Written by PRSSA at LSU members Shaunda Johnson and Megan Gibbs.
The New Orleans Saints Football Communications Manager, Justin Macione, spoke to a group of budding professionals from various PRSSA chapters at the PRSSA Region 5 Conference Geaux For a Good Time on April 19. After 15 years, Macione has worked his way through the ranks at the Saints.
As the communications manager, Macione’s day can vary greatly depending on the season. While in the off-season, Macione spends a lot of his time working on the official media guide. During the actual season, he is in charge of a weekly release that provides stats about the games, players and opponents.
Additionally, Macione manages the availability and interaction of coaches and players with the media and assists them with any of their public relations needs related to the Saints. Although Macione loves his job, he wants those entering in the sports PR field to know that it’s not always glamorous. It’s a tough field to enter into, and it requires passion and commitment to the work
During his presentation, Macione used his vast experience in sports marketing and communications to provide the PRSSA members with advice on how to navigate through the tight-knit profession.
Here is a list of Macione’s tips for success in the sports industry:
1. It is not as glamorous as it seems. Macione let the members know that the jobs causes for intense physical labor and is not all fun and games.
2. Knock on a lot of doors. Never give up on your quest; someone is bound to say “yes.”
3. The first option is not always paid, but do it anyways. Explore every resource; you never know what could come in the future.
5. Participate in events such as conferences. Go to professional conferences. It is the best way to build relationships with other professionals.
6. Volunteer/intern. These are great ways to put your foot in the door.
7. Do all you can to make a positive impression. Keep in mind that everybody knows everybody and bad news travels faster than good news
8. Reach out to a PR director that you admire. Live vicariously through your favorite professional for a day or seek a mentorship. Sometimes just telling them that you admire them is a good start of building the relationship.
For those interested in sports PR, Macione suggests networking with professionals in the field and sending out a lot of résumé. One of the easiest ways to get your foot in the door is volunteering for sporting events, and that sentiment was echoed throughout the session.
Once Macione wrapped up, he introduced Courtney Foret, the New Orleans Saints Communications intern, to us. Foret was recently given a permanent position with the Saints after interning with them for the last few years. Because we’re all interested in being offered a job once we graduate, Foret provided us with a few important tips that she’s learned throughout her job hunt:
Volunteer, volunteer, volunteer!Network. Introduce yourself, shake hands, smile and foster relationships.Because everybody knows everybody in this business (especially in sports PR), a good first impression will go a long way and people will be more willing to help you out.Don’t worry about the future so much; concern yourself with the right now, and everything will fall into place.Never complain about what you have to do — even if it’s grabbing coffee or making copies.
The most important thing that Macione and Foret encouraged was for those venturing into the job field to be willing to work and learn. By having that attitude, success is sure to follow.