RESIST THE URGE!
Three topics to discuss with you today, dear reader.
I. The correct use of language
II. The advantages of a winery having an outside publicist
III. How to react (or not) to social media.
Read on for the intersection of I, II and III.
I. Publicists pride themselves on their use of language. On spelling. On grammar. On precisely capturing a taste, a moment, a glimpse of landscape or of history, etc. And, in fact, publicists often are called on to proofread, line-edit and react to written material.
II. When a winery has an outside publicist, that publicist is a healthy filter or bridge between a journalist and the winery. What if the writer has inadvertently been insulted? What if a wine sample was flawed? Those are just a couple of examples of situations where the outside publicist can smooth the waters, repair the relationship, re-orient any mistakes.
III. Bingo! The publicist has successfully pitched the winery. The journalist has been, seen, tasted, talked to, been toured through the vineyard and winery. The journalist then shares the experience with an initial social media message.
Great! Slam-dunk! Good work all around! Right? In a recent situation I witnessed, no. What went wrong? The impulse to correct the writer’s use of language.
The writer wrote: Highly recommend a visit to X. Such a unique place, with wines that reflect it.
The winery saw the post and commented: Wines that reflect the beauty of their origins.
Why?! Why not just comment with a “thanks!”
Because of the writer-publicist relationship, the writer contacted the publicist to share his annoyance. It remains to be seen if the writer will devote one more drop of ink to this winery.
A simple 1 + 1 = 2 has turned into a more complicated equation. Can the publicist repair the problem? Not clear.
Here’s the lesson: RESIST THAT URGE!
As I mentioned at the start here, I’m constantly correcting and catching typos, misspellings and incorrect use of language. My family teases me on how often I find these types of mistakes in places where they shouldn’t be—public signage, movie credits and so on. One of the accomplishments of my life was going to Sacramento in the 8th grade to represent San Diego County in the spelling bee….I placed second in the state, goofing on the word ‘chauffeur.’ So you can tell, I live to find typos and correct them. Long live ‘tracking changes’ on Word. But. But.
If you’re a winery…and the journalist has had that very precious one-on-one visit with you, and you’re eagerly haunting the Internet for their coverage….it’s understandable that you’re very eager to read what might appear. But there is an enormous PR lesson here: resist the urge to comment. Think it through. A simple “thank you” is terrific and suffices. If possible, huddle with your publicist. Weigh the pros and cons. A grammatical goof is not worth endangering the winery-journalist relationship. A substantial factual error might be…but if so, then that’s a conversation to have in private, or on the phone, not in one of those oh-so visible social media public forums.