“The Last Dance” took its last dance last night as this 10-part series by ESPN and Netflix came to an end. I’m so happy we had this to watch during quarantine because who doesn’t love a good sports documentary? And this one of Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls was a good one. Even if you’re not an NBA fan. The music alone was great and nostalgic (you can catch the playlist on Spotify).
And as a true PR nerd, I couldn’t help but pull some lessons learned through watching this series (even though some would argue Michael isn’t the best PR example). So “Be Like Mike” in a different way with these PR tips.
Always Use Brevity
When Michael’s publicist wrote a press release about him returning to basketball, he wrote several versions of it. Michael didn’t like what he was conveying so his publicist told him to write it himself (LOL if only!) The result:
This here is press release goals. Why we can’t all simply write these two words and get instant press, we can take a cue from Mike and be brief.
If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough.
I’ve probably shared this quote several times on this blog, but Albert Einstein is right. Break down what you need to say simply and effectively. The attention span of reporters and your audience (whether that’s social, a blog, an email, etc.) is very minimal, so hook them in and be brief, always.
Some would argue Michael Jordan is TOO confident. And his teammates straight up called him an asshole. Even if that’s the case, you can’t help but just be in awe of Michael Jordan’s swagger. He’s just so cool. And if you’re gonna help lead your team to win six championships, you’re going to need to be a bit of an asshole. Maybe this is why I dislike Tom Brady so much? At any rate, having that swag and confidence can help you be the best PR pro you can be. A little psyching yourself up – pretending to be in the locker room before the big game – can help you get better, whether that’s pitching media, doing a new business pitch, or leading a meeting.
Encourage Your Team to Get on Your Level
You don’t want to get on Michael’s bad side. Or even tease him. OMG. But that drive made him a winner. And while I don’t know if he went about pushing his teammates in the best way, what we can take away from him is that he pushed everyone around him to be the best they could be. Encouraging your team and promoting positivity as well as successes, is key. We don’t want to throw people under the bus or talk badly about them. Instead, we want to lift others up so we’re all on the GOAT level.
Build Your Network
Now I am going to take a lesson from the “villain” of The Last Dance, Jerry Krause. While Jerry gets a bad rap time and again, he also helped recruit players like Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman who complimented the Bulls tremendously. What Jerry did was expand and build his network, and we should all take a lesson from that. Keeping in your small circle does not help you learn and grow, so always ensure you’re meeting new people and networking.
Expand Your Skillset
In the middle of his career, Michael got burned out and moved over to baseball. While he received criticism, it is a good lesson for all PR pros to expand our skillsets. Maybe take an online course in SEO or HTML, paid social or Google Analytics. As PR continues to cross and merge with our advertising and marketing counterparts, having more skills than writing and media relations is key to continue to grow and learn.
Now excuse me while I go listen to the Chicago Bulls Theme Song and pretend I am in the WNBA while running on the treadmill.