Who doesn’t love a big wet sloppy kiss every now and then? Oh good grief: perhaps it is a wild frontier in the wine industry with the emergence of Web 2.0. It isn’t easy trying to figure out where wine industry, wine/web 2.0 companies and wine bloggers all fit in together and how they fit together. But no one can deny the direction and the trend toward web 2.0 participation in social networking, wine consumers and wine technology businesses. Yes, I’ve covered parts of this topic before (Wineries and Bloggers). And there is something to add to this conversation based on recent blows, insults and online conversations between old media and wine bloggers.
Frankly, I’d like to see wineries sponsor wine bloggers to get to the WBC. I may end up in hot water for saying this, but I believe the community will benefit if the experienced, contributing, talented bloggers are in the room (and not just the ones who can afford to be there). And why not? Why shouldn’t the wine industry invest in the blogging industry as a whole. It certainly isn’t going anywhere. Do we want honesty? Sure. Transparency? Of course. So let’s set it up that way. We’ll need the voices of capable, committed of bloggers (or blobbers) with talent and integrity. Fortunately, I don’t think it will be too hard to find those wine bloggers.
The last paragraph was an excerpt from a comment I posted on DirtySouthWine ‘s blog. I continue to think there is value in wineries and bloggers working together to increase the flow of information, education and all that is extraordinary about the wine experience to consumers and anyone passionate about wine. Initially I approached Joel Vincent regarding a winery funded sponsorship for bloggers to attend the WBC. Unfortunately, resources (human, time) were in short supply to make it happen this year. Alternately, wineries could offer to sponsor bloggers directly. Certainly include transparency, honesty, and what works for your program. The idea is to contribute value, increase access, information, education and promote the wine experience.
Bloggers are different from journalists. They have been called “other” (thanks, 1WineDude) and they have been likened to “Faith Healers” (Jeff Cox). Wine lovers who are moved to blog have also been called influencers (Joel Vincent). Similar to getting advice from our most trusted friends and family, regarless of their certification or education, bloggers are also influencers to their peer-like community. Research indicates that people trust their chosen influencers in their friends and family circle more so than they trust advertising, marketing and businesses. Likewise, it seems many bloggers have already decided that their own audience will determine their value, appreciating their integrity and content. Or not.
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Posted in blogging, California wine, Hahn estates, online community, online marketing, WBC, web 2.0, Wine 2.0, Wine Bloggers Conference, tagged Blogger access, Blogger Certification, Bloggers Lounge on January 13, 2009|
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Conversation among wine industryprofessionals, marketing strategists and wine bloggers this week includes talking about some kind of Wine Blogger Certification, or a standard that ends up with a Seal of Approval in order to quickly and easily provide bloggers access to events, wineries, industry programming and so on. I can see why some business people might seek such a …label, but I wonder about a simplified structure and I have many questions about how, why, wherefore.
The very counter-culture nature of blogging defies this kind of labeling and classification. The bloggoshpere is the untamed frontier and an exciting place to find opinions, stories and recommendations. I have certainly heard people post that “some bloggers just want free (stuff) wine”. But as I have spent some time reading wine blogs and actually spent time with the wine bloggers themselves, it is not an easy (usually unpaid) job to wine blog. Any level of credibility or readership is hard earned and maintained by a level of quality, personality and humor.
I have been a regular advocate for blogger access to the wine industry in the same way we grant access to traditional media and press. Wine bloggers have an outreach that can potentially go deeper and beyond traditional print media…at least in the wine industry. Just recently Hahn Estates hosted the first Bloggers Tasting Forum and ZAP will have a sponsored Bloggers Lounge offering bloggers free access to the 2 day event. So far, these beginnings have suggested tremendous success in blogger/wine industry relationship building. The expectation is that this access will directly benefit not just bloggers and wineries, but the consumers. With greater access to information, recommendations and outreach, we aim to convert more people into wine lovers everywhere.
So, how would you classify bloggers? They are a complex and various group of wineophiles from all over the world. The current count is over 1,000 wine blogs and growing. How would you define which ones get credentials for the wine events and which ones don’t?
- By Readership?
- Quality of writing?
- Their own level of wine education?
And what if the wine blogger…a really great one…isn’t interested in the credential? Most of the wine bloggers I have met are stunningly smart and busy with day jobs, families, hobbies and fully packed lives. And as I have said before, they do their wine blog strictly for the passion of it. The Wine Bloggosphere is better off because of them. I would hate to see them squeezed out by beaucracy or obstacles that have less to do with a passion for wine and more to do with sorting that helps marketers achieve ROI.
What are your thoughts?
Graphic courtesy of Google Images.
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Posted in 12Seconds.tv, blogging, online community, online marketing, Silicon Alley Insider, Twitter, WBC, web 2.0, Wine 2.0, Wine Bloggers Conference, tagged 12Seconds.tv, e-Marketing, Facebook, online community, Silicon Alley Insider, Twitter, web 2.0, Wine 2.0, Wine Bloggers Conference on October 8, 2008|
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It’s getting pretty weird out there. Well, it probably has been for awhile. So what are you going to do about it? You have some options: My least favorite and perhaps one of the most popular positions is the fetal position. Either mentally or physically, people may consider adopting a curl-up-until-it’s-over attitude. And maybe that works for some people. However, while I don’t look forward to crisis, I do recognize the opportunity for, leadership, new deals, new connections and being the carrier of light across the darkness.
Marketing, PR and all new e-marketing opportunities are bursting with possibility right now. Twitter has posted their Top 50 Tweeples (are you connected to them?), AND is partnering with Current TV (watch their amazing “Hack-the-Debate” programming of the Presidential debates posting real-time tweets). YouTube is experimenting with click-to-buy placement with Amazon.com. Blogging, Video blogging and many other forms of Social Media are exploding with popularity while corporations race to figure out how to maximize advertising in web’s social-sphere. The video version of Twitter, 12Seconds.TV is about to go public, currently in their alpha testing phase. The Wine Blogger’s Conference is completely sold out in Sonoma County with special guest, Gary Vaynerchuk this month. The list goes on as Facebook upgrades their applications and races to keep up with their users. Google is working on a browser (Chrome) that, when completed, will change the way the average Mom, Senior and student not just uses the web, but interacts with and seamlessly integrates online experiences within their lives. If you think that is dramatic, I haven’t emphasized enough how life changing all of these tools will be.
So what does all this mean to you?
You still have a minute to figure out where you will fit in. But only a minute. When New Media goes super-nova, you could be left unconnected. And thereafter, you’ll be running to catch up. Whatever your business, you must find out how you will thrive online. Meanwhile, the bottom line is still your communication and connection to your customer base. Nurture and nourish that relationship; especially during tough economic times. They will remember that and thus be even more loyal customers. A sense of connection, security and belonging is important anytime within our community; it is invaluable during these times and will go a long way in defining the quality and commitment of your online community. You’ll extend your reach and achieve greater bang for your marketing buck this way, while offering something of value to your client base. And they won’t forget that. You can’t beat being human. It’s way better than being a corporation…even if you are a corporation. (for more details on this perspective, check out this post on the Silicon Alley Insider) Then you become that light in the darkness…and that light is contagious.
I have two thoughts from Bill gates to leave you with.
“There will be two types of businesses by 2010- those that are online and those that are out of business.”
“The Internet will help achieve “friction free capitalism” by putting buyer and seller in direct contact and providing more information to both about each other.”
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