I’ve been looking into what wine blogs would be best for a wine retailer to be associated with.
“Associated with” could mean anything
- advertising in the sidebar
- commenting on their posts
- linking to for their erudite wine reviews and ratings
- taking a blog feed for your own website (if allowed)
- inviting to guest post on your own blog (probably paid as many seem to be journalists)
- to partnering with, in a 1000 different ways that makes sense for both parties.
The key criteria, as always, is how many sales you would get from being associated with a particular wine blog. Not just a one off low value sale, but high margin sales over the customer’s lifetime (probably a few years).
So it depends on the propensity of the wine reader to buy. Which is just an overly complex way of saying….
Who’s the primary target audience (for you the wine retailer)?
Obviously it is wine drinkers.
Probably not wineries, wine industry suppliers, wine makers, wine marketing consultants, other wine bloggers or anyone else who will not actually buy your wine.
I’m not saying that this group of people aren’t important – they are, indeed they may be a secondary target. But in my true hard-nosed-small-business-internet-marketing-approach we’re after wine consumers first and foremost.
Which wine drinkers in particular?
Wealthy consumers who will purchase their wine at your local wine store regularly. Some wine research has identified these and called them Experimenters and Image Oriented.
Here is a quick description:
- Image-Oriented seek information and will believe more expensive wines are better quality.
- Experimenter wine drinkers are keen to receive advice, will act on a knowledgeable sales person’s recommendation, and like to try different wines.
Which make up about 40% of the wine drinkers.
The other 60% are Conservative, Basic and Social wine drinkers. Conservative wine drinkers do not seek any information from anyone so are unlikely to be reading wine blogs (“old dogs and new tricks” sort of thing). Basic and Social will shop elsewhere (according to the research).
These two segments are likely to be male, tertiary educated, earning over $75,000 per year who seek advice and information about wine. The Experimenters know lots about wine, Image Oriented know only a little. So my job is to come up with a way to identify which bloggers do best with this target audience.
I see three steps:
- Come up with an initial list. This will end up as a manual process so I can’t do it for all 500+ wine blogs. I’ve made some initial calls on restricting this by only looking at blogs (see below for this definition).
- There are all sorts of ways to come up with comparative traffic volume (e.g. Alexa). But I need it by demography as well as volume.
- Then I need to sort the wheat from the chaff using quality factors such as how many authority sites link to them (a kind of “page rank”).
Note I’m not saying that women, blue collar workers, and low-middle income people aren’t likely customers! Just that we need a yardstick to judge the blogs by. Our task is to narrow the media blog choices down to fit our budget and/or time. I acknowledge this is my first controversial decision 😉
However I don’t look for controversy!
I ain’t no shock jock, just a humble wine industry blogger .
So if I’m going to publish a list of top blogs for a wine retailer to be associated with
- I want it to be as objective as possible. Not my opinion but rather the facts or as close to the facts as I can reasonably get.
- I want the methodology to be transparent. That may mean I use paid tools, but tools that anyone can purchase.
- I want it to be open to feedback. So if people have fair criticism of the process then it will be changed – no inflexible dogma here!
The first criteria – only free wine blogs
- The blog can be read for free i.e. no eRobertParker, Wine Spectator.
- It must be blog style not magazine style i.e. a log of thoughts with comments, e.g. not wineloverspage.com
- It must predominately be a blog not a forum i.e. author led with community comments.
- It must be by particular person(s) i.e. not a (faceless) corporate brand blog.
- It is not for a particular winery, just wine writers (amateur or pro), though it could be by a person who works in a winery.
- Audio and video blogs are fine where it is not in radio or TV station format.
- Indifferent as to whether it has any advertising or endorsements i.e. commercial or amateur.
- Can be wine tasting notes, wine industry thoughts, wine regional insights etc
- Must have a large US audience, international is fine it’s just that they won’t by from a US wine retailer (my target audience 😉 )
So what do you think so far?