The Benefits and Knowledge in Learning (PR) Public Relations for the Sport of Dressage
Written by Betsy LaBelle - In Dressage - Monday, December 12, 2016
Words are, indeed, powerful. Handled properly, they inspire interest. They inspire feelings. They inspire a connection. An informative and entertaining article draws interest, gives dressage readers including owners, sponsors, riders, coaches and others a valuable piece of information on building a better community.
While competition is at the core of the Dressage sport, insightful writing fosters peer support, camaraderie and acquaints all involved with quality services, facilities, products and different methods of training.
The premise or principle of the sport of dressage is for each rider and coach to test out their horse's training in front of a judge (or series of five judges) for an evaluation. Inside this written test or spoken observation by the judges the rider receives feedback from a judge who states, ‘Here is where you stand today at this moment in your horse's training and here is your score.’ It’s a process for continuance.
What does that have to do with sharing your lives with the public and article writing? Well, everything. We need to learn from one another. The judges, the riders, the coaches need to share with the greater society for the common good of our entire sport. An excellent article doesn’t just state the horse and rider’s score, but the current goals for that horse, what the judges confirmed for the rider and possibly what the judges pointed out for them to improve. With so many details to choose, a good article includes the inner workings, the details, the timing associated with a horses strength, biomechanics and its current confidence level. Readers want to read about the rider and coach thought process, on the evaluation of training of their horse, and what might be ahead in its training.
Data and the Evolving Media
Journalism is changing. These are its evolving trends:
First, Mondays are important. Verifiable data and news source analytics indicate that the highest number of views and reads occur on Mondays. The data points out that up to a third more reads of articles take place on Mondays, more than any other day of the week.
Second, the largest numbers of reads are about athletes readers know. From a Steffen Peters article I developed with him and posted online, I amassed over 10,000 reads during the first 24 hours alone, a total of 20,000 more throughout that month and many more ongoing.
Third, readers are interested in learning. Regardless if an article is about a top athlete, an up-and-coming athlete, the methods used to train and communicate with a horse, or the biomechanics of a horse, the readers want to be informed and understand different training systems, the successes and mistakes learned, how a rider and horse work together and even about the often confusing rule requirements and details.
And the fourth, which is essential and crucial, is the written quality of an article and the quality of the photos. A high quality writer will not only give the text a sense of flow, it will also cultivate interest and a pleasant reaction.
Why You Should Work with a Journalist and PR
The effort and time needed to devote to this sport is plentiful and can be daunting some days. It can take a rider five years or 1,825 days to develop a good Grand Prix level horse. Even the contented person happily engaged in their daily work may question “Where are the journalists? Why don’t they want my story?” Rest assured, dedicated journalists are interested; we do want your story. That’s also how we make our living.
Riders, coaches and owners have to step up and pay for their own advertising, their own marketing, their own articles. Online or print PR articles are the answer.
One top rider’s concern is that our sport will grow and evolve into a PR campaign competition. It's not necessary to overdo it, one, two or three well constructed articles a year will suffice.
The good news is our sport is growing. We all need to do our part. So, hire a writer (a photo-journalist) for a couple of articles a year. It will, indeed, make a difference.