How did we get here AGAIN.  I feel like we’ve had this conversation every year, since the year I began blogging.  Initially, it was a question of bloggers, online writers, whatever you want to call us, being irrelevant because we were the unknown factor.  Then it was an issue of credibility.  Now, it would appear, that a few people have taken it to the opposite extreme, and make a leap to the assumption that we are irrelevant because no one is reading us due to overload.

While it may be true that people don’t read wine blogs the way they “used to”, it’s also true that there are a lot more of them out there.  Many of those are noise, and not as impactful as the handful of those who have been writing for more than a year and are a known entity in the blogosphere.

According to a post by The Hosemaster of Wine (take this with a grain of salt people, regardless of where it was published), no one reads wine blogs.  No one?  That’s a curious statistic given my analytics and inquiries from interested parties who clearly read my content and ask questions, inquire about engagement, or ask me for ideas or speaking proposals.  The industry is interested and reading wine blogs, because they are seeking ways on how to engage with bloggers; the proof of this is all around us:  at the International Wine Toursim Conference in 2011, I discussed engaging bloggers, and this year at the Wine Tourism Conference, I will again be discussing who wine bloggers are, and how to work with them.

I think the key takeaways here are that you need to ensure that your blog and posts are relevant, engaging, and frankly – interesting.  Clearly, people are tuning out copy cat tasting notes, badly done videos, and the like.

However, the accusation that wine blogs have turned in to online diaries of what I ate this week is missing the mark.  Wine, in the context of a person’s life, is relevant when paired with life activities.   Which would you rather read?  This Cabernet was tasty.  I had it alone, while sitting at my desk.  Or, this cab went deliciously well with my steak Diane as it brought out the flavors of x, y, and z.

Clearly, people DO love a good story and are seeking that information on these blogs.  Which brings me to a great segway — this year at the Wine Bloggers Conference, one of the sessions will be focusing on creating compelling content.  This is a critical skill to have, and if you are finding yourself losing traffic, or not engaging your audience, then you need to be at this conference.

For me, I am all about engagement.  I speak at wine related conferences regarding engagement.  I tell people about engagement.  I will also be speaking at the Wine Bloggers Conference about Positioning Your Blog.  This is a great time to rethink what you are writing about and why, and think about how you might be tuning out your audience.  Do you even know who your audience is?

I engage with people every day as a part of my job.  They might be strangers, but I am required to network to be successful.  Blogging is no different.  I might not tell every winery that i visit that I am wine writer, but when I talk to people about wine, if the conversation comes up, yes I will mention it.  I am connecting with them, and they are engaging with me.  The vast majority of my readers are not wine bloggers.  Most of my readers are first time visitors, who were searching for specific information.

Yes, there is wine blog fatigue.  So don’t be boring!  Make the story take center stage.  Engage your audience in the story of the wine, and how you found the wine.  I say throw caution to the wind and talk about the weather that day, if you were in the Alps, or in Dry Creek Valley.  All of these factors contribute to the story, which is the central point of the blog.

Even those blogs that are purely tasting notes can still be engaging and interesting.  I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again.  Search.  Connect.  Engage.  Search for content that is meaningful to you and your target audience, in keeping with your blog’s theme or goals.  Connect with your audience, whether that is on social media or directly from your blog.  Engage with that audience by being an interactive part of their wine world.

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Bloggers are irrellevant? Really?”

    1. Can't wait to see you in the session! My cohorts Megan @ Wannabe Wino and Kathleen @ Behind the Vines and I have some great stuff in store!

    1. Thanks Jen! As a 6.5 year vet, these discussions get me heated. And yes, there are those that say "I picked my nose" on twitter/facebok/their blog, and weeding out the serious stuff from the fluff is challenging but these blanket commentaries irk me.

      🙂

  1. Hmmm. Not sure where to begin on this one. First, I guess, who cares if some people think that wine blogs are irrelevant? There are thousands (?) of us out there and few will suddenly stop blogging if they here that some bozo considers us "irrelevant". Second, if something is "irrelevant" by definition something else needs to be "relevant". Or is there now some huge void needing to be filled? I certainly don't think that print media has recently increased in relevancy–so what is it? Last, on a different plane, I am not sure it does us much good to continually dichotomize wine bloggers into "serious stuff" and "fluff". Who knows, likely those who consider themselves "serious" see my blog as "fluff" but I do know that I have loyal readers who seem to like what I have to say. For me, right now, that is certainly enough to encourage me to continually produce good content. If that makes me irrelevant, so be it–but somebody is reading it…..

    1. With respect, those of us who are serious bloggers who have been doing it for a long time and it's more than just a hobby – care. When mainstream media writes about how the industry doesn't care about bloggers, I care. Keep in mind that there is a long history here, and we have worked very hard to gain respect and credibility as writers, so yes. There is a big difference between the fluff and the relevant info. And to be clear – by fluff I mean people that create blogs for the soul purpose of gaining access to events, getting samples, and the such. They give ALL of us who spend more than 5 minutes on a post a bad name and poison the waters.

      And yes, you are actually making my point — we are clearly NOT irrelelvant because we have traffic and people are reading our content. BUT we do need to work at it, and ensure that we produce QUALITY content. Because if we stop doing that, then we ourselves, are fluff and contribute to the negative viewpoint of "bloggers" which knocks us back 10 years.

      1. Sorry, I guess I was not entirely clear. I say "who cares" not in the sense of "screw you, I will do what I want" but more in the sense of "I know I am relevant so it is clearly your issue, not mine." I am surprised often by people that come up to me in various situations to mention something that I wrote. It is empowering as well as comes with quite a bit of responsibility. I realize that this is not something only read by my wife and both my friends. So when I say "who cares" it is more saying–I know the guy is wrong and just looking to be controversial, so why should I give him the satisfaction (and the site hits)?

        1. Well I didn't link to his site for that reason 😉 However, yes, put in THAT context, I agree with you – however, I still stand by the point that by negating bloggers, he is making it that much harder for everyone else who IS relevant. I wouldn't pay so much mind to it if it wasn't on a very well established and important print media site.

          But keep up the good work! I read your blog, and even though I'm a blogger, and gazing at your navel, I also drink wine and therefore am a consumer.

          Cheers!

  2. "Experience has shown, and a true philosophy will always show, that a vast, perhaps the larger portion of the truth arises from the seemingly irrelevant." — Edgar Allan Poe

  3. Who do you think your target audience is? I'm having a hard time answering this question for myself. Should I take the stance " I'll write what I want and the audience will come" ?

  4. Well I write more about the story, the experience, and the travel – with wine inserted and surrounded by it. So i'd say my target is the armchair traveller, and the wine drinker who wants to move beyond the basics and outside of their known universe. BUT i'm on year 6 so…

    And yes, in the beginning, it was very much writing what I wanted to and seeing what happened. I still do that, but it's more fine tuned now. But I'm also not attempting to write for a living, as that impacts what and who your audience is.

  5. Aww, man! Now, if I’d known you were going to speak at WBC13 about blog positioning, I probably would have got off my backend and got my passport in time. I’ll be watching this space carefully WBC13 weekend!

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