What Wine Blogging Needs
Not long ago I was queried by a writer about my thoughts on what if any impact wine blogs have had. Though I put it in more words than this, I think it can safely be said that wine blogs have, are and will impact the wine trade and wine industry.
However, the query got me thinking: What do wine blogs and wine bloggers need individually and collectively to make a REAL impact, a bottom line impact, a permanent impact on wine drinkers and wine traders. I think wine bloggers and the wine blogging community is most in need of the following five things if they are to really step up and play a more important role
Anyone who has read FERMENTATION for any amount of time will know that more than anything else, what would make this a better blog is a full time editor to look at my posts before I hit the "publish" button. While I might be more grammatically challenged than others, it is safe to say that a good percentage of wine blogs could benefit from a full time editor.
The thing is, editors don't just ferret out spelling errors and punctuation problems, though this is an important part of their work. They also watch for continuity within posts and across posts. They advise on the flow of posts. They can even be charged with advising the blogger on when a prospective post shouldn't really be published at all. If wine bloggers want to do one thing that will immediately make them more professional, it's engage an editor to look over their work before publication.
A Prolific Wine Reviewer
When asked what it will take for wine bloggers to be taken seriously, I always respond the same way: witness the emergence of a wine reviewer/blogger able to post 3000 good and useful wine reviews annually and do so using the 100 point scale as well as via written descriptions. Wine lovers, for better or worse, want a guiding hand to help them navigate the 1000s of wine at their disposal. That's wine the major wine magazines and newsletters are successful. They provide this service.
There is no wine blogger that reviews wines in the kind of prolific fashion that I'm suggestion here. But when there is, they will, assuming they are competent and experienced, attract an audience as larger or larger than any wine blog currently in existence. More importantly, by following a publishing philosophy of Abundance, this prolific blogger will draw attention to all wine blogs, and create something of a rising tide in the process.
Of course, doing this is not easy. How does one obtain 3000 wines to taste and review and taste and review them in a relatively consistent environment? It would help to be incredibly wealthy. But the difficulty of dong this is not the point. The point is that this key approach to blogging has not been undertaken. Things will change when someone does this.
I think some wine bloggers believe "marketing" and "public relations" are dirty words; that self promotion is either beneath them or just plain rude. It's not. Well, that is to say, it doesn't need to be. The individual wine blogger can instantly draw attention to themselves and their work just by doing some very simple things, as well as doing some slightly more complex marketing. The point, however, is this: If bloggers spent 1/4 of the time on marketing their blog that they spend on writing their blog, they'd see significant increase in traffic and readership. What, you ask, should you do to market your blog? That gonna cost you if you want me to help.
The day wine retailers start regularly using wine bloggers' reviews, and using them in abundance, all bets are off. Wineries and retailers both know that shelf talkers sell wine. Wine publications know that its very good for their circulation and ad rates when retailers use their reviews in abundance. To date there is very little use of wine bloggers' quotes and scores on retail shelves. Yet I can't figure out why. The fact is, a nice shelf talker with a real nice quote on it about the wine above it on the shelf will help sell that wine, no matter who is quoted. Yes, shelf talkers that quote the "Wine Spectator" and "Wine Enthusiast" and "Wine & Spirits" carry more weight than "Joe Wine Blogger". But WHO Joe is, really is less important to buyers than WHAT Joe says. Get retailers to quote bloggers and watch that blogger's reputation and readership soar.