam_SportPR) as well as actively participating in Monday evening’s ‘Comms chat’ to broaden knowledge. Even more so, contributing to Richard Bailey’s ‘UK magazine for PR students and young practitioners’ (see Appendix 4) will help to raise this author’s profile and to interact with other developing PR in the process. LinkedIn (see Appendix 2) and PeoplePerHour (see Appendix 3) profiles and crucial tools in establishing web presence and building good networking links.


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6. Objectives 6.1 Objective 1 -

To use opportunities readily available to build an extensive database of networking links in to the sports public relations industry

By having a journalistic background, the networking skills will vary slightly to those of PR. Nevertheless, as in any industry, establishing integral links into the chosen field will be vital to secure employment. Using established contacts to find others will be pivotal and the networking skills as a journalist will help find the most influential people in the sports PR industry. Richard Bailey (see Appendix 8) believes it is vital to work for a consultancy firm early in your career to develop thorough client management techniques and skills, something that working for Solent Creatives is achieving. Using this skills at a junior level will be wholly beneficial in the long term and will help to make those networking links. To help create and maintain contacts, this author will develop a blogviii about the sports PR industry and actively encourage interactions with fellow professionals. Also, through social media platforms like twitter and LinkedIn, the author was build up a database of contacts to guarantee full exposure to potential job opportunities. 6.1.1 Tactics To help this, and despite receiving extensive speech therapy as a child, there are still problem in the pronunciation of words and the childhood stutter remains. It is important to battle any faultless deficiencies you may have inherited, and by using a series of coaching techniques and help provided from the university, this ‘problem’ will be worked on to ensure that first impressions are crisp. With first impressions and the ability to be a spokesman for any given company, is recognized as a fundamental skill for all PR practitioners. To measure this, this author will look to seek to improve selling techniques and promote active participation in publicized events to boost confidence and to talk more articulately and clearly. A highlighted part of a sports PR specification, as stated by Chris Kershaw (see Appendix 9), is to be a spokesman and deal with


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the media and the public where speaking clearly will be an important part. As well as join specific PR professional bodies and attend networking events. Table 2: The learning, development and tactics for objective 1

• To recognise trends for what is required in sports PR. • To recieve notice on potential employment opportunities.

Development • To self-promote and to liaise with fellow professionals • To develop the skills required to obtain employment

• To use social media sites like LindenIn and Twitter to contact practitioners and academics. • Create a Sports PR blog.



Table 3: The timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 1 is achieved

Janurary • Use twitter and LinkedIn to interact with leading PR practitioners and create blog

May • Build an extensive database for potential clients and maintain strong networking links

October • Use the database to help seek employment through agency work or on a freelance basis


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6.2 Objective 2 -

Use facilities available to construct and action my own PR company by drawing on internal experience and build a business and marketing plan

With the job market as temperamental as it is, it will be important to create a job as a source of income, and developing a business that uses the skills and talents that this author has would be extremely worthwhile. The nurtured skills throughout the early experiences in agency work and consultancy will be beneficial in the long term, and will provide a solid foundation to expand business aspirations. 6.2.1 Tactics To help with this, the author will participate in the Creative Entrepreneurial Freelance Practice unit available at Southampton Solent University to create and develop a business and marketing plan with the help of experienced business consultants. This in turn, will promote the business and provide the necessary skills in how to run and maintain a business, as well as develop the art of selling and sourcing work. Relating to Objective 1, the in-depth database will be a good source to develop important links into industry to source work, as well as raising the profile of the company. By having this database, it would be a good model to market the business and generate interest. Especially, after the development of the ‘soft’ skills from previous employment, this author will focus on dealing with clients and how to interact with them. In addition, by using the experienced business consultants, the business will have the perfect springboard to ensure that it will remain profitable and sustainable. The business and marketing plan will have detailed forecasts for the coming year and that will act as a measuring tool. The work at Winchester City FC will be sourced to the company, as well as creating a web profile and obtain work through word by mouth communications. The links already manufactured from Winchester City and surrounding local football teams will put this author in good stead.


