How to do you plan and host a successful, private virtual wine tasting for press?
- Find the Intersections. Â Regardless of the format of the virtual tasting, find the intersection where your wineryâ€™s story intersects with current trend, or, if it bucks trends.
- Webinars are Storytelling Opportunities.Â Facts like pH and row orientation donâ€™t make good storytelling. Think about these virtual press encounters as opportunities to share your wineryâ€™s insights and expertise, not just facts and figures.
- A Webinar is not a Wine Tasting. Â Too many press webinars simply try to translate an in-person wine tasting to the digital realm. But the experience itself is different, because the medium is different. Generally, if you might have a 60 minute in-person tastings for a journalist, do the virtual version in 30 minutes.
- Use Multimedia. Two dimensional virtual tastings benefit by the use of pre-recorded video, props, and other â€œshow and tellâ€ that convert a boring monologue into a more engaging encounter.
- Whoâ€™s Your Audienceâ€™s Audience? How does your webinar connect with the journalist or freelancerâ€™s specific audience? So do your homework: research their last 5 articles, understand the demographics of their media outlet, and know the outlets slant.
- Share their Story. Make a point of sharing the writerâ€™s story through the wineryâ€™s social channels; their â€˜report cardâ€™ is often determined based on engagement.
How to Avoid Common Mistakes
Additionally, there are practical tips for ensuring the webinar is productive and professional.
Here are a few mistakes we often see and ways to correct them:
- Weak Internet Connection: Wherever possible, use a plugged in Internet connection rather than WiFi during your session. Weâ€™ve seen live interviews from the vineyard on a cell phone, with poor cell coverage, in high wind â€“ it doesnâ€™t work.
- Bad Audio: Use a wireless or wired microphone/headset for better audio quality. Simple earbuds are often better than relying on your laptopâ€™s mic.
- Poor Lighting; Find an indoor location with good lighting on your face that avoids shadows.
- Unflattering Camera Position: Ideally, the camera should be positioned slightly above your head, pointing down to your face, not the opposite.
- Reverse Video: If you hold up a bottle to show a pretty label, make sure you know if the image is reversed for the viewer.
At Benson, we believe virtual press tastings are here to stay. Todayâ€™s wine writer is likely a time-strapped freelancer who needs to pitch her editors and get assignments. She doesnâ€™t have time for luxurious lunches and multi-day press trips unless thereâ€™s an assignment.
Bottom line: it’s about respect. Respect for journalistsâ€™ time, respect for the demands of their editors, and respect for their audience. If you take an empathetic approach and do your research, you are more likely to help deliver successful, productive virtual wine tasting events for you and the media. That leads to coverage.