Ted Lasso has stolen the hearts of soccer fanatics and people who just love a good story alike. Today marks the release of the 3rd season of the show that follows a successful American football coach (played by Jason Sudeikis) who is hired to be the manager of a Premier League English soccer team, AFC Richmond.
Sounds like an impossible task, right?
With no experience coaching soccer, Lasso is a puzzling choice, but he finds a way to make breakthroughs with both the team and himself during his journey. This union obviously leads to some hilarious and heart-wrenching moments along the way as the show spotlights mental health, fatherhood, what it means to be a team and so much more, all while having a good laugh.
While the show is dishing out heavy life lessons, there are some practical public relations lessons we can learn, too. Yes, in this silly show about a man from the Midwest not understanding what the offside rule is, you can still find an insightful outlook on how to tackle the world of PR.
So, let’s jump in, shall we? (Warning there are light spoilers ahead for both seasons one and two, so bookmark this page and come back to it if you haven’t already seen the show.)
Play as a team
One of Ted’s biggest challenges is getting AFC Richmond to play as a cohesive team. It can be said that he certainly has some unusual tactics to get through to players or methods of training. However, his team responds and it leads them to believe in themselves and run the “Lasso special,” an American football play, during a soccer match.
Teamwork is so important both within a PR agency and with clients. Collaboration is key in order to produce the best possible results. Secured a pie-in-the-sky byline opportunity on behalf of a client? Score! As you’re writing the byline, ask for input and edits from your teammates to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward to the client and the media. At other times, there could be a situation where you have to create something that (you think) is brand new and never-before-seen to aid a client, but I can almost guarantee someone on your team has done something similar already and can give a piece of advice or two.
Working through media opportunities isn’t just a collaborative effort within an agency, it is also a collaborative effort with a client. It is important to discuss strategies, goals and expectations with a client to understand what they are looking for and make sure their needs are best being met. This can include in-depth conversations, regular check-ins and more, and it is important to go the extra mile to make sure you are working together as a team to tell a cohesive story. While it may not be as drastic as playing two different kinds of football at once, it is still working as a team.
Tell the full story
My all-time favorite scene from “Ted Lasso” is the notorious darts scene between Rupert and Ted. Rupert, AFC Richmond’s former owner, agrees to a game of darts with Ted, while drastically underestimating Ted’s ability to play darts. Ted ultimately wins the dart game, effectively hustling Rupert in a way that is a delight to fans of the show. Had Rupert bothered to learn Ted’s story, he may have been able to avoid being humiliated in a bar full of AFC Richmond fans.
As public relations professionals, one of the essential functions of our job is to tell the story of our client. At our core we are storytellers. We craft and share information that should be public knowledge for a variety of reasons, but we have to ask questions and assess how to best tell the story of a new product or of a board transition or respond to a crisis, and any other number of campaigns and initiatives.
Be curious, not judgmental. To do our jobs correctly, we must tell the full story to better inform our audiences so that maybe they don’t make the same mistake as Rupert.
Media training is important
Have you ever seen someone speak and thought, “Wow, they have no idea what is going on”? In Ted Lasso’s very first press conference, he shows a distinct lack of soccer knowledge. Nobody bothered to train him to interact with British sports media… Or teach him the basic rules of soccer. This leaves everyone laughing at him, including the media.
Ted’s first press conference is a lesson in media training. Obviously, at the beginning of the show, AFC Richmond’s owner Rebecca Welton wants Ted to fail on purpose because of how much the club meant to her ex-husband Rupert. This tricky situation would explain the lack of media training, but in contrast to how Rebecca originally felt about Ted, we actually want our clients to succeed.
If you have an important upcoming speaking engagement or interview or if you want to be leveraged for further media opportunities, media training should always be on the table. We want our clients to be prepared for anything that could come their way, including being asked if they are a joke – but hopefully no English reporter from the Independent goes there.
“Get to the f***ing point.” – Roy Kent (probably)
Roy Kent can be described as nothing short of… Angry? He’s got a certain fire within him that comes out through multiple expletives that can’t really be listed within this blog. Through his anger, Kent is often short and blunt. He’s a man that gets to the point. As PR professionals, we can take a tool or two from Roy Kent. No, it’s not to include expletives in our pitches or press releases, but we can get to the point.
It’s important to make sure that your writing is clear and concise. Reporters often don’t have the time, nor do they really want, to read long-winded pitches. When we provide pitches that get directly to the point with a clear call to action, journalists are more likely to synthesize this information into a story, and we are more likely to secure quality coverage for our clients.
Be a goldfish
One of Ted’s first pieces of advice to AFC Richmond player Sam Obisanya was to “be a goldfish,” because they have the shortest memory of any animal on earth. Sam messes up later in the season and recounts Ted’s advice, forgets the earlier mistake, and contributes to the team in a positive way.
Candidly, I am a recent college grad and my advice to my fellow new PR professionals is to be a goldfish and have a short memory. Written a pitch you don’t love? Completely stuck on a press release? Say something silly in a client call and don’t know why you even said it? That is OK. It happens to the most experienced PR pros. To our clients, did you stumble in a media interview? Forget a key statistic? Feel unprepared to answer a question? No worries – that’s why you have Dittoe PR to help.
What is important is the way you move past the stumble. There are always going to be more opportunities to show what you can do, just be a goldfish and move forward, you’ve got this.
While we may never know the complexities of managing a Premier League soccer team, we are able to realize that communicating effectively is no doubt a key part of it. As silly as the show may be, we are able to learn so many lessons on how to better prepare clients and how to promote their stories.
Interested in how Dittoe PR tackles telling a story with the same determination as Ted? Read more about how we can help here.