Marketing,Public Relations,Social media,Wine,You've Got to Be Kidding Me

Okay, I just did something very naughty + How more ridiculous does it get out there?

Imagine getting a press release from a huge PR firm in New York City, and the title of the person contacting me is Manager, Social Media and ePR. What a great title, huh?

I get queries all the time now, from one firm or another, coming out of big cities.

  • Most of the people behind the wheel are asleep, I’m sorry to say.
  • The amount of unfocused Emails are significant enough that I finally wrote and published NoMoreNewStories.com ~ Swimming in a Sea of Queries.
  • This way, I can give some reading material back to them. It’s only good turn-about fair play, I’m thinking.

In a recent interview, between Josh Zelman and Gary Vee, entitled, Gary Vaynerchuk: “99.5 Percent Of Social Media Experts Are Clowns” (TCTV), Gary said what I came away from this latest E-Mail thinking, as well as the second query… following this one.

The following are two classic examples of what made Gary Vaynerchuk make the statement he made about “social media experts” leaving a lot to be desired.


Okay, so this is what I did that’s pretty naughty, just to test the waters to see if the person querying me had any understanding at all about what’s going on.

What this person wanted me to write about is a winery’s wine pairing with a restaurant for a tasting. Earth shattering? No, not so much. I’m writing my journal about being in the wine business, and this is going on everyday, isn’t it? How does it connect to Wine Blog?

So, anyway… This is what I was asked to do. “Please share the news about… with your readers on Wine Miles.”

Wine Miles???

Well, I had a good chuckle. Wine Miles is an aggregator. The site takes content from people’s blogs and publishes it like we’re all their authors. They’ll gladly take anyone down if requested; but for now, I don’t care. People are reading my stories in more than one place (obviously). I’m okay with that. The crux of this request to have it placed on Wine Miles is the ridiculous part. This person assumed that I’m with Wine Miles, not with Wine Blog.

So, I wrote back, “Wine Miles aggregates me. I have no control whether or not they’ll grab info from wine-blog.”

The reply back to me was, “I understand. Thanks for letting me know!”

Oh, boy… This is a Manager, Social Media and ePR person. Shouldn’t this person – manager, no less – understand what being aggregated means? Shouldn’t this person have then said, “Oh, my bad… Could you please put it up on Wine Blog?

That’s what I would have done, because I’ve been at Social Media since it began. My blog was up in 2005.

What is the most amazing thing to me is this… Big wine companies will hire someone from outside of the wine business to do their work. If the firm is based in New York, LA, or Chicago, they must be better at what they’re doing than people who live in wine country, do the sames jobs, and are more deeply connected to it all, right? And they get charged a whole lot more money to have someone making these kinds of mistakes everyday. It must be great to have that much money to burn.

It’s laughable, if we’re to believe Gary Vee’s statement that 99.5 percent of social media experts are clowns… That’s a lot of clowns and I’m so laughing right now because it truly is a great joke on these companies hiring their social media experts.


I was asked by another social media group to write copy for one of my past clients. The past client told me that they didn’t need me anymore, because “…we have enough publicity.” That’s a great statement, to have arrived like that, isn’t it? I did a great job for them, but I knew that, because they really did get so much publicity that they needed to catch their breath.

Then… they decided to go in another direction. That happens a lot.. get new blood, new perspective, etc. The one missing link is that the media people have to be re-cultured and may not care as much. There’s so much new news out there, it’s hard to rehash something they’ve done a lot in the past. It’s just the nature of the story writing process.

So, this company hired a social media group. This new company Emailed me, asking if I’d write copy, not knowing that I’ve worked with the people who have hired them to write their social media copy, so they can get publicity. If they had dug around on my site, they would have seen the relationship. Embarrassed, they silently slid back into the night.

Can you follow all of this? I barely can.

Meanwhile, I’m sitting here just journaling my wine experiences, the good, the bad, and the ridiculous, and having a great laugh.


10 Responses to “Okay, I just did something very naughty + How more ridiculous does it get out there?”

  1. Hey, I’ve been saying for years that these social media directors are clowns. Nothing personal, mind you, but their claims have been grossly exaggerated, and the wineries hire them only because they think they’re supposed to. Why? Because they read some social media “expert” tell them they need to hire a social media expert! Personally, I put Gary in the same category.

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Steve, I’m right there with you, right up to the Gary part. I’m close to finishing his book, “The Thank You Economy.”

