Michael Wangbickler on October 19th, 2009

BlogI’ve heard this phrase countless times from wineries interested in exploring the world of social media marketing. The truth is, however, that not every winery needs or should have a blog. Before starting a winery blog, here are a few things you might want to keep in mind:

  1. What are your goals? Why do you want a blog? What will it be about? Do you have a clear understanding of the benefits of having one? Your blog will be doomed to failure if you don’t have a clear idea of what you want to accomplish. Set down a plan of action and follow it. It doesn’t have to be complicated, but you should ast least have an end goal in mind.
  2. What is the subject? What’s it about? Why would people want to read it? There are over 1000 wine blogs in existence and many of those are winery blogs. You will need to differentiate yourselves from them. If you wish to pull in new readers, you need a compelling story and your posts should be interesting.
  3. How often will you post? Blogs live or die by content. The more you produce, the more often readers will come back. The most successful blogs post articles at least once per day. That is a lot of content to generate. On average, I’d say that winery blogs post much less, but it should still be two to three times per week. Do you have that much to say? I know any number of blogs that have died, because they run out of gas after a few months, and reality sets in.
  4. Who is going to write it? A blog takes time away from other activities. If you are a winemaker, manager, president, etc., is crafting a blog the best use of your time? On average, I spend about 1 to 2 hours on a blog post. Sometimes more (like that last monster), and sometimes less. Does that sound like something you can do four to seven days a week?
  5. How will you promote it? Blogs are not Fields of Dreams. If you build it, they won’t necessarily come (I wonder if the producers of that film had any idea how much it would be used as a marketing analogy for years to come, but I digress). You need to promote your blog, so that people can find you. SEO is only one part of the equation. You need to integrate promotion of the blog in all your marketing efforts. List it on sell sheets, link it to your website, send emails to your customer list, include info in your wine club shipments or newsletters, and leverage other social media tools such as Facebook and Twitter.
  6. How will you measure it? How do you know that your efforts are bearing fruit? Or, how do you know how to make adjustments? How does this fit in with your goals? Through measurement, you will have a clear idea of how many people are reading your posts and visiting your site. It is easy to gather this kind of data through Google Analytics or Compete.

If you can’t answer all the questions and address the issues I’ve listed here, then maybe you aren’t ready for a blog.

Starting a winery blog should not be taken lightly. Do your homework, put down some goals, and stick to the plan. That is how to launch and maintain a successful winery blog.

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3 Responses to “What we need… is a blog!”

  1. Excellent cautionary post, Michael. One of our mutual acquaintences places blogging at the bottom of the list for winery marketing activities, emphasizing the need to take care of “the basics” first.

    That said, one of the primary reasons to have a winery blog is when (for whatever reason) your winery Web site is hard to maintain/update.

    New wineries should probably consider using blogging software to build their site, as it can avoid the hard-to-update problem.

    As far as promotion, the most common failure I see is failing to link blog to Web site, and vice-versa.

    Would love to have The Winery Web Site Report be added to your “Links” list at the right!

  2. Good point Mike. I’ve encountered this with multiple client websites. The recently relaunched Academy of Wine Communications website was done using WordPress blogging software for this very reason. It provides a mostly FREE content management tool.

    “As far as promotion, the most common failure I see is failing to link blog to Web site, and vice-versa.” – OR burying it so deep in the site that nobody can find it.

    P.s. I’ll add your site to my links.

  3. Great post, now what do I do, lol

    I am passing this on…

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