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Table 4: The learning, development and tactics for objective 1

• How to start up a business • To understand the PR industry and how to source clients


Development • To use facilities available to build business and marketing plan • To use database to find potential work

• Use business consultants and business startup expertises at the univeristy • To source clients early to obtain work


Table 5: The timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 2 is achieved

Janurary • Participate in creative entrepreneural unit to learn the functions and how business works


October • Create business and marketing plan with help of leading consultants

• Use business to source clients with additional help with their sports clubs


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6.3 Objectives 3 -

Improve knowledge and understanding in the commercial and marketing side of the sports industry

As stated in the interview with Chris Kershaw (Appendix 9), understanding the commercial side of sport is fundamentally important to any PR practitioner. A degree of knowledge and understanding will be required to form working relationships and to ensure that every aspect of the industry is covered. The most beneficial way of combating this would be to investigate methods and reasons why the marketing and commercial aspects of sport is so vital, and use the database provided to ask questions and discover more. LinkedIn is an extremely good way of discovering trends and perhaps talking to regularly contributing practitioners will be ultimately constructive. 6.3.1 Tactics To combat this, the university provides additional units on sports marketing and the commercial side of sport; therefore, it will be easy to obtain guidance and information. Setting up meetings and interview will be integral to source guidance and to gain knowledge and understanding of the field. The university has many expertise and focused knowledge of the field, and then in turn these new contacts will help ‘beef’ up the networking database of essential contacts. Over the remaining course of the MA study, this author will actively pursue theory and practice in sports marketing and commercial activity, as sports is big money and knowing the back-story will help to pursue and fulfill business objectives. Also implementing social media tactics, information can be sourced through LinkedIn and similar sites and interaction and networking links could be encouraged to present new ideas and to understand the familiarity of the subject. Using this method would encourage the use of interacting with practitioners from all aspects of the sports industry to make proper inroads into the industry.


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Table 6: The learning, development and tactics for objective 3

• To understand the whole sports industy • To be fully prepared

Development • Complete outside reading • Use the database and recognise trends

• Use database to meet marketing and commercial sports professionals • Read papers and blog



Table 6: The timeframe and milestones to ensure objective 3 is achieved

Janurary • Use twitter and LinkedIn to discover leaders in the field

May • Have at least 20 good networking links • follow their blogs/ twitter

October • Understand the jargon and be in the position to recognise trends and gaps


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7. Conclusion The focus must rely on improving employability and ensuring that the skill gaps are filled and worked on. On reflection of this PDP, the main emerging trend developing from sports PR is the battle with marketing and the commercial aspects. Barry Hearn has done a constructive job revitalizing snookerix in 2011, and this approach will soon take presidency over other leading sports. Learning and understanding the impact of big monetary sponsorships and marketing campaigns will be a big part of accepting the bigger picture of sport and its cultural impact on the globalised society. Potential roadblocks could come in the form of competitors for employment, and this PDP will provide the trends needed to ensure that this author positions himself appropriately. By indentifying the skill gaps and needed improvements, this author will be able to work to become more of a complete professional. Another significant roadblock could be the lack of agency work experience to obtain a junior level at a PR firm. Richard Bailey and Chris Kershaw expressed the need for experience at junior level before climbing the sports PR ladder. This is something that needs addressing. By positioning himself amongst leading practitioners, this author will be able to comment more on sport PR practice, and the development of a blog to portray up-to-date knowledge of the industry and to engage other practitioners will certainly boost employability as well as the author’s profile. As stated in the objectives, the creation of a private company will be difficult but importantly, it should be seen as a side project rather than a sole income and gaining experience in-house or from an agency will be more beneficial. Building a web presence will be key and establishing the author’s profile will be needed in the attempts to become a ‘thought leader’.


