The Wine Bloggers Conference held annually somewhere is US wine country (different location every year) is always a great opportunity to meet fellow wine bloggers and wine industry players. A fantastic networking event!
But the WBC also aims at putting together wine lovers and wine professionals for sharing and exchanging knowledge, for the benefit of the whole worldwide community.
All wine bloggers are in fact somewhat community managers, in the sense that they all bring action and engagement to the digital wine world, on social media and the web. So the better they are at generating value for the community, and the better they are at writing about wine in a meaningful way, the more the whole world of wine gets easy access too useful, relevant, and accurate information about our favorite product, most-generally for free.
What a cause to be supporting!
This is why, or at least my take on it, the #WBC16 organizers asked one of the most qualified wine professionals (and friendly and approachable too!) to give the conference’s introductory keynote.
Andrea Robinson MS is one of 26 women that have passed the Master Sommelier examination in the whole world. She also has a strong culinary pedigree as a graduate and former Dean of the French Culinary Institute, and she’s the winner of three James Beard Awards.
Andrea is often famous from her many features across leading national US television networks. Let’s say then that she knows about wine, and more importantly here she knows how to talk about it to a large audience in a relevant and meaningful manner!
Learn more about the keynote speaker by reading our Quick Interview with Master Sommelier Andrea Robinson MS at #WBC16:
As the expert that she is, Andrea Robinson kindly shared her vision on how to work towards becoming a successful wine blogger, and more widely a successful wine communicator.
For the broad benefit of the community, I am reporting below the key points and concepts brought up by Andrea at her 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference’s keynote in Lodi wine country.
Disclaimer: this is not an absolutely-exact report of Andrea’s keynote but my own interpretation of it and what I have taken home from it, put in shape in most cases using my own words. If there are errors and/or approximations, they are mine.
Wine Blogging is a 2-legged tool:
- First leg is the blogger
- Second leg is the content
I – The Blogger: How to amp your value as a wine expert/communicator?
No one is born a wine expert. Luckily baby bottles aren’t filled with the stuff!
So how do you raise your own level to be more useful to others? Here were what I’ve noted from Andrea’s main points:
They give you knowledge and therefore credibility therefore can represent a solid base for anyone willing to communicate/blog about wine.
Work for free?
Choose carefully what you work for free for, you have to get some value out of it. In the end, if your activity is not sustainable, it’ll benefit others for less long, eventually bringing less value all in all that if you could sustain it by getting paid.
Get in the trenches
Wine is not all glamorous. Many have to do the hard work for us to enjoy these delicious glasses of fermented grape fruit juice. Knowing that side of the industry is important if you want to picture the true story of the wine industry.
Many knowledgeable wine people, are very generous too, and they are often prepared to share their knowledge and their time to help others make progress in their own life and career. Why not using it in a positive way?
Celebrating others elevates you, increases knowledge and skills, and demonstrates your commitment to the industry.
II – The Content: How to create interesting and appealing content for wine blogs
There are two main aspects to blogging content; success comes from the combination of well-thought actions on both:
Quality comes from value-creating content
Quality of content is what brings credibility.
Proof has been made time and time again that the most successful wine blogs are those that have demonstrated the ability to create analytical content, content that:
- And/Or educates
- And/Or Entertains/distracts
Whichever of these 3 ways it does it, quality content has to provide genuine value to the reader/viewer.
Content strategy: Engage an audience in a way that’s value-creating
Without a clear strategy, even quality content is likely not to be broadly noticed. Each piece of content might be good, but the whole wine blogging approach or vision won’t be understood, preventing the word for spreading as it should.
First step of a good content strategy: analyze and know your audience:
- Is it primarily a new audience or a returning one?
- Is it sticky, loyal, both?
- Is it active, sharing, what do you expect them to do with your content beyond consuming it: sign up, click through, etc.?
Second step: work on your topic. Engaging topics are:
And thirdly, last but not least: bring your personal take on it:
This will provide your wine content with 3 keys to success:
- Credibility and/or a unique perspective
- Quantity: if it’s a personal approach, you are likely to be able to produce more quality than if you’re trying to fake it.
- Wears well: authenticity (or not) is visible in a piece of content like a nose in the center of a face (French expression). Successful content can only be on the bright side of the force.
I am very thankful to Andrea Robinson MW for sharing her thoughts and a precise analysis on how to construct a successful wine blog.
Many of these rules I have tried to apply too Social Vignerons since its creation back in 2014. Have I been successful in applying these rules? I like to think I have, but am I objective about it?
Let me know in the comments.
Learn more about the whole 2016 Wine Bloggers Conference’s experience here:
Find out more articles related to wine communication on this very blog in our Social Media, Marketing & Wine section: