How to present yourself

Image by Billy Alexander from

After Rollercon several new sites appeared on Facebook.  One is Roller Derby PR which is a needed meeting place of representatives of leagues who are trying to present their organizations to media, fans, potential sponsors, and the communities as a whole.

You have quite a story to tell and the willingness of the PR and other directors to help the new, the confused or whomever is extremely impressive.  But how to do it on the best basis appears to be quite an issue.

I have to admit, the name Roller Derby is a blessing and a curse.  Modern Roller Derby, although basically the same game from which the old one is derived, is a much different animal.  And as there are more and more stories, TV and web features, there appears to be a couple of patterns in which the current leagues are shown.

There are two recent videos from BBC and ITV television in Britain.  To show the lack of awareness, BBC either ignored or didn’t know that there are some 70 leagues in the UK, and their reporter in South Florida did a pleasant feature on a great league in the Sunshine state.  And the opening footage was of 50’s Roller Derby and then had two girls fighting.  And the focus was how Roller Derby is back in the US (no mention of the 1015 leagues at this moment worldwide).  The ITV was a longer piece and featured a “presenter” as they are called on that side of the pond visiting an English league and “skating’ with them (a man, by the way).  Again, very pleasant.

So it seems there are two variances of when a league is able to get TV coverage (which everyone should strive for):  Rock ’em sock ’em Roller Derby is back, or a housewife, school teacher, psychologist has a full-time life and also skates in this current women’s hobby thing, Roller Derby.

Nothing wrong with that, but as one comment mentioned, why do all these cute pieces have to be the same?

What is TV looking for?  fillers, personality pieces, oddball features, etc.  How can you change that or do you even want to?

One of the benefits of having the 400 plus joining Roller Derby PR is creating a unified POV that can change as is required.  What if instead of sending out the usual press release or newsletter or posting on your site that gives the next game, the score of the last game, who scored, etc, you create a semi-standard paragraph that most can use.  For example, modern Roller Derby was started in 2002, and has spread from a few leagues in a few states to well over 1000 today in 36 countries encompassing some 40,000 participants.

All leagues are amateur, no skaters are paid, they volunteer for community activities, etc, etc,…….And build some stars, with photos and bios so people will be intrigues to see Battling Betty Page, the skating Brain surgeon and mother of three, etc.  And if you are a WFTDA league or some other that has a championship tourney, stress how the upcoming match may determine your qualification to get into the regional tourney and maybe make it to the finals in Denver or whatever……many of your fans have no idea what meaning your games have.

Stress the seriousness of the sport, the national championship, the different types of leagues, the upcoming World Cup, teams and players involved (big story!) and of course your league is a part of this worldwide association…..And check out Derby over 40 on Facebook:  almost 500 have signed on and many are over 50 who are skating…..that is a story in itself, and you will find many others within your league.

Take it outside your local story, although that is obviously a big part of it.  Make certain you distribute to all media to expand your base; sometimes it may seem all you get is friends and families to your games.  And you want to send on a consistent basis, not just when there are games.

It seems like too many stories because someone suddenly discovers “Roller Derby is Back”.  It is really up to you to let them know this is a serious sport far more over ground than even any of you realize, and you want to be treated with respect and admiration.  Not all will want to get away from the pat on the head features as that is at least some coverage, but everyone within your organization must be prepped on what to say and feature if they are interviewed;  and that is why I suggest you create your own version of what I state above so it becomes your continuing mantra.