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Top tips for getting published in UK Media

For all the multitude of potential media outlets for your story they don’t mean a thing if you don’t have anything meaningful to say. So here are 10 top tips on how to turn your idea of a “must read” story in to a “must publish” article for your target media.

First the good news. There has never been more opportunity to get media coverage for your company, be it a winery, a distillery, a major brand business, drinks supplier, distributor, retailer, restaurant or bar.

You only have to look at the number of daily newsletters, blogs, websites, magazines, specialist journals, not to mention the thousands of personal social media feeds to think it can’t be that hard to get a mention or two along the line.

But now the bad news. For all the multitude of potential media outlets for your story they don’t mean a thing if you don’t have anything meaningful to say. And there’s the rub.

So here are 10 top tips on how to turn your idea of a “must read” story in to a “must publish” article for your target media.

1 First of all do you actually understand the question?

Too often drinks businesses fail to appreciate what actually makes a story in the first place to even get anyone outside their company interested. What you think is important and vital to your business, does not automatically make it interesting and newsworthy to a reputable journalist.

Before even embarking on any press activity you need to determine what it is about your company that a complete stranger would find interesting. What are you doing that is genuinely different? What makes it compelling to read?

If people quickly move away from you at a drinks reception when they ask you what you do, then you need to be telling your story better.

This is where hopefully a good PR agency can help, but not always. It can often be a good idea to bring in a professional journalist you trust and ask them to tell you what they think is interesting about your business and go from there.
2 Doing your job is not newsworthy

It might sound harsh, but simply sending out a release about your new vintage, a new bottling line, the fact you have just been awarded some quality control award, or passed an environmental test is not news. It is simply doing your job.

Here’s a quick and easy way to determine what falls in to that category. If when filling in a form that asks what your business does and you answer is along the lines of “We make/bottle/package/distribute/sell wine” then sending out a press release which essentially reinforces that to the world that is what you do is essentially a waste of time.

But it is shocking how many press releases and press activity does exactly that.

3 Remember “news” is about what is “new” about it

With a good news story, the clue is in the name. If what you are doing is genuinely not new then it is probably not worth telling anyone about it. If you are wine producer what is news is a new brand, a new style of wine, a new variety you have made. Not the fact we are all a year older and you have a new harvest to sell.

The closer you are to the business the harder making that distinction can be. But if you would not think of asking your boss for a promotion based on the fact you are selling essentially the same version of the same product or service again and again then don’t bother telling the media about it.

4 It’s not what is important to you, but what is important to the reader

Here’s a challenge for you. Arguably every business in the world has a front page story waiting to be told, they just don’t know what it is. They can’t see the wood from the trees to understand what it is they do that complete strangers, other people in their industry, local community or wider public would find interesting.

Here’s an example of a press release I once received.  A local Spanish winery had introduced a new water filtration and pump system to help irrigate its land. What’s more they had invested a couple of million dollars in doing so. For the winery the fact they had invested so much money in helping irrigate their vines to make better wine is what they were so proud of and want the world to know about. They issued a press release and were disappointed to get virtually no coverage. Why? Refer to Tip 2.

But when we dug a bit deeper and found out that actually the same new water filtration system was also able to help local villages by providing them with a better water supply then we had a potential front page story on our hands.

“Thousands of homes get new water supply thanks to (insert name of winery)”.

5 The media needs your help to fill pages, column inches, pages on website.

The reason that winery story in Tip 4 still stands out to me is that it helped us on a busy weekly magazine get a good lead story for one of our news pages. Remember all journalists, all media outlets have deadlines. They have to publish content to stay alive, be relevant, be competitive.

To do so they need stories. They need you to help them. You don’t need to be spending vast amounts of money on PR, you just need to understand the needs of the media outlets where you want to be seen. Get to know the editors, the news editors and look at the type of stories they are doing. If you think you have a good story then ring them up directly and tell them what it is.

Offer it to them exclusively. Help them plan their deadlines. If you can make the life of a journalist easier, then they will look twice at any story you send them.

6 What one journalist thinks is a story, another won’t

This is a crucial lesson to learn. In the same way you would not think of selling the same product to different types of on premise or off-trade outlet, then don’t think the same story packaged in the same way is going to appeal to every media outlet you want to hit.

All titles and all journalists are interested in different topics. They have different readers, different agendas and you have to make sure your story is presented in a way that will be interesting to them. It might mean having to tweak the same press release five to 10 times over, but if you want coverage in five to 10 different media outlets that is what you have to do.

7 Can your story work and help build traffic on social media?

Regardless of the type of media outlet you are looking to target, if your story is worth publishing then it has to be able to be pushed through social media. All media titles and journalists are now judged as much by their social media activity and engagement on channels such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram as they are by what appears in a magazine, newspaper or website.

So make sure any media release you send out includes the relevant social media handles, and hashtags. Ideally you would also include the individual social media addresses of key people involved so that they can be tagged in any Twitter or Instagram posts.

Make sure you include imagery that is suitable for both printing in traditional and digital media, but also works on social media as well.

