I started writing my first book because I loved the subject and I was as passionate about building athletic brands. However, I also knew that by writing and publishing a book, I would receive a certain level of legitimacy within the industry that I ultimately wanted to become part of. I recognized that, good or bad, having a book often elevated the author in the minds of his or her audience. Perhaps as important, the book opened doors to influencers within the industry who may have otherwise not return calls. I was suddenly connected to people in and around athletics that I had no relationship to previously.
Your influence within your sport will provide you with just enough intrigue to get your foot in the door, but it’s not enough. You need a platform to speak from. You need to prove your worth and authenticity within the community you’re looking to join. You need to earn respect. Create your own public voice, and build the reputation of a thought leader.
That doesn’t mean you need to write a book, although I would encourage anyone to put his or her passion on paper. In today’s digital age, there are endless opportunities to find platforms to speak from that take less time and less investment than a book. Additionally, more and more of the major media outlets are giving athletes a voice to communicate on a variety of subjects. Derek Jeter, for example, formed The Players Tribune to “provide athletes with a platform to connect directly with their fans, in their words.” With these outlets come, in many cases, significant audiences, which means you are not responsible for finding readers.
If you are passionate about a subject, then you no doubt have an opinion. That opinion will drive your narrative. Write it down and pitch media outlets that align with your brand and bring with them the appropriate audience.