In a a week and a half, I’ll be taking the stage with a pair of like-minded fellow wine bloggers at the request of Vineyard and Winery Management magazine’s Tina Caputo, to talk about (how terrible most) wine PR (is), as part of the upcoming Wineries + Breweries Unlimited Trade Show & Conference in Richmond, VA.
I don’t expect to see many 1WD readers at the conference, namely because it’s not really a taste-all-kinds-of-awesome-juice-and-chat-with-winemakers event, and more of a place-to-be-to-check-out-developments-in-labeling-bottle-technology type of event. I do, however, expect that there will be some interesting take-aways from our panel discussion, the focus of which is how to approach (pitch) bloggers.
Unlike some of my fellow wine blogging compatriots, I do not see PR as evil, and I received quite a divisive reaction when I publicly stated so here on 1WD back in November of 2011. I do, however, see wine biz PR as mostly lazy, an attribute it shares with just about 95% of all U.S. service industries. They have a difficult job, and the difficulty curve of that job got pushed a little closer towards the Impossible axis over the last seven years or so with the explosion of wine blogs and alternative wine media voices that ended up garnering influence and splintering fine wine media consuming audiences…
That changing situation has brought out the best in some, and the worst in a lot more of the others. The PR laziness on display – from poorly written form letters to impersonal requests for blatant promotion – is, in a word, astounding.My current favorite pitch to hate: the “I’d really appreciate if you’d share this news/event/whatever with all of your followers… despite the fact that you don’t know me, and you’re not involved in the event/product/etc., and really I’m just asking to exploit your readership and telling you that I think you’re such a dumb-ass that you’d simply regurgitate my poorly executed press release for me” pitch. My response to those emails is to hit the DELETE key and to mutter the phrase “yeah, well, I’d really appreciate if you mowed my lawn, babysat my kid so I could take my wife out on a date, and then gave me a back rub; how about instead, you just print out a picture of Chuck Norris and use it to punch yourself in the face with, and I just give you the finger, and then we call it even?”
In my experience, that PR laziness is creating an amazing opportunity for relationship-building – the kind that blossoms into quality media content about their clients – for those wine PR folk who are willing to expend a bit of extra effort in their outreach. I’ll be bringing those thoughts – plus my usual brand of say-what-everyone-is-thinking-but-isn’t-talking-about-directly-because-they’re-too-polite tough love – to Richmond, which means they might yet regret extending me the invitation (but I hope not). Here are the session details, for those who are interested:
Meet the Bloggers
Panel discussion with three top wine bloggers
Moderator: Tina Caputo, Editor-in-chief, Vineyard and Winery Management magazine
Description: Panel discussion with three of the industry’s most influential wine bloggers. Panelists will reveal the types of stories and issues that pique their interest, how they approach their blogs and wine reviews, and the type of communications they’d like to receive from wineries.
Speakers: Fredric Koeppel, BiggerThanYourHead.net; Joe Roberts, 1WineDude.com; David White, Terroirist.com
When: Wednesday March 12, 10:00 a.m. – 10:45 a.m.
You can check out more about the event (which, at nearly forty years old, is the East Coast’s longest-running wine/beer B2B conference/trade show) at www.wineriesunlimited.com. Since this does involve both the wine and beer industries, if we’re lucky, somebody there should have some beer to share…