Media: Get the most out of the media!

The way the world communicates has changed considerably over the last 10 years. Today, there are social media for everything: communications, music, videos, studies, buying, selling, photos, restaurants, etc. Every day of our lives we use at least one of these apps.

We look at, “consume” and share news, images and opinions 24 hours a day. Be aware that, even if you’re a young athlete, as soon as you take part in international competitions, you automatically get media exposure. That is why, as an athlete, you also have to learn how to manage your own communications on social media, as well as in the traditional media.

Did you know ...

… that the use of social media varies a lot between countries, continents and regions?

Indeed, while Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat are widely used in Europe and America, Asia, especially China, prefers Weibo, Sina and Youku. In Russia, the biggest is VK. And this changes all the time. Each social network has a precise purpose. Before you get started, check which social network is the most popular in your country; find out its purpose; and establish its functionalities and how you communicate using it.

… that there are a number of tips to ensure the success of your post and build up a fan base?

Social media, and Facebook in particularly, change their algorithms regularly. This means the calculations which determine the prominence given to a post change. Here are some tips:

Be careful when your post goes online (the end of the afternoon is generally a good time).

Too many hashtags kill the hashtag (use two or three, but no more).

Mention the people who have a link to the post (that will include the friends of your friends, and will increase your fan base).

… that a big community of fans is very useful to athletes?

Sometimes, certain sports don’t get much media coverage, but athletes still manage to create a big fan base on social media, which offers great visibility for sponsors. Today, sponsors are interested in the number of an athlete’s followers and fans, so make sure you tell some interesting stories to attract people, in order to increase your fan base and attract sponsors.

… that there are risks linked to social media?

In fact, you need to be careful what you put online, as once it is there, you’ll have no further control over the content. You alone are responsible for what you say, publish and share. Don’t do anything in the heat of the moment. Everything can be taken and used out of context. Everyone is free to express themselves, but be sure that this doesn’t work against you. Be careful when you move onto subjects other than your sport and your passion, especially in areas linked to your personal views. It’s also important to make a distinction between your private account and your public account.

… that there are advantages to using social media?

Social media provide the perfect chance to tell your story and increase your visibility. To do this, try to choose your own style; and add short and regular posts with attractive visuals. Try to vary the content (photos, videos, training, results, travel, etc.). If you haven’t got anything special to say, don’t force yourself to post something. Just wait for the next opportunity. Remember that you can make or break your reputation with posts published too hastily, as these will be around on the internet for a long time to come.

… that there are tips for taking a good video selfie?

First of all, take the video horizontally. If you can, use the camera on the back, not just the camera for selfies, as the quality will be better. Try to use a tripod or another firm object to help stabilise your phone. Natural daylight is always the best, so try to take your video outside or near a window. Be careful about the noise around you. Try to find a quiet place with no echo. To find out more, watch this video.

… that you can easily produce excellent videos?

Thanks to the many free tools out there, you can edit your own videos. Pick your music carefully, try to keep the camera still when you shoot, and have a scenario ready before you start. Often, less is more. Keep things simple and be creative: use close-ups, wide angles or time lapses. Don’t forget that you can’t use third-party content without authorisation (music, videos, etc.), especially if this is for commercial purposes. You also need to have the permission of the people in your video before you post it.

When you are an athlete and start achieving good results, the media will start to take an interest in you. This is good news, but can sometimes be a bit intimidating. Having a camera thrust in your face or speaking into a mic isn’t as easy as it seems.

Like everything, you need to learn and train. Knowing what mistakes to avoid is an important skill that athletes need to master.

Treat the media as friends. After all, you’re the one with a story to tell, and the media are keen to hear it. So don’t get nervous but take advantage of the fact!

Here are some tips
  • Always be careful about your appearance.
  • Wear appropriate clothing and make sure that the names of your sponsors are visible (but always comply with Rules 40 and 50).
  • Pay attention to your body language. Keep your hands by your sides and don’t pull funny expressions.
  • Always look at the person asking you questions, not at the camera.
  • If you are taking part in a radio interview, warm up your voice beforehand (especially if this is in the morning)
  • Answer using short sentences.
  • Try not to be too critical of the judges, the organisation or your fellow competitors.
  • You can always ask for the questions in advance if you want to prepare for an interview.
  • Always ask to read the finished piece. Sometimes journalists are reluctant about this, but they are required to allow you to at least read your own quotes.
Athlete Learning Gateway

If you want to find out more about this topic, check out the “Sports Media – Creating Your Winning Profile” online course via the IOC’s Athlete Learning Gateway.

Prepare an interview sheet 1

To prepare yourself for interviews with the media, here is a preparation sheet.

Prepare an interview sheet 2

To prepare yourself for interviews with the media, here is a preparation sheet.

Selfie video tutorial

A few tips for taking a good selfie video