5 Rules For Successful Wine Blogging

WBAThe finalists in 9 categories of the 2012 Wine Blog Awards were announced today. If you examine them all, it's hard to not to be impressed with the quality. And it's hard not conclude that the blog publishing platform has delivered to the wine category a collection of voices that likely would have been silent and unknown just 10 years ago.

I've been helping the organizers of the Awards this year with a bit of marketing, PR and such. And the process led me think hard about what makes for a successful wine blog. I'm not sure there is a formula that can be easily followed. But I do believe that certain, specific practices that if employed are far more likely to result in a successful wine blog.

For those considernig launching a new wine blog, I submit the following.

1. Be Attractive and Easy To Navigate
Basically, don't make your potential readers work. Design your blog so that your latest posts are easy to access, you own profile info is easily accessible and access to categories of posts are easy to find. And make it easy on the eyes. I know my own blog doesn't necessarily follow this last rule, but it's a good rule nonetheless.

2. Post Frequently
Whatever aspect of wine and the wine drinking experience you choose to write about, do so frequently. Daily is best. Three-four posts per week is good. Frequent posting brings back readers. Frequent posting makes your blog more relevant. Frequent posting forces you to think more deeply about the topic you love because you must move beyond the more obvious subjects that, with frequent posting, will get covered quickly. Thinking more deeply is good!

3. Generously Cite Sources
If you refer to an article, a person, a subject matter, another blog…link to it. It's a courtesy to your readers, but it's also how you provide the appropriate background to what you are writing about. The sources and your readers will thank you.

4. Publicize Your Blog
I cite this rule with the assumption you want people to read what you have written. Use social media. Use email. Link to your blog in every digital tool you use. Consider a press release that goes to local media. Ask other bloggers to link to your site. Never post a comment on another blog without inserting your blog's URL in the signature. Inform wine news aggregation sites of your existence. And do all this regularly.

5. Write Something Original–Regularly
This, I think is critical. Don't be afraid to deliver your own unique opinion in your blog, even if it is not the usual take on a subject. Be original. Try to find that slice of a subject that has not been covered. Bring a new analytic perspective to those topics that may be covered regularly. If you don't, folks will notice pretty quickly that they've already read your post, just not on your blog, and will move on.

As I look through the various blogs that have been named finalists in the 2012 Wine Blog Awards, I notice that nearly all of them adhere to these rules. And they are the wine blogging rules I try to adhere to with FERMENTATION. I don't think successful, good, relevant wine blogging is brain surgery. I think it's a matter of commitment. And I think it's a matter of understanding the basics of communicating in an age of Opinion Broadcasting. 

3 Responses

  1. Lara Chapman - July 19, 2012

    Great tips! I started a wine blog a few weeks ago… honestly I had no idea the wine blog industry was this interesting. Unfortunately, I never checked out wine blogs until I started one (my bad), but now I’m a new and frequent reader of many. Most are good, some great, a few… stellar.

  2. Veronica - July 22, 2012

    Hi Tom, I’ve been following quite a few wine blogs for a while, and I’ve recently started a new wine blog (well, not fully started), designed for wine beginners, do you think some easy-to-read wine blog has a chance to get into the award? Or the wine blog awards are mainly for sophisticated blogs?

  3. Odd Bacchus - July 24, 2012

    Smart rules indeed. I especially agree with #5 – there are a lot of people writing about wine, and it’s important to stand out.
    But posting daily? That seems like a tall order, and I think potentially counterproductive to #5. I would rather read well-considered, carefully written posts twice a week than slapdash, hastily sribbled posts daily. Which is not to say that it’s not possible to post well-written pieces daily. Just less likely.

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