Passion and Knowledge at the Wine Bloggers Conference
Maybe it shouldn't be the case, but I find it far more enjoyable to look writers in the face and hear their words than to read their words remotely. This was confirmed last night when I sat in a room with a bevy of wine writers at the Wine Bloggers Conference in Charlottesville, Virginia and dined and drank and talk.
The blogger face-to-face was meant, simply, to bring together a lot of interesting people and talk blogging, wine and life. In the course of the evening I eventually had the opportunity to bring those around the table to what I think is an important topic for the wine blogging world: how to create a significant audience for a blog so that this well-read blog will make a difference in the world of wine, attract advertisers and spur readers to possess the confidence to check out and trust other bloggers
The suggestions varied, but many of the suggestions for how to do such a thing were agreed to by most n the room:
-Start with great content
-Use all forms of media to drive readers to the blog
-Write for consumers rather than bloggers or the trade
-Spend as much time marketing your blog as writing it.
-If ads and revenue is your goal, strive for quality readers.
This all seems to me somewhat obvious. And if it were all executed well and begun with a certain stash of funds particularly to get the marketing off the ground, one might succeed in growing a blog up the 50K to 80K unique readers monthly.
My two ideas for achieving a large base of readers remains what they were for the past few years:
1. Start a blog that chronicles what celebrities drink in restaurants and buy in stores. You'd need lots of informants and celebrities tend to guard their lives closely, which would make this a difficult thing to accomplish. However, were "TMZ-Wine" blog started and if it gathered the informants one would need to make it successful, I am positive our celebrity-obsessed culture would make a be line for the blog and readers would abound.
2. Start a serious, deep, extensive wine review blog that strove for at least 100 reviews per month, all well categorized and all give relatively short descriptions along with a score on the 100 point scale. The Wine Advocate, The California Grapevine, Burghound, Connoisseurs Guide and International Wine Cellar were all successful not only because the palates behind them were and are remarkable, but also be cause of the extensive number of reviews they deliver. This later element, in my mind, is a crucial element to a successful wine-related publishing endeavor.
It was a lively conversation around the table in the private room at Hamilton's at Main and First in the downtown mall, not far from the Omni Hotel where the Wine Bloggers Conference is being held. And the minds at the table were pretty impressive: David White, Angela Logomasini, William Allen, Lisa Mattson, Allan Wright, Craig Camp, Joel Vincent, Taylor Eason, Jeff Lefevere, Anthony Burich, and David Honig.
I left wondering if this collection of talent, if called upon, and given the funds, could successfully create a blog that attracted the kind of readership necessary to attract thongs. I think they could, of course. Listening to each of them you realized they all had the one key factor necessary for delivering the goods: passion and knowledge.