This hits two vital targets. You are making the life of the journalist easier, but you are also spreading your story on social media to people, businesses and users well outside your normal scope.

8 Influence the influencers

The media is no longer confined to just the traditional outlets run by major publishing companies. It also includes bloggers and individual specialists in certain areas that can be particularly important in helping to tell your story.

This is very much the time of the so called “influencer”. Key individuals be it through their own work or through their profile on social media that can now build and spread stories and news in a way that even the traditional publishers can’t as they are seen as being truly independent.

It is important to be able to identify who those influencers are and build relationships with them. Remember they are also keen to keep one step ahead of the pack and are very open to being fed specialist, exclusive content.

9 It’s all about the numbers

What the media is also desperate to get its hands on is good data and statistics that really help them tell the story in a more interactive way. We live in the age of infographic, and charts that share nicely on social media.

All businesses will have access to their own data, and potential industry and category data that can be shared collaboratively with media partners ensuring they get the credit. A good credible way to get good quality content published that also enhances your reputation as a business as a whole.

10 Have an opinion

Some of the most popular areas of any media publication are the letters and comment sections. Again the editors of those sections are constantly on the lookout for good, different, challenging, thought provoking content.

So this is your chance to have your say, and have an opinion on a topic that really matters to not just your business, but the industry you work in or most importantly to the readers of the media outlet you are pitching to.

Too many companies shy away from saying anything of any real purpose hiding behind PR and media speak which is as frustrating to read as hearing a political avoiding a question.

So if you really want your five minutes of fame in the media. Stand up and say something of interest.

Just make sure you read steps One to Nine first….

Source: BTN Acadamy

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A Cava comeback?

When looking at alcoholic beverages, and with the possible exception of craft beer, Prosecco has been the clear winner of the 2010’s so far. The Italian sparkling wine has benefitted greatly from the surge of interest in sweet flavor profile drinks, seen elsewhere in the rise of fruit ciders, and from the gradual decreasing in influence of traditional gender roles, making Prosecco a more appealing  tipple for men.

The scope of drinking occasions for Prosecco has played a large part in its success; consumers can add a glass of Prosecco to their long lunch for a touch of indulgence, aided by the relatively low alcohol of the drink; Millennials can choose from a wide variety of Prosecco based cocktails at most bars; and a bottle can be bought for at-home consumption at the lower end of the wine pricing ladder.

Cava, Spain’s national sparkling wine, on the other hand has had a rough deal in recent years. The bubbly wine began to fall out of fashion in the late 90s as part of a wider decline in the fortunes of wine, and by the mid 2000’s had become marginal despite the resurgence of wine. With labels seen as old fashioned, wild variances in price with little quality indicators (as opposed to the relatively simple quality certifications for Prosecco) and an overall lack of knowledge of the wider global range of sparkling wine amongst consumers.

However, Cava does have a number of tricks up its sleeve in order to gain an advantage over Prosecco;

Complexity – Prosecco is a favorite particularly amongst new wine drinkers seeking an easy, refreshing beverage. Eventually some of these consumers will seek to dig deeper into the world of wine and look for style with more complexity and character. Prosecco is made through a process of tank fermentation, a process which enables mass production of sparkling wine, at the cost of a loss of body and complexity. Cava on the other hand uses méthode traditionnelle, a complex and hugely time consuming process which is best known for its use in Champagne production. This gives the wine greater body and complexity.

Premium credentials – With méthode traditionnelle comes bona fide premium credentials. Cava is able to be aged, and can be vintage rather than being limited to non-vintage as Prosecco largely is. With premiumization being one of the defining trends in the consumer packaged goods industry at current, Cava is well placed to capitalize on these aspects.

With Prosecco still surging, Cava has its work cut out to gain a foothold but has the attributes to launch a major challenge and position itself as the trade up from Prosecco. An overhaul of labelling and quality ratings, which has already begun to some extent, to bring it into line with current fashions and trends will go a long way to positioning Cava back in the mainstream view. Prosecco will continue to dominate in the short term, but Cava is one to look out for in the future.

Spanish Story, a Cava recently brought to the market gives a good indicator of the type of innovation needed to combat Prosecco. It is up to other producers to follow suit.


Source: Drinks-insights-network

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South African Harvest Report 2015


Extraordinary. It’s a word that even mid-harvest may be applied with some confidence, especially in relation to the early start. Hardly had winemakers returned from Christmas and New Year holidays than they had to don their winemaking gear, ready to receive the first grapes.

Why was the start so early? Manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service Francois Viljoen summarised the run-up to harvest 2015 in his presentation at the VinPro Information Day in January. “A good season starts with a good winter,” he explained, “and 2014 produced the third good winter in a row with sufficient rain to fill the dams and cold units in July to send the vines into full dormancy. A warmer than usual August saw the vineyards quick out of their blocks; bud break and initial growth were very even. This sequence accounts for the season being so early.”

