Michael Wangbickler on November 19th, 2008

Homework pays off in the long run.

Homework pays off in the long run.

What does it take to be a successful wine public relations and marketing professional? One word: Homework. “Well, duh!” you might say, but you would be amazed at how many public relations managers, executives, and coordinators forget this simple principle.

What it comes down to is laziness. These people don’t take the time to get to know who they are sending email to or calling. They will often put together a canned pitch and deliver it to everyone as if they were equals. Take for example, a conversation I had on Twitter last week with Lenn Thompson of Lenndeavors. He received wines from a winery in California I believe, for which this winery expected a review. One problem: Lenn writes exclusively about New York wines. If the person who sent these wines to Lenn would have taken 10 seconds to visit his sight and gotten to know a little about Lenn, they would have known not to send him California wine. How hard is that?

Before embarking on any campaign, whether pitching to bloggers or traditional media, do your homework. Spend a little time to view their website, read past articles, converse with them on Twitter or through email, leave comments on their blog, and just generally get to know them. Why? First, you can filter out those who you know wouldn’t be interested in what you have to pitch currently. You avoid any embarrassment from them telling you otherwise. Second, they will be much more open to hearing what you have to say if you use the more personal touch. You are much more likely to talk to someone you know rather than someone who just walks off the street. Finally, you make it much more likely to establish a relationship with this person and smooth things over for the future.

Whether it is intentional or derives from just being too busy to care, laziness is the sure “kiss of death” for the PR and marketing professional. Do your homework and the rewards will be greater in the end.

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2 Responses to “Do Your Homework”

  1. And for all that is good in the world, read their FAQ or policy or ethics page if they have one. I’m going to have to make my FAQs page prominent again as I’m growing weary of people trying to pitch me a story for my blog in which THEY want to write the content reviewing the product they are trying to sell or market. Huh?? Even if you took 2 seconds to look at my blog, you’d see no one has ever posted on it other than me and I’m not going to let you review your own product on my blog!

  2. Michael, You nailed it. If all wine PR and Marketing people would adhere to quality pitches(rather than quantity)it would be of great benefit to bloggers, media and to the reputation of PR professionals. As a wine PR and marketing person, I’m a fan of blogs and sites that spell out their sample submission policies and provide the contact information for receiving samples. Also, with tag clouds on most blogs, it’s not too difficult to figure out whether a blog addresses the subject matter of a client.

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