The invigorating afterglow of navigating through challenge
I'm really energized for the year ahead. We are coming off a wonderfully challenging year of change in 2014 -- the best way I can describe it is like the afterglow of a really intense long distance race.
For Trellis Growth Partners, 2014 was the year of streamlining our operations after participating in Washington State University's fall 2013 Business Growth Mentor and Analysis Program
. This program was a giant taste of our own "consulting medicine:" bringing in outside perspective is hard work and can be very tough to swallow, but it's also fortifying and invigorating. Even though we're 14 months past "completion," I'm still experiencing the positive effects of navigating this course of change -- namely the clarity that can result from challenging and improving your business. To those in the Portland metro area looking to improve their business model and performance, I highly recommend applying.
(Business Growth MAP is
open to wine and related industry applicants.)
In 2015, we begin our eighth year in operation. We are committed to elevating our performance
by staying focused, applying the new principles we've learned and working processes we've created. Our streamlined focus is two-fold: bringing compelling content to the media and achieving recognition for our family of epicurean clients. On that note, we are proud to welcome Raptor Ridge Winery
to our portfolio, and of the fact that we are celebrating a number of long term client and team anniversaries throughout the year.
Finally, I'm proud to announce that we will be conducting our second industry sales and marketing study, so stay tuned for an announcement in Q2. As you plan for your business' success in 2015, you may find the 20 statistically actionable findings from our first study
Dixie Huey, Proprietor
Ace your next media interview with these 5 tips: What to do and what not to do
1. Prepare in advance.
This is not the time to "wing it." Take the time to research the journalist's preferences, beat (specific coverage interests) and read his last two to three articles to gain a sense of what your interviewer is seeking. Outline some answers to questions you'd like to be asked and practice, especially if you're new to being interviewed.
For our clients, we prepare detailed media briefs including this information plus more background given our relationship. (On average, we connect with 30 to 50 members of the media each week, so it's our job to know the details.) We also provide media coaching -- not to drown out the good stuff but to help our clients feel comfortable in interviews so they can shine.
Avoid: Bringing additional guests to the appointment, unless otherwise requested or specified in advance.
2. Be positive, engaging and genuine.
Remember that this conversation could be the beginning of an ongoing media relationship. This is not a monologue, and it will be more interesting for both of you if you think of your meeting as a conversation. Remember to ask the interviewer some questions about his or her specific interests. One question that works well as a connector is as follows: "How did you become interested in wine?" Also, it's okay to take some time to compose your answers.
Avoid: Trying to fill the natural pauses with more commentary. Most media need some time to record their tasting notes and compose their thoughts.
3. Stick to your key talking points.
We're not suggesting you operate like a robot, but let's face it, most of us in the industry are passionate people. Tangents and side stories can be interesting, but not if you forget to tell your winery's story in a clear, concise manner. Be sure to mind your time and ask the journalist if he is getting the information he needs at about 10 to 15 minutes into the interview.
Avoid: Talking “off the record." There is no such thing, and people usually say this just before they say something they will regret. If in doubt, don't say it.
4. Select a few illustrative subjects and wines, not your entire property or portfolio.
Pace is important. We've all been in meetings that drag on and on, so keep in mind that you'd rather leave your interviewer wanting more, not less. Think about the most important points to discuss, wines to taste and aspects of your property to share if the interview is happening on site. If you start with your life story, then spend 20 minutes looking at tanks, and then try to get through 20 wines, you're going to be rushed and your guest will likely be bored. Sometimes a journalist will have a specific agenda; if not, it can be very helpful to have two different options in mind. For example, "We have a new toast trial going on in the winery. If you're interested in the technical side, we could spend a few minutes there. Or, if you'd prefer to get started over a few new wines while seated, I'm happy to start us there."
Avoid: Telling the journalist what the wine tastes like or citing points and awards from other media outlets.
5. Offer to be a resource for your region.
A connected spokesperson is a magnetic one. Anytime you can offer more than just your specific brand's point of view, you become more interesting to media. Being a resource for the AVA or winegrowing in the state is a great way to further a relationship.
Avoid: Making negative comments about competitors, the industry, politics, etc.
For more tips on public relations, visit our blog.
-Janel Lubanski, Senior Account Manager, with Dixie Huey