Wine & The Pitch
It's one thing to write and distribute a press kit.
It's one thing to maintain a client's Facebook page
It's one thing to write the copy for a website.
But it's an altogether different thing to pick up the phone and pitch a story to a journalist.
It's this last act, this act of pure salesmanship, that I find most aspiring PR people either aren't very good at or don't have no interest in doing it at all. And it's this act of "pitching a story" that MAKES a PR person.
I don't remember the first time I picked up the phone, called up a wine writer and proceeded to tell them, "…and it's a quality that most winemakers are willing to expose" or "…probably the only wine producing region in Northern California that…" or "…the opportunity to meet them and taste these wines you'll see that…". But I do know that at some point in my first year in this business I realized I had no problem doing this and this made me a rare commodity among those who, like me, thought they wanted to be in the wine PR business.
So, assuming you don't mind pitching a story what elements of a pitch are important?
1. Know EXACTLY the specific story pitch you want to make
2. Be able to communicate that pitch to the journalist within 1 minute of getting on the phone.
3. Know when to hang up the phone because the person you are talking to isn't interested.
4. Don't take "I'm not interested" personally
5. Keep notes about your conversation, no matter how short.
If you are looking to hire a PR person to bring in house, inside your wine organization, make sure they have the ability to reach out and deliver an effective story pitch to a journalist. If you are looking to hire a consultant or agency, make sure they can and will use the story pitch and can use the story pitch as a tool.
It's interesting. Nearly every article or white paper or blog post I read about wine and PR the topic is about social media or websites or online tools. Few if any talk about this most basic of PR tools…the pitch.