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PR Advice,Profiles,Wine,Wine Etiquette,Winemaker,Winery

PR is a relational process, not a strategized solution; Furthermore, Publicity is a Gift, not a Given

I’ve long wanted to write about the two little ~ but very important ~ words “thank you.” I’ve been running at such a fast clip, there were many other things that seemed more important and/or pressing.

Delia Viader of Viader in Napa Valley just inspired me to finally get this one written, reminding me how this is such an elemental part of PR, but practiced by so few.

Saying “thank you” for some is so basic and elemental. To others, it’s something that mom tried to instill in her children’s daily life, but it’s now forgotten in this busy, adult world.

In the writing world, it’s such a rare occurrence for an author to hear “thank you” after a story’s been published. This just isn’t in balance with the process, which is why I’ve wanting to have this under the title of PR Advice on this blog.

Here’s the imbalance:

WRITER:

  • researches
  • gathers information
  • organizes info
  • calls
  • travels
  • interviews
  • writes
  • rewrites the story wordsmithing it over and over again (usually)
  • receives a stipend for the process

SUBJECT:

  • may have been involved in the process to “chat”
  • receives exposure for the process

Writers are not as well paid as we imagine them to be, said she who’s been published enough to know. The story make take 20 to 30 hours, but compensation is fairly minimal unless you’ve hit it really big, like J.K. Rowlings did.

As a result of a story being written about someone, the person receives an endorsement that’s good as an unpaid advertisement. There may be minimal out of pocket expenses for this person (perhaps lunch for the author). The person who’s the subject of the story becomes increasingly more recognized as a result of the publicity. It’s to the person’s benefit to involved in the process.

If a thank you note becomes a part of the process by those interviewed, it may take all of 15 minutes; however, the 15 minutes that it takes to say “thank you” is now worth its weight in gold.

Why?

Because only about one percent of those who are the subject of a story ever slow down long enough to say, “Thanks!” This means that you now stand high above the crowd… Not because you had a strategized solution. (Don’t do it for this purpose, because you’ll negate all that goes before it.) You stand out because you’ve successfully worked a relational process.

“PR is a relational process, not a strategized solution. PR’s a gift, not a given.” became my number one saying from working as a publicist for so many people who were anxious to immediately see their names in print, and so impatient with the process. This was born from a needed explanation that would put it in perspective for a client who might need a bit of insight.

With Delia, I just experienced over-the-top graciousness, and she’s what/who finally inspired me to share my thoughts about PR being the gift that it is.

In this case, all I did was include Delia in my Napa Valley images posting, which may have taken me all of 20 minutes to write and upload the image of her beautiful vineyard.

Meanwhile, Delia signed and had delivered a 2003 Viader Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon magnum, which she signed with a personal message. Everyone knows that this kind of special gift will either never be opened, or only opened with someone who truly understands the magnitude of her Viader magnum.

Delia’s a perfect example of why parents work so hard to instill manners into their children’s ethics for future success.

In communications back and forth as she thanked me for including her, which began with Delia thanking me for the inclusion, I wrote, “You’re the exception, because you have a sense of thankfulness for every single little bit of publicity… I didn’t write a feature, just mentioned our earlier time together… I have an elephant memory for visits I have with people of distinction. Just a couple of weeks ago I thanked a writer for his including one of my clients in a story he had written, and he wrote back, ‘Do you realize how few people ever say thank you?’ I told him ‘yes,’ because I write as well as do PR. The return is about one percent.”

Delia’s gift was an extraordinary outreach, and as we continued to communicate back and forth – because now I really had to thank her – Delia told me that it was because she’s enjoyed what I’ve written about her and her wine was given in the vein of friendship.

Aha… “friendship” is the relational, operative word… the gift this time was given to me, a complete turn around, and (we all know) what goes around comes around.

We’re both strong believers in karma, and that’s what it’s all about, really.

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