What tennis greats and PR pros have in common

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The world’s biggest names in tennis are due to collide this week with
the kick-off of the French Open—that’s the major clay tournament for
those still reading. Last year’s defending champs Rafael Nadal and Maria
Sharapova will look to defend their titles using a full arsenal of
shots.

The various racquet strokes employed by the tennis greats are a bit
similar to the tools a PR professional uses for media relations. Here’s a
comparison of the two admittedly very different professions’ box of
tricks.


Forehand – press release

The most classic shot in tennis is much like a press release. It’s the
old favorite for public relations professionals looking to get the job
done. It’s also a must-have for tennis pro hopefuls.

American tennis player James Blake recorded the fastest ever forehand at
125 mph at the 2011 U.S. Open—still searching for a comparable press
release, though Mitch Delaplane’s certainly is in the running.


Backhand – byline

The backhand is a formidable weapon in its own right. Roger Federer has
perfected the art of the one-handed backhand, though Richard Gasquet is
thought to have the most technically sound shot. It’s similar to a
byline placement in that it can be equally as effective as the old
standby approach, and it’s nice to switch things up.

RELATED: Hear how top companies adapted to the digital PR industry changes at this August event.


Overhead – call

A smash, or overhead shot, can go wonderfully right or horribly wrong.
When a PR pro opts to pick up the phone to call a reporter, the result
can be much the same. The reporter may find the call intrusive and
irritating or might be so wowed with the material to do a story. Andy
Roddick’s hardest overhead ever struck would fall into the wow category.

Slice – pitch

This quick, chop-like motion can surprise and delight. It’s a bit like a
pitch in its quickness, brevity and ability to land results. The slice
works when other shots fail and a pitch works well in situations a press
release or media alert just wouldn’t suffice. Both can be hit or miss,
just check out the Bad Pitch Blog or this video.


Caitlin Whitehurst is a public relations manager at Forza Marketing
(formerly JZMcBride and Associates), a public relations and marketing
firm in downtown Cincinnati. Email her at caitlin@forza-marketing.com.

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