“An Impatient Publicist” will be the name of my book, when it’s published, because I am she.
I’ll have my soap opera Cheesecake in the Vines buried in there somewhere, because it’s too good of a story to be left unwritten, and I’d like to develop these characters of intrigue. I didn’t write about the neighbors in my blog story about Cheesecake in the Vines, but they’re a hysterical lot of winemaking dog breeders on one side, and crotchety old grumps on the other. It makes for a funny neighborhood.
[This image is borrowed from the Pre War Buick Website.]
As I wrote earlier, I’ve now been writing this blog for the last five years. I’ve launched over 1,000 stories (just barely making it over that threshold), as I’ve participated in the wine industry since moving here on December 29, 1992. I’ll always think of that one day in my life as The Day From Hell.
- Two kids
- each with two checked bags
- each with two carry-ons
- Jose and me
- each with our two checked bags
- each with our two carry-ons
- One 55 pound black lab
- and his crate
- Three cats
- each in their own crate…
All we needed was the Clampett’s rickety old car. It would have all made perfect sense for those looking at us, as we faced that (small-sized, not the big one) Sonoma County Airporter. Flight delays along the way meant that we missed the ginormous bus, which was to take us from our SFO landing to our Windsor home… awaiting our migratory arrival. As I looked inside that small bus, I could see all the eyeballs rolling back into the heads of each person already on that bus, as they were thinking to themselves, “You’ve got to be kidding me!”
What a sight we must have been…
Interestingly, I didn’t notice our eighteenth anniversary when I wrote my fifth anniversary story, until my daughter Lyla pointed it out on Facebook… December 29, 2010 was our 18th anniversary of having moved from wintery Maine to Mediterranean California. I was so caught-up with my other numbers and achievements that I didn’t even see that one coming or arriving… another amazing benchmark and tie-in.
Why do I write this blog?
I’m writing this follow-up, because I’ve never been really clear to anyone about what got me blogging, and why it’s an important discipline for me.
It began when I read Tom Wark’s blog ~ Fermemtation, who started months ahead of me. As I read his blog one day, I became inspired… He’s also a wine publicist, and I thought… “How cool is that? I can do that, too… In fact, I want to do that, too.”
I asked Jose to build a blog site for me. He honestly didn’t get it at the time. He’s since changed his mind, but at the time, he didn’t understand. Here’s what I saw that would be in it for me:
- Having been in the wine business for 13 last years (at the time), I had a lot of stories inside of me that no one knew about.
- Most of them were about my own clients, granted, but they were of a much more personal nature than what was written inside of any press release.
- These stories were never going to make it into a press release (which was all that I was writing at the time).
- The stories were of a more human nature, the real guts and glory that I had come to learn with each experience.
- They were stories that other writers would love to write, had they had the experiences that I had.
- I also – and this is the most important reason – was sick to death of waiting for a press release that I had written, to create that story that my wine clients were wanting to be published.
My clients all wanted their stories on the Internet or in print, and so did I. Many of them eventually got there, but too many of the stories were falling through the cracks. This is normal for us all, given the 10,000 gazillion brands that are on the market, so nothing new there. What was new with Web 2.0 was to send the press releases to writers, wait a month, see if anything would come of it; and, if it didn’t, just publish it myself on www.wine-blog.org.
When I began, Jose had serious doubts about my wine writing credibility, and why having those stories on my blog would mean anything to anyone. I understood his angst, but I also knew that I had already begun writing with print media (below), and I just had to segue.
- The Wine News, Coral Gables, Florida (stopped printing in 2009, and it is a great loss)
- Wine Business Monthly
- Patterson’s Beverage Journal (it is now called The Tasting Panel)
- Wine Country This Week
- Vine Times
- Winefest (Texas)
So, segue I did. I now find that I’m being asked to contribute to not only print media, but also to on-line sites. My answer has to remain the same, because writing for others doesn’t pay my bills; while being a wine publicist does. Besides, I love being a publicist. I’ve already found my passion and I’m living it. Wine blogging is really my hobby. I knit and I blog… Those are my hobbies.
While this is only a journaling process for me, it has still become a serious outlet for others. It has gone way beyond my client base, while some credibility in this arena continues to be established.
When I started this blog, I knew that if I only focused on my own clients, this blog would be really boring, regardless of how great the stories would be. It would be self serving and useless to anyone, including my clients.
I once had someone call me to become a client, because he said that he realized being one of my clients would also give him some Web exposure. At the time, I was so busy I couldn’t take him on. I’ve lived to regret that I didn’t have the time, because someone who understood what I was doing would make a good and appreciative partner… But, it wasn’t meant to be.
I knew this blog would have to contain new material, and I’d be off on a different learning curve. I was prepared for that.
What I didn’t realize was that I’d also learn firsthand the following about the public relations process from a writer’s perspective:
- What interests a writer, and makes him or her want to tell the story contained within a press release.
- How many brands can’t wait to tell you about their gold medals (which I’ve always said doesn’t offer inspiration and is a faux pas).
- The best publicists seem to operate the same way I do (or maybe I’m just attracted to their style, because I can relate… who knows?).
- How rare the best ones are on any given day.
- Print press releases in the mail are all but dead, which means that a print press release is now an exception (versus the rule), giving the ones that are still delivered via snail mail even more visibility.
I’ve had more than one writer tell me that a press release delivered by the Post Office gets more time in opening it, holding, reading, and possibly storing it… So, I’m not stopping that for my clients. I’m continuing with my traditional methods, while embracing all of the electronic ones as well… Because, regardless of how impatient I may be, I’m still a stickler for tradition with my established relationships, and love giving them scoops when it makes sense. When it’s not addressed in a reasonable amount of time, though, that info will work into a blog posting, which I’m all too happy to be publishing, so it becomes Web-based info.