    I have to hand it to him… His book talks about being thankful for all the media attention that anyone is getting. I’ll never forget my first story in “The Wine News.” It was called “Cat O’Wine Tales.” In two page feature story (cover mention) with lots of images, I mentioned at least 20 different wineries and their cats, with a specific story about each one… Mind you, not just “Go to this winery and you’ll see that cat.” I studied each one. The story took me about 300 hours of travel, waiting for the cats to show up, shooting (your favorite part) a lot of slide film (expensive), and then putting it all together. The running rate for then was $150 for the two page story. (Right, writers don’t make a lot of money for what they do, people. It’s a job of passion, like all the other arts.)) I then sent everyone a copy of the article – more expense and time (which is also minus money).

    I didn’t get one acknowledgement from anyone… not one… including the tasting room clown I was working for at the time. She wouldn’t let me show anyone coming into the winery my story about “her winery cat.”

    If Gary does one thing in his book really well, it’s telling people to thank each other; because if they don’t, they’ll quickly be outed in our social media world. Before, there was no way to say, “Hey, you’re not telling the truth.” Today, you’re outed before you can even begin.

    He’s also built a huge fan base, based on social media; and he does know how to use it well. He definitely from a new generation, but he’s singing the same old tune… PR, PR, PR, and he’s building an empire on it.

    So, on this one, I’ve got to hand it to him. On all else, I always hand it to you, too. 🙂

  3. PaulG says:

    Jo, I would extend the criticism to include virtually all east coast-based PR people. Without fail the dumbest emails, the most trite and ridiculous queries, the barrage of “followup” emails, the wasteful packaging, worthless tchotchkes, etc. etc. ALWAYS come from the Least Coast. Maybe because they can’t seem to get a grip on west coast attitudes, lifestyles, or even the wines (which side of the Potomac are the vines on, etc.). I don’t know. But inspired by this post, I’ll start collecting some doozies of my own!

  4. Nicolas says:

    Jo, Paul and Steve,

    Please swear that you will let me know if we do something goofy here at Pacific Rim. It helps me a lot when I get a call or a note that tells me “what were you thinking Nicolas?

    I don’t want to be a clown….

  5. Jo Diaz says:

    Paul, what it is… is that they’re living in a concrete jungle, not a vineyard.

    Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas, New Orleans, Boston (I grew up there as part of my fabric), LA, Seattle, Portland (both of them), etc. Give me a city to have a ball in, and I’m all over it.

    Let’s just say that when I was doing PR for FM radio, I wouldn’t have had a clue about wine PR. I would have treated it like any other commodity item – like peanut butter. And, there’s the crux… If you’re not living it, how can you understand it? Could anyone who hasn’t physically delivered a baby explain it’s intricacies? (Sorry, it’s the only farfetched metaphor I can come up with right now.)

    Even when I arrived out here, I wore my business suits for a while. I’ve lived here long enough to now understand it and go with the flow.

    I’m happy to have inspired you, because you’ll now be able to chuckle at all of it when it arrives. Little do they realize what we’re doing. It’s not like they’re reading what we’re writing (for the most part). They’re going right to the contact info.

    I love my clown. You can borrow it, if you’d like, once you’ve got your doozies collected and ready to launch.

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Nicolas, You’ve got *my* word on it. (I can’t speak for Steve or Paul.)

    Fortunately, I don’t name names in these instances. Just have fun releasing the bad joojoo.

  7. lynn says:

    Thanks for the giggle, Jo. We’ve all had more than our fair share of the clowns.

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Happy I could bring a smile to your face, Lynn!

  9. Mia Malm says:

    Thanks for the laughs, Jo! Here’s another lazybones story: after attending last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference (clearly identified as a PR flack), I got an extremely poorly written email afterward with the salutation “Dear Wine Blogger” soliciting coverage and “mutual links.” Cue the eyeball rolling…

    On the East/West coast observation – I’ve worked wine PR on both coasts and can say I’ve seen the talented and the completely hopeless on both sides of the country! Maybe it’s a niche vs. big agency issue?

    In any case, Nicolas is right, we always want to know if we’re venturing into Big Top territory! 😉

  10. Jo Diaz says:

    Big top territory… Paul, are you reading? Mia’s got a great title that you could attribute to her. I’m so laughing right now. Thanks, Mia.

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