PR 101 – Restrain yourself from being at odds with a wine writer and/or a wine blogger. It will do you no ultimate good.
Remember what mom used to say? “You can get more bees with honey than you can with vinegar…”
I once had a client who disagreed with a writer, and took great pains to tell him off… My job became more difficult after that, as the publicist.
There will always be three sides to any issue: pro, con, and considering.
It’s just good PR to know when to pick your battles. And, if you hold stock in a company that’s controversial, it’s even more important to keep your opinions to yourself. Let the company do the PR, where they have PR pros in place to cover your assets. (Yes, there’s a pun in there somewhere.)
A blog – for the most part – is a personal journey for its author. The opinions expressed on that blog are the opinions of the author, and are based on academic and experiential learnings. The older the person, the more rich the tapestry; the more life experiences from which to draw; and, the opinions are going to be even harder to alter, if that’s your intent.
Another important aspect to remember is that, as people, we always have at least three options: black, white, and gray… Nothing is ever absolute. So, if you keep insisting that the author must see it your way, you’re digging a really deep hole.
So, when a blogger is on one side of an issue, regardless of how much personal investment you may have in the opposing view, be it theory or financial investments, back out, let it go, and get on with things you can control in your own life.
THE BEST FREE ADVICE I CAN GIVE YOU
If you own a winery, please don’t go to anyone’s blog, including mine, and think that picking a fight is a good thing. Is picking a fight ever a good thing? In PR, the answer would be emphatically, “No.” You have everything to lose and nothing to gain; otherwise, you have to hire someone like me to go wipe up your mess.
Best thing to do is let it go. It’s not worth it. People will only question your ultimate motive, and be sure to never – under any circumstance – advocate for you.
How to approach bloggers, to have them help you build your brand – DO’S
Bloggers are social people, as proven by their gravitating toward social media. Many of them have several accounts:
- Blog or blogs (some have multiple sites)
- Twitter, Google+
- the list goes ever on
Connect on all levels, if you’d like that blogger to know about you. You’ll also, by following any blogger, quickly see the interests of this person. Comment wherever possible, with something relevant. Restrain yourself when you have a difference of opinion; unless… big unless… you approach it diplomatically.
- First write something that you find as common ground, so you’re establishing a link. Example:
- “I can appreciate your concerns for good health.”
- Respectfully express your opposing view, citing a source for your belief(s). You bury your “bad news” in the middle of any opposing – or delivering of bad news – communication.
- “Coming from a different background, I’ve formed different opinions. I’m sharing something that I recently read in the New York Times that might interest you.”
- End on a positive note. Employing good PR, it’s important to allow the other person to maintain his or her dignity. Ending this way keeps you in “good faith” with your opponent.
- “While I disagree with you, I respect your right to have an opposing opinion, and on this one… I’m happy to agree to disagree.”
Handling it this way demonstrates high levels of effective communications and an emotional maturity that tells the other person you’re a respectful person and worth getting to know better.
- Pick a fight. You’ll then be considered a bully.
- Call the writer and/or blogger names. This is the kiss of death for you.
- Steve Heimoff and Paul Mabray in the same room, and we all got out alive (wine-blog.org)
- Talkin’ social media at UC Davis (steveheimoff.com)
- Blogger relations 101 – lessons from a pitching fail (fletcher-prince.com)
- Pitching Bloggers vs. ‘Traditional’ Media: Four Things You Should Know (prnewsonline.com)