Wine Business Monthly’s April Edition just came out and they had a really great article in it, “How Public Relations Has Changed” by Julie Ann Kodmur. She talks about the good ole’ days when just a winemaker dinner or wine tasting event got press. But those events are now just par for the course.
A few things have changed:
1. Everyone is a publisher, even the wine producers.
The article talks about the rise of social media and the importance of the blog in wine public relations (PR), but it might be more inspiring to look at it this way. Media production has evolved, but the fundamentals are the same. There are 3 departments for every media production company (think newspapers). There is audience development (subscriptions, online readers, news stands); Engagement, which are the news articles, comics, columns and coupons; Revenue, which for media companies is largely advertising revenue.
In the new wine PR world, these 3 departments are now the responsibility of a PR firm or in-house PR/marketing team for a winery. They have to build their audience via Facebook fans, Twitter followers and email subscribers. They are responsible for engaging the audience with great storytelling via blog posts, video and sweepstakes. And these stories can get the attention of wine writers as well and leverage the wine writers audiences’ attention. These efforts are what should drive sales for the brand (revenue). Unlike the newspapers who generate sales via advertising, the winery/publisher can use strategic planning to sell more wine to these audiences they are engaging.
2. Audiences are now fragmented
As an ex-journalist, this is actually a sad realization that people are not getting exposed to new ideas or ideas that challenge their current beliefs because now anyone can pick their resources for news that conforms to their beliefs. Gone are the days where 3 channels and 2 local newspapers provided all the news.
Now there are infinite resources for the wine consumer to get the information that they prefer. An example of this diversification is the amount of wine bloggers, online consumer review sites and traditional point system publications; each cater to different audiences. And as a PR consultant, they have to be on top of them all.
This makes it more challenging for the PR executive. James Caudill, director of public relations and hospitality for The Hess Collection, says in the WB article “Where I used to focus on a small number of influencers, I consider now that nearly anyone I engage is an influencer for someone, so I try and treat everyone with an equal measure of interest and respect.”
3. The Media is more Resourceful
I have been itching to write a single blog post about this topic; the media now expects your website to include a press kit. Make sure to have a page on your website labeled “Trade & Media” so that they can easily gather most of the information they need to include your wine brand in their news story.
Include downloads on this webpage for:
A. High Resolution Photos
C. Wine Fact Sheets
D. Brand Style Guide
E. Wine History
What hasn’t changed . . .
The great story.
See how I mentioned above that media producers have to have a great story to engage their audience? This has always been the case. But now wineries have more resources – websites, social media and video to tell these stories and distribute this message. But you have to be sure it is a story that your audience will enjoy or you will loose your audience’s attention and it will not achieve your objectives.
Use your blog as your publishing platform and push the story out from there to your media contacts, social media fans and email subscribers.
But beware . . .
As you have noticed I am a blogger. Just like wineries I build my brand identity with my blog. It helps me connect with the patrons that respect my work and weed out the ones that just won’t jive with my style. I think this is the one mistake I see wine blogs make. They are too careful and they don’t try hard enough in the blog to connect with the ones that matter and weed out the rest.
Don’t be afraid to be different. Being like everyone else will never get you coverage from journalists nor the direct attention of fans. They will overlook you because they cannot connect with you. Give them something to connect with or you will loose them. And don’t worry about the ones that don’t get you, they aren’t your consumers and never will be.