Are you a winery for bloggers? That means you support, acknowledge and encourage bloggers to engage with your winery. How many blogs do you subscribe to? Talk about? Do you know any bloggers by name? Face? I think I’m starting a new campaign, a regular post about Wineries for Bloggers. Wineries that acknowledge and support the work of wine bloggers will also be recognized and appreciated for their forward thinking, progressive business acumen and twenty-first century-ness. Wineries that put Social Media to use are leaders in the wine industry and will be noted.
I’ve been polling bloggers about what they want from wineries for the wine industry. It was an informal poll via e-mail, twitter, conversations, and blogs. (I’m no Nate Silver www.fivethirtyeight.com, hence, informal poll) While I currently work for Hahn Family Wines, I publish this blog separately, outside of my work there. (in essence, I sometimes feel like I straddle both worlds, the wine marketer and the DIY blogger.)
Bloggers’ requests are pretty obvious and seem so simple considering their influence, passion and dedication to their work. Which brings me to another point: So many wine bloggers do it for love. Blogging likely doesn’t qualify even as a second job and most are lucky if their costs are covered by ads or supplemental support. There is a LOT of discussion going on about credibility in their industry, thanks to the first ever North American Wine Bloggers Conference, and that conversation will continue I’m sure. Rest assured, bloggers are not “bought” and are careful to reflect honestly their tastes, interests and values. They are a fun, educated, decent bunch of people we should all be so lucky to call friends.
Back to the question at hand: How can wineries contribute to the wine blogging part of our industry?
Wine Bloggers want acknowledgement, appreciation, respect. Frankly, many wine bloggers are as influential as any press, newspaper or print media when it comes to wine. They should have similar access, special blogger tasting forums, events, passes, discounts and wineries that are proactive in reaching out to them. But that means you have to know them. This is wine marketing and social media at its finest. Twentieth century marketing as Marta Kagen put it was “The old communication model…a monologue.” Social Networking is the new communication model which is, she says, “…a dialogue.” The numbers that back up this assertion are ridiculous, as in overwhelming, in support of a new model. (see What the F**K is Social Media) By all means, approach bloggers to come join you, but get to know who they are and what their blog is about. And if bloggers are coming to you, wineries, they are passionate about the industry and what you do, say yes! Can you spare your winemaker for 5 or 10 minutes? Or maybe the Vineyard Manager? Say “yes!” Anyone who is invested in the story, the vineyards and the juice. Welcome the wine bloggers. Understand that most wine bloggers will likely know more than your average tasting room employee. Maybe not about your brand, but about a diverse cross section of the wine world in general.
Look, even if they don’t LOVE your wine, they’ll appreciate your courtesy, customer service and other merits. Wine is such a personal and varied product. And wine bloggers are here to stay. The most recent count has the number of wine blogs near 1,000 world wide. I believe audiences will sort the quality, humor and content for themselves. Bloggers that aren’t meeting standards just won’t last. The internet is an ultimate democracy; yes, access is fairly easy, but those with influence have something valuable to say, to contribute and possibly they have a good editor.
My recommendation to wineries is to start reading wine blogs. Subscribe, engage, connect. “In 2008, if you’re not on a social networking site, you’re not on the internet.” (from What the F**K is Social Media) You’ll have to catch up someday. Wineries that don’t know any better will learn the hard way. Wine brings people together and so does social networking. There is a perfect convergence of populations here; One where wineries, bloggers and wine consumers win.
Are you a winery that supports the blogging industry?
Thanks to the following bloggers/twitterati for contributing to the conversation: @winebratsf, @juicecowboy, @sonadora, @winequester, @jugshop, @alexlewis, @scaldron, and many others across the bloggosphere. Thank you for your contribution to the wine world.