With the football season quickly approaching, millions of sports fans — not to mention gamblers and employees peer-pressured to join their office league — are getting ready to draft their fantasy teams. Some will spend days meticulously studying player stats and potential outcomes, while others will show up to the draft not knowing the difference between a wide receiver and golden retriever.
Fantasy sports and law firm media relations may seem worlds apart and that’s because … well … they are. But both involve staking out territory, sizing up the competition and developing strategies to accomplish goals. With this in mind, we’ve compiled the top six lessons law firms can learn from fantasy sports as they put together their rosters of spokespeople.
1. Have a strategy going into your draft
Come draft day, you should have already done your homework. Who are you hoping to take first? Who’s on your do-not-draft list? At what round will you consider taking a quarterback?
Before choosing your firm spokespeople, it’s important to determine your overall communications goals. Are you looking to promote specific practice groups as part of your firm’s 2025 plan? Are you looking to recruit lateral partners from similar-sized firms? Do you have prima donnas who put up gaudy stats but poison the locker room? Do the top players actually have time to answer the phone?
Once you determine your goals, and fairly assess the realities of the prospective roster, you can develop a plan that plays to your team’s strengths and puts troublemakers on the sidelines.
2. Draft players for each position
It may be tempting to draft five quarterbacks, but that will leave significant holes in your offense. That’s why it’s important to draft a range of strong players at each position early on.
Many firms will benefit from having a balanced roster of spokespeople who represent different practices and capabilities. Rather than focusing only on the most recognizable lawyers at the firm — some of whom may do similar work — a range of spokespeople serving different industries is often more effective for supporting the firm’s strategy. Think of subject matter experts as specialty players. They may not make 20 tackles or throw for 400 yards, but their skill can score the winning field goal.
3. Don’t start injured players
Not checking your roster before game day can be extremely costly. If you start a player who is sitting due to an injury, you may lose the whole week. For your firm spokespeople, this point is about availability. If your team is going to invest resources to line up media opportunities, it’s important you are aware of your spokespeople’s schedules and any other outside factors that could get in the way of the initiative. Of course, if you also have a back-up spokesperson for a specific issue on your roster, you should still be set even if your main source is unavailable.
4. Analyze your opponents
When drafting, don’t forget to take a step back and analyze what the competition is doing. Does a flight toward top running backs mean now or never if you want to secure one for your own team? Firms can learn a lot by looking at their competitors’ media footprints. What issues are they trying to take ownership of and why? If you’re going after the same territory, how can you distinguish yourself from your opponents? What strategic issues are open for a game-breaking play?
5. Adjust your roster
You nailed the draft. Built the perfect team. But your work is not done. Matter of fact, it’s just beginning. Despite having your dream team out of the gate, injuries, poor performance from players and new talent all require that you pay close attention to your roster. Similarly, news cycles change, firm strategies evolve and rising stars, well, rise. All this means you need to stay on top of your roster of firm spokespeople and determine if, and when, it may make sense to rotate in fresh players.
6. Watch the points roll in
Many fantasy football owners compulsively update their Yahoo and ESPN apps on game day, watching their scores update and seeing how they fare against the competition. After your spokespeople have done their jobs and engaged with the media, your work continues. Now’s the time to track and further promote the resulting coverage. Can the placement be amplified via social media? Should it be sent to specific prospects or clients? Can it be repurposed for the firm’s website? Maximizing the value of every success is the key to a winning season.
Jesse Dungan is an Associate Vice President at Infinite Global, where he helps professional services firms develop and execute strategic public relations initiatives that support their business development efforts and raise their profiles in the media. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Learn more about Infinite Global’s media relations services here.