When you hire someone to do PR for you, that’s not where your job ends. It’s where it all begins, for true success…

I wish I had penned that bit of wisdom, because it’s brilliant. Alas, it was penned by another, and I don’t take credit for someone else’s words of wisdom. So, credit to the universe.

When I read it, I didn’t make note of the author. The words, however, have never left my mind.

Another great bit of knowledge that I’ve found is by LAD Communications, penned by Anne Louise Bannon (May 2002 issue of Wines & Vines): “Which may mean that even when you’ve gotten big enough to hire someone to do your publicity for you, you’ll still be doing much of your own PR. But that’s what telling your story is all about, and that’s what sells wine.”

This is very important information when you’ve decided to hire a PR agency or person to represent you. In the wine business, how many brands are out there? I’d love an exact figure, but I don’t have it for this world-wide market. It’s not outside the realm of possibilities that there could there be as many as 12,000 worldwide.

It’s not like the peanut butter business, let’s say, where you’ve got fewer than a dozen brands. Those stories are very easy to tell. Nobody cares who started the company, and nobody’s going to ogle over the flavors. It’s pretty straight forward, “Is is smooth or chunky?”

With wine, your flavors will stand on their own, against the other 12,000 in the world. They’ll be either great or average.

So, what’s going to really sell your wine to a wine writer who could be thinking to him or herself, “Who are the characters behind the scenes?” Before you hear the words, “Tell me about your clients, and when may I talk to him or her?”

  1. Your wine had better really exceed everyone’s expectations, from the first sip on a writer’s lips all the way down the line to the final judge… the consumer.
  2. Your story had better be compelling, and it better start with your vit and winemaking team paying attention to details; but, don’t go using that “handcrafted” term. Today, even McDonald’s is calling their burgers handcrafted, because someone had to touch it with his or her hands, in order to peel away the paper that it was wrapped in before throwing it on the grill.
  3. Your story also needs to go beyond why this rich guy decided to now make wine. What are this guy’s working ethics? Does he have a heart in there somewhere? Prove it by telling everyone what his passions truly are, and why is this character really unique.

Get underneath the passion. If there isn’t any passion under that subject’s bottom line, the interest will quickly fizzle. Let your PR people get to the heart of it, so there’s a story of substance, and the waters had better run deeply…

I once had a financial guy forbid me to use the term “passion” about him. It turned out that he was passionless, and the story couldn’t be written anymore…. by anyone, including me.

PR 101 is really what my mom drilled into my head ever so long ago, “God helps those who help themselves.”

PR people are just the missing link in the process to bridge the gap between who you are and getting that story into the hands of a writer. PR people have been developing longstanding relationships with people who are important to you and your success. They open doors for their clients, and your job is to then step-up and be willing to tell your story when the opportunities arise.

And remember, opportunity only knocks once that first time.

Cliche? Yes.

Good advice? You decide…

Who to Avoid ~ Really Great Advice

This story first appeared on ragan.com: 5 types of PR agencies to avoid, by Babak Zafarnia | Posted: April 12, 2011,

  1. “You, my client, are ALWAYS right, and I ALWAYS agree with everything you say.”
  2. “Of course I can get your op-ed in The New York Times.”
  3. “Our logistical paradigm is to incentivize positive optics for your verticals.”
  4. “We no te powr oaf grate PEE r.”
  5. “Good news—I told that reporter to go #^&* himself.”

Make sure you click on ragan.com to get the nitty-gritty of the five above. I couldn’t have written this one any better than Babak did, and it’s worth your time.




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