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8. What I want to achieve in the next 2-5 years? Short Term (2 years) -

To have two years work experience in communications within the sporting industry To portray the skills I have developed and put them to good use To appoint a mentor in the field to seek for advise and guidance to continue my professional development in the field

Long Term (5 years) -

To be working for a professional football/cricket club in the communications department To have a sustainable and active client base for my business To have maintained those mentoring links and continue to development To seek and pursue lecturing work at a university to help maintain and development a good business core Look to appoint someone to run my business and maintain good links with the industry


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9. References BOYLE, R. & HAYNES, R. 2004. Football in the New Media Age. Routledge: London. BOYLE, R. & HAYNES, R. 2005. ‘The Football Industry and Public Relations’ in L’Etang, J. & Pieczka, M. (eds) Public Relations: Critical Debates and Contemporary Practice, LEA. Britsport. 04 Sportbusiness Group Ltd 2004.

BRIGGS, S. 2011. Barry Hearn still the master of PR as he turns tables on critics of snooker’s brave new world. Telegraph 09 Dec 2011[online] [viewed 15 Dec 2011] Available from: COOMBS, W & HOLLADAY, S 2007. It’s Not Just PR: Public Relations in Society. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing. LONDON EVENING STANDARD, 2011. Big Earner: Matthew Freud’s £1.5m payday. London Evening Standard 06 Oct 2011[online] [viewed 15 Dec 2011] Available from: NICHOLS, W. MOYNAHAN, P & TAYLOR, J 2002. Media relations in sport. United states: Fitness Information technology. PERRIN, J. 2011. Arsenal FC See the Power of Online PR. In: Koozai [online] 14 Nov 2011. Available from: SCHULTZ, B 2005. Sports media: planning, production, and reporting, Volume 1. Oxford: Elsevier.


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STOLDT, G. DITTMORE, S & BRANVOLD, S 2006. Sports public relations: managing organisational communication, volume 10. United States: Human Kinetics. STRIVEN, J 2005. A survey of e-php and e-portfolio practice in UK Higher Education. Accessed: 13th Nov 2011. Available



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10. Bibliography Boyle, R., Dinan, W. & Morrow, S. 2002. ‘Doing the business? The newspaper reporting of the business of football’, Journalism, vol.3 (2), 149–169. Favorito, J 2007. Sports publicity: a practical approach. United States: Elsevier/Butterworth-Heinemann. Field, S. 2008. Career Coach: managing your career in the sports industry. USA: Infobase Publishing. Field, S. 2009. Opportunities in the Sports Industry. USA: Infobase Publishing. Hopwood, M. Kitchin, P. & Skinner, J. 2010. Sport Public Relations and Communication. Cambridge: Butterworth-Heinemann. L’Etang, J. 1996. ‘Public relations as diplomacy’ in L’Etang, J. & Pieczka, M. (eds) Critical Perspectives in Public Relations, ITBP. L’Etang, J. 2005. ‘Public relations in sport, health and tourism’ in L’Etang, J. & Pieczka, M. (eds) Public Relations: critical debates and contemporary practice, LEA. Morgan, G. 2005. ‘Evolution and evolution’, Sportbusiness, February p.49. Lagae, W. 2005. Sponsorship and marketing communications: a European perspective. Harlow: Pearson Education. Min, S. & Stotlar, D. 2010. An Analysis of South Korean Sports Reporters and PR Agents. Korea: Lambert Academic Publishing. Slack, T & Parent, M. 2005. Understanding sport organizations: the application of organization theory. USA: Human Kinetics.

