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One-Minute MarketerCoaches Are the Worst

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Coaches Are the Worst

You don’t have to look very far to find a bad press conference, just look at any press conference run by a football or basketball coach. It was especially apparent when Mike McCarthy lost his cool at the post-game press conference after the loss last week. Mccarthy Press Conference

Why are coaches so bad at public relations? I think it is simple, they fail to follow their own coaching advice (or, as my southern grandmother used to say, “They are too big for their britches.”) Here are the PR fails by coaches:

  • No game plan: Now that press conferences are live streamed, you get to see how poorly prepared coaches really are. There are no talking points. There are no notes. They also seem very surprised at the most obvious questions.
  • Don’t practice: You can tell that the coaches have not practiced answering tough questions. Practice keeps you from looking foolish and saying foolish things.
  • No goal in mind: What are you trying to accomplish at the press conference. Most look like they have no goal other than to end the press conference.
  • Blow a gasket: When you see a coach do that, you know the question was what everyone was thinking. Being prepared keeps you from losing your cool. It shows poise under fire, it shows toughness, it shows preparedness. When you “go off” on a reporter, you are only setting yourself up for problems later.

Here is a good saying to remember coaches: There are no stupid questions, just stupid people who answer them. It’s time you start putting your own coaching philosophy into practice in the things you are required to do as a coach.

PS: Winning cures a lot of bad PR behavior, but when the winning stops…time to go back to the PR practice field.


Written by:

Mark wrote his first direct-mail fundraising letter in 1981 for the University of Iowa Center for Advancement. The effort raised a few million dollars in undiscovered wills and legacy gifts. From that day forward Mark discovered a love of the big idea that moves the needle. After 12 years at KWWL, Mark became a business owner as a co-founder of ME&V — rebranded as AMPERAGE in 2015. After 25 years of leading creative teams in video production, graphic design, PR, writing and web development, Mark transitioned out of ownership in 2021. Today he serves in an employee role as special projects consultant. He is creatively ambidextrous — son of an artist and engineer — and famous for distilling complex ideas down to a few words and a few visuals. Mark is a writer. When he found that many nonprofits struggled with complex branding puzzles, he wrote the book, “NonProfit-NonMarketing .” He also wrote a novel called “Reenactment.” Mark is an active blogger OneMinuteMarketer® with nearly 1,000 readers each week on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter. One of his most popular YouTube videos is on “How to Look Good on Zoom.” One of Mark’s fondest business memories was being named to INC 500 two times and attending the INC 500 conference with other winners. Mark is considered by some a Civil War expert (and that explains his novel). Mark also served as an adjunct professor in the business and in the communications departments at Wartburg College. Mark is a graduate of the University of Iowa and is currently vice president of the University of Iowa Journalism and Mass Communications Advisory Board. Mark is married to state Sen. Liz Mathis, and the two love to travel, even when it means being trapped by a volcano in the Czech Republic for three weeks.