PR As Hoops: Following Your Own Shot

Playing basketball over the years, I’ve been pretty adept at offensive rebounding, even if I was no Dennis Rodman (pictured).

Often, it’s because I’ve known better than anyone else on the court exactly how that shot I just took was going to careen wildly off the rim.

I try to adopt the same mindset in life–following up with new acquaintances, old friends and assorted family members in my personal life and, of course, the media in my professional pursuits.

Once they say “yes” to a story, then there’s a fair chance they’ll say “sure, why not?” if I suggest a follow-up piece months or even years later.

When I was a newspaper reporter, a solid chunk of my work was following up on one story or another, whether it was my “Where Are They Now?” columns for The (Elgin, Ill.) Courier News in the early 1990s or keeping track of criminal cases, municipal matters or any variety of news threads that I, or even a colleague, had begun at some point in the past.

This all comes to mind on the heels of Windy City Sports’
recent feature story on Wayne Arner.

He is a member of Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, a client of mine. There, Wayne has transformed his fitness level over the past 2 1/2 years from overweight and easily fatigued to his current stature as a rock-hard triathlete to be reckoned with.

What’s so fun about Wayne’s story is that it’s far from over–he’s just now beginning to hit his stride. And now that he’s been featured in publications like Pioneer Press and Windy City Sports, and on sites like, there’s a natural media interest in checking in on how he’s faring, in order to update readers.

I’ve promised Wayne we won’t use up all of his 15 minutes of fame, but I’ll do my best to fill up as much of that span as possible!

PR Resolution: Give Media Plenty of Lead Time

If it’s January 2, then that must mean it’s time to start seriously brainstorming some Valentine’s Day story suggestions.

Though the romantic holiday may seem way off on the horizon–a full 43 days away–a recent story in Pioneer Press newspapers reaffirms that it’s never too soon to start planting story seeds with the media. In late October, I sent a news release to print and television media about the fitness transformation of Wayne Arner (pictured, with son Tommy).

Arner is a member of Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook, a client of Inside Edge PR for the past two years.

At the time, I was trying to be as timely as possible, in the wake of Arner’s competing in a national triathlon championship. You can read about him, and my initial PR approach, in this Inside Edge blog post on Oct. 27, 2008.

Of course, Arner’s dramatic weight-loss is a timeless story–and is especially timely as an inspirational and educational New Year’s Resolution piece. And that’s just what Pioneer Press staff writer Mary Graham did in a recent story bearing the headline “Man of Resolution.”

Graham also wrote a sidebar to the Arner profile that included input from Drew Surinsky, who has trained members at Five Seasons Sports Club, as well as Marie Pearson, the club’s group fitness director.

A remarkably versatile trainer in her own right, Pearson is the one who first tipped me off to Arner’s story and offers important tips for anyone seeking better fitness.

Wayne Arner: From Huff & Puff To Buff

By my calculations, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas consume precisely three days of the calendar.

But somehow it all translates into a two-month comfort-and-junk food fest, when people tend to pack on some additional pounds. (OK, I’m projecting from my own experience–it’s my seasonal pattern, anyway!)

So it was with great admiration that in developing a news release on his triathlon journey, I recently interviewed Wayne Arner, a member of Five Seasons Sports Club in Northbrook. It began in September 2006, when he tipped the scales at 206 pounds and resolved to dip his toe in the water, literally, at the Five Seasons’ indoor pool.

Since then, via these two photographs, you can see the distance his fitness has traveled: above, with his daughter, Annie, in 2005; and below, in a national triathlon championship in Oregon last month.

For anyone who has ever huffed and puffed after, say, swimming only a brief distance, as was the case with Wayne two years ago, let this news release serve as inspiration.

And this sidebar release, drawn from insights shared by Five Seasons Sports Club Group Fitness Director Marie Pearson, is your caution.