The Booze Bin

3 lessons learned from a PR wine newbie

wineAs a virtual stranger to wine PR (but definitely not to wine), getting tossed into the ring was a teensy bit stressful, to say the least. But hey, I don’t mind conducting my research at the liquor store. Definitely beats a library.

After spending 2014 knee-deep in the industry, I’ve taken away a few glassfuls (get it?) of knowledge to fortify myself for the year to come. While there’s definitely a great deal of knowledge I have yet to gain, here are the top three things I learned:

1) Making sure a wine brand’s voice is heard in a saturated wine media landscape is a bit tricky. Well, that’s an understatement. Let’s just say it’s tear-inducing.

Though there are hundreds of wine blogs, columns, magazines, etc., when everyone in the industry is vying for a mention, things get competitive. Though it’s difficult, it’s important to identify the aspects of a wine brand’s identity that make it niche enough to stand out to media, but appealing enough to consumers.

2) Events are huge in the wine PR industry. Walk-around tastings, wine seminars, press lunches with winemakers… The thing is, there are usually three million of…

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Oscar Winning Health

As I was sitting in the movie theater watching previews of the many Oscar-nominated flicks that came out this winter, I noticed a theme: health has again made its way into our movies.

Still AliceMovies like Cake, Still Alice and The Theory of Everything are offering glimpses into diseases and conditions which many of us have never seen. These powerful stories allow us to deeply understand things like chronic pain, Alzheimer’s and ALS from the patient’s perspective. And, these actors can’t help but get Oscar buzz when portraying such raw and honest emotion, often doing major research and even meeting patients in order to bring real authenticity to their performance.

In fact, a new series on cancer research set to release in March is deeply personal to those involved in the project. Ken Burns, the filmmaker, lost his mom to cancer. Sharon Rockefeller, the project’s initiator, is a colon cancer survivor. And, Edward Hermann, the narrator, died of brain cancer shortly after completing work on the film. I’m not sure you can get more personal or genuine.

Even more than a blog post or video that claims…

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Internal Communications

5 Free Tools for Communicators in 2015



It’s the beginning of a new year, and communicators are starting to execute their plans for engaging, informing and inspiring employees in 2015.

Here are five free tools to help communicators accomplish goals and revolutionize communications this year.



1. FlatIcon

Make your documents and decks more creative with FlatIcon.3b71c073edf470e4179f9152393ec90a

The use of icons has grown in recent years and has become a staple in creative materials. When used in the right situation, icons can increase employee engagement and make communications memorable. The best part of FlatIcon is that you don’t have to be a designer or have experience with InDesign to include icons in your documents now. This free website allows anyone to choose from thousands of icons and download them directly to their computer. Once there, you can insert them into your one-pager, deck or proposal with ease.

Tip: After inserting the icon into your Word Document file, change the settings to make it easier to move around in the document. Go to: Format > Wrap Text > In Front of Text

2. Bananatag

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Search Marketing

How basic on-site optimization can lead to big SEO rewards

In the fall of 2014 we pursued some minor site updates for our North Carolina Sweet Potato client in an effort to help enhance their visibility in Google. With Thanksgiving approaching we knew we wanted traffic to our Sweet Potato content from users who searched for sweet potato-related content throughout the month of November. To achieve this goal and get more raw traffic to our client’s website, we went through our standard SEO process that included:

  • Keyword Research: Understanding what type of sweet potato searches occur in Google.
  • Content Generation: Identifying current content that needed enhancements as well as new content that needed to be generated based off of keyword research.
  • Architecture: New content was getting added to the site and we wanted to keep the navigation structure clean and intuitive for both users and search engines.
  • Optimization: We weren’t just going to publish any content – with our content we ensured that basic on-site optimization was covered. Keyword integration, page titles and meta descriptions were all a part of our process.
  • Promotion: To supplement our organic search efforts we wanted to run a quick PPC campaign, too. Not knowing exactly how and when Google would respond to our content changes for organic rankings our PPC campaign would be a sure-fire way to get our content in front of our audience.


Our efforts definitely paid off and our North Carolina Sweet Potato website received a phenomenal amount of traffic during the month of November. Here are some highlights and a deeper dive (all comparisons are comparing November of 2014 to November of 2013):

  • Overall visits grew by 487%
  • Organic Google traffic grew by 560%
  • 80% of traffic was organic
  • 46 keywords that land a number 1 result in Google
  • 139 keywords that land a page 1 result in Google
  • 120 keywords saw positive movement in Google results
  • 5% of traffic was paid and averaged a $0.17 CPC
  • Searchers really want to know the difference between a Sweet Potato and a Yam

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Wine, Food & Nutrition

Trends You Need to Know From the Winter Fancy Food Show

The specialty food industry is more robust and innovative than ever before. It is a great time to be in the gourmet foods business, and there is no better place to see the latest and greatest than the Fancy Food Show. Walking the floor with a keen eye, you will uncover the hottest categories, boldest flavors and latest trends shaping the industry’s growth.

Fresh JerkyFresh Jerky: It sounds oxymoronic, but this is not your father’s jerky if you’re thinking of the tough leathery jerky he’d grab while fueling up the car on that road trip. I first discovered this new age of jerky while dining at Country Cat in Portland Ore. The Hand Cut House Beef Jerky was an eye opener that quickly disappeared when passed around the table. Brands are bringing it to retail combining better meats with a more natural process delivering delicious results. Krave has had great success in the category, but it is facing increased competition. Chef’s Cut Real Jerky had a selection of beef, chicken and turkey jerky. Chef Blair even let me have a taste of a pork tenderloin jerky he…

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