Marketing,PR Advice,Wine,Wine Blogger

Short and Sweet: What makes me be open to a PR query?

[This bridge image is stock photography that I purchased.]

I get more press releases via Email each day than I care to count.

How many of those queries get my attention? Maybe one or two.

Why do I delete most of them without even reading them, once I’ve opened the Email and give it the three second glance, then delete it?

Because it’s all about them. There’s absolutely nothing in it what-so-ever that has anything in it for me… or you.

My blog isn’t for any of the following:

  • Gold medal winners
    • There is a website for that one alawine.com. It will get that author’s attention, but not mine. I’m not building an award list.
    • The person’s obviously not read this blog with any consistency, because I’ve written this more than once (gold medals mean nothing to me), proving it’s all about them…
  • An event at your winery
    • I will post wine festivals, because readers have expressed gratitude for my doing that. These are good public service announcements, and PR people get that. Having worked in broadcasting for years, I have a sense of community, and publishing public service announcements is part of that. This is contrary to the opinion of some bloggers out there who have taken issue with this practice, saying that it’s a waste of time. I know it’s not a waste of my (or your) time, and “It’s my party. I can cry if I want to,” as the song goes.
  • Wine Clubs having a sale
    • This is an advertisement if I’ve ever heard of one, and I get those about two or three times a month.
  • Someone just got promoted.


Recently, I got the best query ever, and I – too – can learn from this new way of PR via Email.

It came from James Jordan. He works for Monvera Glass Décor, the story that you might have read earlier this week on this blog: Buying wines with one’s eyes, and Monvera Glass Décor. (Just scroll down, if you didn’t read it and you’re curious.)

James was pitching his company, but what was it that made James get through?

He made it about me, in a very personal way; then, he made it about his company.

He caught my attention… period.

He wrote:

“I enjoyed the Friday Fotos!  I think my favorite was the two lawn chairs overlooking the water. Looks like a place I’d like to spend my weekend.  I hope you have a nice one planned for yourself.

“I wanted to quickly introduce myself and offer my support for any upcoming pieces you might be planning about the art of wine labels.”

You need to know that what James was referring to was a video that I had published that day. That means that he had taken the time to open this link to Popham Beach and Fort Popham, by Jo Diaz, looked at all the images, made an assessment by being involved, and then made his pitch.

This was brilliant. I felt like I had a new BFF.

If this company hired James, and it did, the person doing the hiring also has to be very savvy… I like Monvera Glass Décor for a lot of reasons, including James, his approach, and the over-all quality of the entire experience.

That’s how to get through the clutter that’s bombarding everyone and anyone who has the ability to publish everything and anything.

It’s all about building bridges…

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6 Responses to “Short and Sweet: What makes me be open to a PR query?”

  1. Mark says:

    I couldn’t agree more with this article. Sunset Magazine ran a similar article a few years back. The disappointing thing to me is that there is a PR firm somewhere charging these folks to produce press releases and convincing them that they are having an impact in the market. I not only delete these but also report them as SPAM. I am watching this same bad behavior filter down to social media postings. There is very little worth reading or following out there from most wineries. Promoting sales, tweeting out wine definitions, etc. are not buidling bridges with the intended audience.


  2. Jo Diaz says:

    What’s really interesting, Mark, is that I’ve been writing press releases for the last 29 years. In the wine business, I’ve found myself arguing with clients about what they shouldn’t be sending to wine writers… Like, “I just got a GOLD medal.”

    “It’s not news,” I say. “It’s someone else’s opinion,” I offer. They don’t care… They don’t want to get it.

    I actually had one guy *order* me to write a press release for Wine Spectator, telling them that Wine Enthusiast has just given his wine a score of 90 points. I refused. He was irate, and that’s when he said, “You *will* do it for me.” I said, “Sorry, I’m not killing my own career.”

    Now, I get those releases constantly.

    And, you’re right… It’s not the clients, who have a PR company’s, fault. It’s the PR companies who don’t know how to do their jobs. I’d rather turn someone down, than let my writers down. They want *news* from me that they can use… pure and simple.

  3. James Jordan says:

    All too kind, Jo!

    Your insights about the PR world are invaluable to me. I didn’t expect the responses I got from you through our communication – but I was definitely encouraged by them. I think it’s a real challenge to make a pitch (still feel uncomfortable diluting it to that) without sounding smarmy or impersonal. It should take a lot more effort than clicking “send” on a generic email to a media list. (At least, as I’ve learned, if you want valuable connections like Jo Diaz.)

    Your points about Press Release strategy are also of great interest to me. The suggestion was recently made to us that we should put out a press release a month, regardless of whether we have something particularly newsworthy to share. My first question was, “Won’t that undermine our legitimacy with media outlets?” The response was that of indifference – because in this case, the motivation was entirely about SEO. I’m sympathetic to that position, even though I disagree with putting out “fluff” press releases. It’s so difficult to generate backlinks – which seem to be a huge determining factor in how visible pages are on search engines. For many, SEO press releases are the quick “solution” – but it sounds to me from your comment above that a practice like that can have very negative effects when you actually DO have real news to share. Is that the right conclusion?

    Thanks again for the recognition and kind words, Jo. You’ve made my week. 🙂

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    James… the answer to this reminds me of the “Boy Who Cried Wolf” story.

    SEO be damned… Bombarding someone with inconsequential information means that you’ll be blocked from submitting anything. I’ve got plenty of people I’ve blocked, and will continue to do so. Big numbers in research does not equal happy customers or people willing to tell your story on the other end. Does popping up first in searches mean that much to whomever? If yes, continue to play your corporate game… That’s capitalism for you…

  5. James Jordan says:

    I was also thinking of “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”! You’ve definitely confirmed my thoughts on the issue. Thanks Jo!

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    You’re welcome, James.

    When a company is using PR and marketing, it needs to think of the audience, first. It’s not what’s in it for the company (even though they think it is).

    It’s about giving someone writing something to pique his/her curiosity. As you just learned with me, you gave first… therefore, you got… But you GAVE, not TOOK from me. My time, my energy, etc.

    The way it was suggested to you is what we all know and think of as SPAM. Whoever is of that opinion needs to rethink the directive.

    Free advice… May no have no value, because it’s “free,” but it’s for real.

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