Imagine this: a wine journalist is about to publish a review of one of your winery’s recent releases. They are going to recommend the bottle for holiday dinners, so a deadline is coming up. They need a bottle shot and some detail from the tech sheet to submit to their editor before the end of the day, and it’s getting late. Let’s say this writer is in another time zone, another country even, and they can’t message or call you in time. So they head over to your website to get the information they need.
Does this story make you excited? Or anxious? If your website has an up-to-date media page, all you need to do is wait for the story to come out and enjoy the publicity. If the writer finds mostly out of date or poor quality information when they look at your website, you may lose the opportunity to be featured.
“Of course the most important aspect of small producers’ sales is online ecommerce capabilities,”says Sebastien Tremblay, founder and chief executive officer of Troly.
He works with wineries around the world, and knows without a doubt the value of having a robust online presence in a world where people may never even visit the tasting room.
This digital real estate is ultimately a significant part of your brand — imagine if a wine critic were to wander into the tasting room and discover that your staff was unable to provide accurate information about the wine that was poured in their glass.
“This is also why an ‘’our story’, a media page, and trade page is essential,” says Tremblay. “Much like consumers, anyone in the industry looking for high quality product information is not interested in waiting for an email response or filling in a contact form.” If you can optimize the page for mobile use, even better, because the only reason most people will pick up the phone is to use it as a handheld computer.
If a winery or wine brand doesn’t offer relevant, consistent, and appealing images and product information to the media, poor quality information will be used. Worse yet, a different producer — with info easily available online — will be featured. Don’t require a login or password. It is tempting to worry that this information will end up in the wrong hands, but if it’s accurate and consistent with your brand, it won’t likely be used in the wrong way. It’s better to make it easy and clear.
What should be on your media page?
Here’s a checklist of what your winery website needs to be useful to the press.
Bottle shots for every product: These should accurately represent the wine’s color, bottle shape, label, closure, and vintage. These can be the same bottle shots that you use for ecommerce, vendor platforms, and marketing but they need to be organized in a way that makes it easy for the media to find and use them. Keep in mind that hi-res versions for media are also useful, because ecommerce images are most likely optimized for digital use. Don’t expect them to browse your store or Instagram to find them. Get your first bottle shot for free.
Tech sheets for every product: You probably have these, but are they all in one place, organized by product or vintage? Don’t make anyone hunt down important details. Remember that the journalist may be looking to feature your wine for an unexpected reason — it’s made with native yeast or enclosed by a screw cap — so they may be combing for details that are only on the tech sheet. Think beyond the standard information and enhance your tech sheet with sustainability information, environmental considerations, ingredient content, calorie count, and other interesting items that elaborate on the uniqueness of your product.
Press coverage library: Show writers that your winery is media friendly and that you care about how your product and people are presented in the press. Keeping a chronicle of coverage is useful so that journalists can see what other publications found interesting or have already written about.
A digital press kit: Don’t have one yet? It’s time to make one. A basic kit should contain a background sheet on your winery, bios of key staff, awards and scores, winery logo, contact information, and social media links. You can also include a link to tech sheets and bottle shots here too.
Press release diary: Have a home inside your media page for all the press releases you’ve sent.
Story starters: It doesn’t hurt to offer a list of themes that you think readers would find interesting. Maybe your land is home to centuries-old buildings, or your winemaker is also an award-winning musician — give writers a reason to dig deeper and you’ll improve your PR and press opportunities. This is also a place to include keywords and SEO so that if someone is searching for a winery with your particular qualities, your name pops up in their options.
Photo and video library: It’s a good idea to keep an organized set of photos and videos that can be used with credit. Many publications are working with digital stories these days, so they like the flexibility to download your image file and upload it with the article. These include lifestyle images of your wine as well as the faces of key staff, vineyard images, and hospitality area photos.
Contact information: If there’s someone that works directly with the media, give their direct email and phone number. And let that person know that their contact information has been published and their contact preferences are clearly communicated.
Sebastien Tremblay is the chief executive officer at Troly, a software solution for the management and distribution of wine sales. He has a passion for working with producers to better understand their business, increase their margins, and shine the spotlight on their wines.