PUBLISIDE is a press agent, media liaison and brand builder
An accidental job as a sports reporter led Gail Sideman to work in an industry that helps shape public opinion.
After she received a thank you note from a coach about whom she wrote, her editor wondered if she could remain objective. While she was sure she could, it also signaled a shift. She thought, wouldn’t it be fun to actually be on someone’s team? Thus began her work as a sports publicist.
Whether it’s a light that shines on someone’s personality, athletic highlights or funky talents that separate a public figure from the pack, Sideman’s job as a publicist lets her grow and learn as she shares others’ stories with the media and public.
In 20-plus years, little has changed in Sideman’s professional mission: make publicity less taxing for clients, more helpful for media and always keep the audience in mind.
A challenge in 21st Century media is to decipher what qualifies as news, and identify appropriate media with which to share it. Another, however, is to pick the right tool. In an era of social media, the toolbox grows each day.
Charles Davis, the lead college football and NFL analyst for FOX Sports and NFL Network said that Sideman emphasized his personality, knowledge and personal road to a television career as he tiptoed and she guided him into social media.
“After Gail spent some time talking with, and then walked me through how to use Twitter and I began tweeting, I discovered that there are plenty of people that like to hear about my job and travels and people I have met,” Davis said. “They like to respond with stories, and opinions of their own.
“Social media allows me to connect with a great group of people. Good stuff that Twitter, but only because of Gail. She’s the expert on all things media related.”
Sideman said that messages bombard us each day, so her challenge, in tandem with clients, is to break through the noise with spectacular stories that others appreciate.
A Wisconsin native, Sideman studied and worked at the University of South Florida before she branched out to other areas of the United States. While she values that people entrust their brands and publicity guidance to her, she makes no secret that her most treasured role is “Auntie Gail.”
“Kids want advice on their fantasy football picks? I help them at moment’s notice — with the disclaimer I can only pick winners some of the time, of course!”