There are two issues within this blog posting:

  1. Marketing rule 101, know your audience
  2. Writing rule 101, know how to write your message

Marketing rule 101: know your audience for your awards

People who sell your wine should love to hear about your gold medals. Once awarded, sales support happens with a shelf talker. Great sales people are thrilled that you have this distinction, passing along that enthusiasm to really engaged retailers, also appreciate this selling point. Here is your audience.

Some People who buy your wine will love the news, too. They’ll buy it, and they’ll tell their friends what a prestigious wine they’re serving. It’s a good talking point at dinner, if your guests need that kind of validation. Here is your audience.

If you live in a small town, tell your local newspaper. Here is your audience. They’re always looking to fill space with their residents’ news. A magazine,  wine writer, or wine blogger has no use for this, unless it’s alawine.com (Super Award Winning Wines), which only writes about gold medal wines.

Wine writers are not going to be loving that you’ve just received a bunch of gold medals, however. Writers are looking for something earth shattering, not more medals from ABC Winery about XYZ’s competition results. Wine writers are not your audience.

In a marketing class where I was presenting last year, this came up by one of the students. At the time I tried to explain this, but the person only wanted to know how to write it. I said, “don’t write it.” Steve Heimoff backed me up. He gets those press releases all the time. Now, because of my blog, so do I. I just got one this morning, talking about every single gold medal that was just received. Honestly, I delete these press releases faster than I do spam. Why? It’s completely irrelevant to me.

Knowing your audience will guarantee your success.

Writing rule 101: know how to write your message

If you send a newsletter to someone, don’t presume that that person knows everything about you. Only God can keep up with everything, especially with the Internet now being so interactive with Web 2.0.

I just read this in an Email to me, and it set me off to the fact that I’m not God.

“By now you know that a couple of months ago we poured at the Master Table during the SF Wine Competition Public Tasting and thousands of wine lovers like you were exposed to our wonderful wine.”

Business writing 101:

  1. RUN ON SENTENCES: No sentence should be longer then 20 words, unless it’s absolutely impossible to shorten the sentence.  This is what causes run on sentences. (Above: 36 words)
  2. PUNCTUATION: Use it.
  3. CLAUSES: Independent clauses are supported by dependent clauses, and separated by commas.
  4. CAPITALIZATION:  It’s reserved for proper names, only.
  5. IN BUSINESS, HIRE A PRO: Put your best foot forward. If you can’t business write, hire someone who can or take a business writing course. (Winemakers study winemaking procedures. Marketing people study sales techniques. PR people study the Gregg Reference Manual.)

Edited:

“On March 5, we poured at the Master Table during the SF Wine Competition public tasting. Thousands of wine lovers learned about our wonderful wines.”

  1. This is easily two sentences.
  2. I could have put a comma after the word “table,” and would have if this were a pure business document, to separate the independent and dependent clauses. Since it’s intended for consumers and media, it can be more casual, so I left that extra comma out of the sentence.
  3. Give an actual date. A “couple of months ago” is too nebulous for both kinds of writing.
  4. “Public Tasting” is just something that happens, and isn’t a proper name. It’s just something that occurred.
  5. The word “exposed…” It’s an odd word in this context, and made me think of a flasher, just sayin’ …
  6. Left out, “By now you know.” This phrase presumes that the reader knows everything about you. This is exactly where I got lost (at the all-important very beginning), because I don’t know everything. I – we – all have a lot to learn and know in life. It’s impossible for anyone to know where everyone was, at every single event.

While this feedback seems harsh (I feel like Simon Cowell), it’s just a reality check for what not to write (feel like Stacy London and Clinton Kelly).

The author was writing with passion, I’ll give the person that much. I’m sure that maturity in writing will come with time… Or, better yet, here’s the business writing four step writing process. I paid a lot of money to learn this, and spent 20 hours a week for 16 weeks to learn how to be precise. It’s now my gift to anyone searching on “The four step writing process.”

BUSINESS WRITING RULE:

  1. Think about what you’re going to write.
  2. Write it.
  3. Edit it.
  4. Rewrite it.

In this rule is also an unwritten rule:

  1. After you rewrite it, edit it.
  2. Rewrite it.
  3. Edit it.
  4. Rewrite it.
  5. Forever, until it’s a near perfect as it can possibly be.
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