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Wine & Spirits / Feb 2, 2022

7 PR Best Practices: Benson’s Holiday Edition!

The Brand Leader

The Brand Leader

How do you generate stellar press coverage during the holidays, the most competitive season for wine and spirits sales?

An analysis of our actions and results in OND led us to write this summary of PR best practices: holiday edition!

Like many marketing challenges, there is no one solution. A series of coordinated PR, social media, and digital actions helped raise brand awareness and sales. Here are 7 PR best practices that drove press coverage and sales for our clients:

1. Thanksgiving in June!  Pitching long lead magazines in early summer planted seeds for placements in Country Living and Coveteur, among others.  These were also helped along by a press webinar in May and repeated follow-up.

2. Don’t Forget TV. TV doesn’t provide us wine marketers with engagement like social media, but it provides great reach. And sales teams have a positive, visceral reaction to TV coverage. We retained a chef spokesperson promoting our theme, “Thanksgiving in 90 Minutes” last fall. The action resulted in a coverage on FOX national TV, as well as several regional TV morning shows, giving a huge boost to the brand’s reach and to an energized sales team.

3. Gift Early and Often. Several pitches addressed a wide range of gifting occasions, price points, and interests. Here’s an example from Forbes. Also, think outside the wine or spirits category and link your brand to other interests whose popularity correlates positively. For example, wine drinkers index high for skiing, travel, and tennis.

4. Content is King. Thematic webinars packed a lot of story ideas into 60-minute “BensonLive Presents” sessions this past year. We covered new product intros, varietal styles, bubbles, and more. We can directly link our webinars and pitching on one client to OND results in Town & Country, Forbes, Country Living, Philadelphia Inquirer, and several others. Here’s a link to PR best practices for press webinars.

5. Turn PR Results into Sales Tools. Coverage is half the battle; getting these placements packaged up for sales’ use in trade presentations is key to generating brand excitement. A simple, one-pager PDF with an email detailing the outlet, writer, headline, quotation, and importantly, its relevancy to the brand message drives home the point.

6. Turn Accolades into Digital Ads: Leave room in your Ed Cals to mention accolades and recommendations. Simple enough. But don’t shout out your scores. Use accolades as secondary or tertiary messages that reinforce your brand’s identity. Let your fans know critics also believe they made the right decision.

7. Get on Board: Trending Cocktails. The espresso martini craze provided an opportunity to ride this trend with St. George Spirits’ delicious NOLA Coffee Liqueur, resulting in coverage in The Manual, Forbes, The Spruce Eats, Delish, and more.

Bonus Item: Dry January.  Feature stories on no and low-alcohol recommendations are written in November and December for January publication. Don’t miss out! We landed placements for no-alcohol wines by Stella Rosa and Veuve du Vernay in outlets like Men’s JournalSevenFifty DailyVanity Fair, and Well and Good.

Sources and Resources:

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