Key Points In Selling Ideas To The Wine Media

Anyone involved in public and media relations understands that they are primarily involved in sales; this is particularly true where the media is concerned and where trying to interest members of the media in writing about one's client or company.

That PR and media relations are really just another form of sales is as true for the wine industry as any other. Wine writers and editors are constantly contacted by folks like me who try to put their clients on the radar of the writer, try to interest them in a particular story about their clients or try to convince them that their client deserves to be included in a story that is being written on a particular topic.

What's true in straight sales is true in media relations: There are variety of approaches one can take in trying to garner the attention and interest of your media prospect.

As I've mentioned before, my place in the world has become somewhat interesting since this blog has attained a moderate amount of success. I am regularly contacted by PR people who want me to turn my attention to their clients. It's strange being on this side of the fence when for so long and still I am on the "sales side" of the fence. However, it does provide me with a perspective I never had prior to writing this blog: I get to see the world from the media's side; from the side that is trying to be sold.

So it is that I got a pitch via email yesterday to cover a particular winery. It was the kind of sales approach that I've never taken as a publicist. It was unique in my experience. And for that reason I want to profile here. The email I got from a winery went exactly like this:

Can you please add this video to your blog:

Now, as far as I can tell, this amazingly brief, straightforward pitch for coverage at this blog came from the person who shot the video, not the subject of the video. This matters. But it doesn't matter for the point of this post.

What matters is the subject of brevity in reaching out to the media and asking for the sale.

On the one hand I'm grateful to the sender that I was not asked to read ten paragraphs to get to the meat of the matter. It highlights a key point in pitching a story or idea: STAY BRIEF AND FOCUSED AND DON'T SEND UNNECESSARY PUFF IN A STORY PITCH TO THE MEDIA.

It's critical to understand that the media isn't sitting around waiting for PR folks to call. That's not to say they disdain us folks entirely. They don't . We often are critically important to the writer's and editors's work. But not usually. That means that when we do contact them, as they expect we will, to pitch a story, we should not unnecessarily take up too much of their time. Keep the story pitch brief. Get to your point as quickly as possible.

The sender of this pitch also demonstrated something else every good salesperson knows is absolutely critical to successful sales, and to successful PR: ASK FOR THE SALE!

Whether it's vacuum cleaners, shoes, homes or story pitches, if you don't at some point ask for the sale or ask for something, you aren't likely to get what you want. At some point in the story pitch, you have to be willing to hear the writer or editor say, "No, I don't think that will work for us". If you don't give then the opportunity to turn down your pitch, you also don't give them the opportunity to say, "That sounds interesting, let me have more information."

Now, I'm not suggesting that the sender of this pitch did a great job. There is a limit to brevity and to how one asks for the sale. It's fair to say he was both TOO brief and a bit too blunt in asking for something for my taste. However, I'm grateful to the sender of this pitch for reminding me of a few important points where selling clients' stories is concerned. And to thank them, they get their wish:

3 Responses

  1. Ron Washam - July 9, 2010

    I think your readers will be interested in my lampoon of your blog. How’s that for direct?

  2. Mike Duffy - July 11, 2010

    So, Tom: what’s your readership in Victoria, Australia? Of course, Grampians Estate may be looking for US distribution, which would make your blog a good venue for their pitch, but that’s not what the video communicates.
    So, in addition to STAY BRIEF and ASK FOR THE SALE, I would add TARGET YOUR MESSAGE.

  3. Tommy Powers - July 19, 2010

    Kudos to you Tom. In this age of endless, exhausting promotion it is pleasant to see a direct approach rewarded. I am one that particularly enjoys video content. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Tommy Powers

Leave a Reply