Three media relations tips taken from the habits of hobbits
I am one of THOSE people. I love Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit. I read all the books, I go to the midnight premieres of the movies, I wouldn’t rule out wearing a costume and I speak a little Elvish. So when I was challenged by a coworker to write a blog post about the media relations tips that can be learned from The Hobbit, I rose to the challenge. After all, that’s what the dwarves of the Lonely Mountain would do…
Open yourself up for networking – on the mountain and in media relations
Our hero Bilbo Baggins wouldn’t have gotten very far had he not hooked up with Gandalf – who then introduced him to the dwarves – who then connected him to Beorn, and more.
The old adage, “it’s not what you know, it’s who you know” certainly rings true as a media relations tip. Knowing the right people at the right places can help get your foot in the door or help things happen. Building a network of journalist contacts has helped me to meet other reporters and contacts who have helped me greatly in my career.
Networking is crucial to success in media relations.
Bilbo’s epic adventure is one of the most appropriate examples of heroism and personal growth found in literature. He has to face spiders, goblins and Gollum, an enraged dragon and forces much bigger than himself. He also has to face loneliness and isolation.
While dealing with journalists and media contacts is not quite the same as slaying dragons, media relations does require a fair amount of courage and confidence! You’ll never place the story or land a new project if you don’t have the courage to speak up and add your professional insight.
The reality is rejection is part of media relations. If Bilbo turned back the first time he was told no, or encountered a specific obstacle, he would have never made his journey. An important media relations tip is to learn from those “nos” and try, try, try again. Some of my greatest media placements came after the third, fourth or even fifth phone call.
And the best media relations Tip: Keep Singing
When Bilbo encountered obstacles, what did he do? Did he run and hide? Well, yes, to some extent he did…but he eventually greeted the obstacles head on and with conviction, while preserving his life. Successful public relations professionals keep the same approach in mind. When a journalist says no or client doesn’t like a proposal, we pick ourselves back up, brush ourselves off and learn from our mistakes and add to our arsenal of media relations tips so we’re better prepared for the next time. We keep singing – we sing our clients’ praises, we sing our industry’s praises. Just like Bilbo.
Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.
Contributed by Carrie Phillippi