Jordan Wine Estate’s Gary Jordan adds that in contrast to warm days, the nights were very cool, the temperature dipping to a low 6°C. Rainfall fell off dramatically from September; warm, dry weather and less strong wind than usual provided ideal conditions for good flowering and set.  Temperatures have remained moderate, with intermittent really hot days.

These positive conditions have resulted in healthy vineyards and healthy grapes, ripening evenly, albeit with lighter bunch weights; higher demand for water due to stress and a season up to three weeks early that’s likely to be short and sharp. The lighter bunches with small berries suggest the overall crop will be lower than in 2014.

The following reports have been received from individuals in the various regions since early February; in the meantime, the harvest rolls on. To keep up to date with news and photos, check http://socialtractor.com/saharvest2015.

As early as the harvest is, not everyone has started (or hadn’t at the time of writing). In Elim, Trizanne Barnard expects to start in the third week of February. She says things are looking good in South Africa’s most southerly vineyards: “Mild temperatures, no rot and no rain: looking great!”  Dirk Human of Black Oystercatcher has harvested fruit for his Cap Classique sparkling wine; Sauvignon Blanc for still wine should be ready by mid-February. “Yields are down by 10% but flavours are more intense and the grapes are very healthy,” he reports. Conrad Vlok, cellarmaster at Strandveld, agrees that Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon too are “very healthy with intense flavours”, adding that “all the red cultivars are also in good condition”.

The wind has been noticeable in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley but not in a negative way. Carolyn Martin of Creation Wines describes conditions in the run-up to the harvest as “drier and breezier than 2014. The sun and sea breezes have dried out any rains we’ve had. The afternoon south-westerly acts as a fan, keeping the vineyards cool. Chardonnay was the first and, at time of writing, the only variety harvested, 10 days earlier than normal; it looks to be great quality.” Martin does caution that her husband and winemaker, JC, being a farmer, “doesn’t want to count his chickens before they hatch”.

Further down the valley, Gordon Newton Johnson at the eponymous family winery recalls that, while guests were tasting the valley’s Pinots on the first day of Hemel-en-Aarde’s Pinot Noir Celebration (31 January), their prime Windansea vineyard was being harvested. Ten days later, the last Pinot came into the cellar; according to Newton Johnson it was, in one word,” immaculate”.

Moving westwards to the cool, high Elgin valley, I caught up with Richard Kershaw of his eponymous winery, in “freezing, snowy Bordeaux”. He was happy to report that “conditions from bud burst, flowering and set have been fabulous. It’s been warm and dry but neither too dry nor too hot; the harvest is about two weeks early.” Friday 13 proved lucky with the first, healthy Sauvignon Blanc (not for his own label) being picked. The only downside is “a little wind damage in some vineyards”.

Down the road, Koen and Hannelore Roose, owners of Spioenkop, recorded that rainfall for winter/spring 2014 to harvest was almost half compared with the same period the previous year, with winter described as “soft”, 0°C being recorded a few nights only. This was probably the cause of millerandage on the Riesling. Pinot Noir went through veraison during the first week in January, a phenomenon that usually takes place during the third week and suggesting an early start to the harvest. A few very hot days raised concern over loss of aromas in the Pinot. To counteract this, the sprinklers were turned on for half an hour during the hottest period to cool down the bunches. They feel positive this has worked. They are also positive about the harvest generally: “2015 can be a very beautiful, legendary vintage, if the winemaker takes the job seriously and thinks deeper on what he/she has.”

Moving on to the Cape Peninsula and Constantia, where some are well into harvesting, others still waiting. High up at the north end of the valley near Constantia Nek Justin van Wyk, winemaker at both Beau Constantia and neighbour Constantia Glen, reckons it’ll be well into the third week of February before they start. This is in contrast to Matt Day, winemaker at Klein Constantia, who picked Chardonnay for Cap Classique on 24 January, about a week earlier than usual. “But the huge eye-opener was Sauvignon Blanc,” says this young winemaker. “The first block came in on 29 January with a sugar of 23° Balling; that’s the earliest since the maiden 1986 vintage.” Day reckons that “…90% of Sauvignon Blanc will be in by 13 February. This compares with last year, when we finished with the same blocks at the same sugar levels on 18 March.” He’s excited at how amazing the single-vineyard Sauvignons are looking. Even in this wind-prone area, Day recalls: “There was no to very little wind, thus we had a really good set.” If he does have concerns it’s that with lower sugar levels there won’t be phenological ripeness, “so we’re harvesting everything on taste and not analysis”.

Around the coast to Durbanville, where Durbanville Hills cellarmaster Martin Moore, who already has Chardonnay in the cellar, foresees “a smaller harvest than the previous two but one … of great quality. I also foresee much pressure and lots of tension in the cellar [as] the picking season is going to be short, punctuated by intense peaks.” For a cellar taking in 6 000 tons power is crucial but, realising that there will be an inconsistency in supply, they’ve reduced dependence on electricity wherever possible. There’s plentiful natural light since installing sunlight harvesters in the roof. There’s the obligatory generator, which can power most equipment during harvest, and cooling compressors, which are run only during off-peak periods.

– Angela Lloyd / Source : Wosa.co.za

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