11. Appendices 11.1 Appendix 1 – CV


11.2 Appendix 2 – LinkedIn Page

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11.3 Appendix 3 – People Per Hour Profile

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11.4 Appendix 4 – Behind The Spin -


11. 5 Appendix 5 – Skills Mapping

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11.6 Appendix 6 – Kent Employability Skills

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11.7 Appendix 7 – PESTEL Analysis for the Sports PR Industry Table 1: PESTEL Analysis of the public relations and sports industry PESTEL

Public Relations

Sport Industry

Future Tasks




Climate/Consumer/ Bank/Currency

Self-regulating sports bodies, more relationships with local and global institutions Clubs out-pricing families, too reliant on players


Lifestyle/Media/Attit udes/ Differences/Demogra phics

Sport become more dependent on sponsors, therefore more relationships to build Potential scope for sport to become more European, meaning bigger revenue of commercial sponsors Clubs becoming more detached from their community


Current/Future/Impa ct/IP




Government/Legislati on/Policy

Sport is big professional business, losing its demographics. Education on the importance of PR. Big money business means results are all too important, and advances will benefit communication Big stadia being built and regenerating poor areas More influential in government, finding the correct funding and market

To guarantee that all the potential is reached

To look after future sites where the club may move to and look after the area left Further influences in government, with these ‘big businesses’ to have a leading stake


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11.8 Appendix 8 – Interview with Richard Bailey MCIPR, PR Consultant, Lecturer at Leeds Metropolitan University and founder of PRStudies. Interview by email on 18 November 2011. Before you were able to take your first steps in the public relations and communications industry, what skills did you have to acquire? And how did you develop them? In my case, I had media experience (writing, editing, publishing) and a sector specialism (IT sector). I'd been working as an editor on a magazine reporting on computers and software. Before that I'd also been a school teacher: teaching is a theme in my career because as a PR practitioner you are also an educator. You're trying to educate markets about products and services, and educate clients about the media and the limits of advocacy. Did formal education provide appropriate base for you to start work in PR? How? Not for me. Education helped me get into magazine journalism (indirectly), and this experience helped me into PR consultancy. What do you wish you would have known before starting your career in PR? I knew enough to get started, but the client management side of the industry still came as a shock! To further improve your communication output, did you seek an experienced mentor to provide guidance and expertise? And if so, how was this beneficial to your personal development? I was working for a consultancy which meant I had a team of colleagues around me to provide advice and support. The advice you get in your early years is vital. How do you keep current in the PR industry? News feeds and Twitter are currently most useful to me - but conferences and new books are also useful.


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To become more employable in the PR industry, what skills do you consider as essential? And what skills do you believe would be useful? This hasn't changed much over several decades. The entry-level skill most demanded by employers is the ability to write. But since you need to know what to write about, I'd add that an interest in current affairs is also vital. If you were to employ someone within your industry, what requirements would you class as necessary to obtain the job? In addition to what I've just said, an ability to predict the future is really useful! What professional bodies are you currently involved in? I'm a member of the CIPR and considering whether I want PRCA membership too (now it's open to individuals).


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11.9 Appendix 9 – Telephone Interview with Chris Kershaw Chris Kershaw PR and Communications Manager Birmingham City Football Club Routes in football PR There are many different routes for getting into PR, however from experience most have got into industry after being at a paper for a few years. I had two years at a paper before applying for a junior publishing role at Middlesbrough, where I learnt the ropes by writing content for matchday programme and the website, I also wrote a few books. From there I went to Derby County as a press officer, before honing my skills at Birmingham City to become their PR man. Obviously having a journalistic background is hugely beneficial, as spotting a story is a key skills in public relations. It’s important to get those column inches in the paper and actively promote the club as positively as possible. Especially in sport, the wealth of the media industry is huge and, I may be a bit biased, but having that background will help. You are constantly busy. Today, for instance, there is the press day and a press conference for the game tomorrow. That needs organizing and evaluating to see what is being said about the club. Your roles may vary too. Sometimes I’m writing the match report, or writing up an interview and other times I’m being the spokesman speaking to the media. Skills required The skills needed aren’t that different to other skills needed in a workplace. Organisational skills is something that is essential and being able to write effectively is key too. There should be a focus on meeting deadlines, in a positive and proactive manner. Because sport is so heavily invested in the media, crisis management skills are essential. But generally, it is the role that you want. I work alongside the


