The most important thing I ever learned about media relations I learned from my Grandmother at Thanksgiving

Every year as Thanksgiving approaches, I am reminded of the years I spent living with my grandparents in western Kansas as a small child. And, in particular, of the lessons I learned from my grandmother. It’s hard to think that my grandmother was wise beyond her years, given that she died quietly in her sleep at the incredible age of 100. But every day I spend in the PR profession her wisdom grows in direct relation to the homilies she imbedded forever in my brain.

She left a legacy of truisms like, “make sure your eyes aren’t bigger than your stomach,” “handsome is as handsome does,” “every little bit counts, says the old lady,” “the dark is only as dark as you make it…close your eyes, it’ll be lighter,” “never go to sleep chewing gum,” and my favorite that is my constant reminder to my fellow co-workers, “you’ve got to roll over the turkey to find the meat.”

You see my grandmother, who always went by her first name, Ann, never by “grandma,” grew up the youngest sibling in a very large family on a farm in the Midwest at the turn of the last century. Food was not exactly scarce, but nothing was wasted with so many mouths to feed. And sometimes on holidays when luck would have it that a large roast chicken or even turkey was the main stable of the table, this was particularly true. Being the youngest and the smallest, Ann was always the last to be served and inevitably faced with a turkey that was more carcass than drumstick or breast. But by rolling the carcass over she found what she was looking for, and what was to become her favorite part of that bird for the rest of her very long life…the back, with all of it’s meat tucked among the bones! She used to tell me that it was the most moist and flavorful part; and always neglected because it took extra effort to uncover it.

The point, as my associates at INK have heard me say ad nauseam, is you need to apply the same tenacity and determination to finding a receptive media home or reporter for that tough pitch. When all hope appears to be exhausted and your pitching landscape appears to be as barren as a holiday turkey carcass…roll it over one more time. There just might be some good meat tucked away that will make it all worthwhile.

And a Happy Thanksgiving to you all….Burp!

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