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marketing team, the ticketing office and the community people, so I’m in the busy sector to ensure that if there is a story to promote, I can spot it. Other clubs are hung up on having press officers or media relations specialists, where they spend the majority of the time with the first team. A football club is much more than that. I’m based at the stadium, St Andrews, to be close to club. Something that the public find hard to comprehend is that football clubs are a lot more resourceful than they appear. The first team are well paid, but in the back office, we have budgets and time constraints to work to. Commercial PR Sport is so popular now that having a commercial PR specialist is so vital. Many clubs are open mind to having a PR person, but many fail to do so. They should embrace PR professionals, not to be scared off by them. As mentioned earlier, some clubs are highly resourced and they have a combination of roles that don’t really focus on a particular role. Many roles many just be involved with writing, not necessarily getting into the thick of it. Sports marketing Sport marketing constantly changes and it’s important that the PR people direct their focus on achieving the overall goal of the business. We work close to the marketing department, but the commercial partnerships clubs have are vital to their existence. They need to keep their sponsors happy.


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11.10 Appendix 10: Hierarchy of Employee Traits for the Creative Economy


Cannot Command (Won't commoditize)

•  Intellect •  Diligence •  Obedience •  Passion •  Creativity •  Initative

Source: Gary Hamel, Spigit Customer Summit Aug. 2009



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11.11 Appendix 11: Understanding sport’s marketing

Sport Organization's Marketing Mix

Sport Organization's Promotion Mix

Product Goods and/or services customized to consumers' wants and needs

Advertising Commercial messages carried via the mass media

Prize Costs consumes incur in exchange for the organization's goods and/or services

Personal Sales Organisational representatives interact with consumers

Place Distribution function that links consumers with goods and/or services

Sales Promotions Value-added incentives or discounts

Promotion Communicating with and motivating consumers to make exchanges

Publicity Product information conveyed free of charge by the mass media



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11.12 Appendix 12: The role where PR should be used in a professional sporting club, not just the traditional ‘press officer’.

Community Relations

Schools & local Institutions

Fan Relations Internal Communications Employee Relations Head of PR Stakeholders Corporate Communication Shareholders Head of Communications Advertiserments Commercial Sponsorships Potential Sponsors Media Relations/ Press Officer

First Team


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11.13 Appendix 13: This author’s work experience, education, and professional development journey.

Work Experience/ Internship Progression

Academic Progression

Professional Development

Reading Evening Post - Journalist

A- Levels

Iceland Foods Store Assistant

Reading Chronicle - Journalist

Sports Journalism BA (Hons)

Iceland Foods Duty Manager

Football FanCast - Analysis & Correspondent

Public Relations MA

Iceland Foods Senior Supervisor

Hampshire CCC - Media Assistant

nPower Sales Executive

Local Radio - Match Commentator

Yell Adworks Copywriter & Web Consultant

Winchester City - Media & Public Communications Officer

ICMA Centre, University of Reading - Copywriter & Marketing Assistant

Freelance for Daily Echo & Hampshire Chronicle

Menarini Dianogistics - Telesales Excuative

Solent Creatives, Southampton Solent University - PR & Project Manager


Steven Woodgate

11.14 Appendix 14: SWOT Analysis



• Enthusaism • Project managing • Team leader

• Little knowledge of some systems • No agency experience



• Sports Agency • Internet market expanding • Demand for research

• Competition is very high • Employee not a fan



Steven Woodgate


11.15 Appendix 15: Potter’s Five Forces for the Sports PR Industry

Commercial & sponsorship aspects

Media relations

Sports PR Industry

Infleunce of policymakers

The need of customers

Building a career in Sport Media Relations by Rima Katorji of Canadian Professional Golfers’ Association. ii,,12306~152444,00.pdf iii iv v vi i

vii viii ix

Steven Woodgate PDP  
Steven Woodgate PDP  

Steven Woodgate PDP for Professional Practice in MA Public Relations