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Wine Retailers and Local Wine Bloggers – an opportunity for both

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while, you’ll have seen that I believe a local wine retailer has a huge local advantage over large and online wine retailers.

There are many ways a wine retailer can take leverage this – freight, service, search engines, adwords, shopping sites… and one of more way is to cooperate with local wine bloggers.

Local Wine Bloggers

Sure they’re not going to be as large as the top wine bloggers I’ve been reviewing. But you have some overlapping interests not the least of which is a similar passion for wine. More about the common interests below.

First a way to select some local wine bloggers

In my last post I recommended a process on how to rank wine blogs.

Here’s the same process but with a local spin for a small local wine retailer:

  1. List. Compile a list of wine (or perhaps food / restaurant) bloggers who are locals (and therefore have readers who may shop at your store) – search google.com and blogsearch.google.com for say “wine blog” [your city].
  2. Size. See if they provide any data on their readership e.g. feedburner badge stats. Preferably choose blogs with a Compete Rank (not Unique Visitors as its misleading) of at least 500,000 but chances are that they’ll be 1,000,000+ or not ranked, which is acceptable as the key factor is to have local readers
  3. Authority. Go to Open Site Explorer and see what their SEOmoz Page Authority is for their home page. It would be nice if it is in the 40s or 30s, but its likely to be 20s
  4. Personality Fit. Read their last few months of blog posts to be sure you agree with their general thoughts and tone (nice guy, humorous but cynical, weird and wacky, very serious and technical, more new world than old world, prefer reds to whites…)
  5. Engagement. Go to PostRank and see if you can get any data on their posts – probably not. But it would be nice if they had scores that total 20-30 plus over the last 10 posts

With any luck you now have a list of local wine bloggers! Great first step.

I’ll provide some reviews of more social media measurements in future posts. Currently they’re pretty limited unless you have a deep corporate wallet.

In the meantime let’s do a bit of math.

Social Media Math

This is all about “new-age word of mouth” – social media referrals.

Wine bloggers are not so much a customer, as a partner in crime, I mean wine.

The simple commercial math looks like this:

Value of purchases per annum (or per 6 months or 5 years etc)
MINUS Cost of acquisition pa
(usually advertising)
EQUALS customer value pa

But in this new social media world of heavy internet users you also add:

Referred people who purchase (% that accept referral TIMES Size of their networks)
TIMES Value of purchases
EQUALS Value of new customers from referrals

Graph of Der letze Schrei - Blog

===== Sidenote =====
For the record as a wine industry blogger, I also add:
+ Value of insights + Value of support + Value of ideas
==================

So the aim is to calculate the value of purchases from these referrals. More of this in a sec.

Contact the blogger

Invite them for a coffee or wine, and see if there are ways you can work together.

I’d keep it that general.

Perhaps suggest some fool you’ve been reading (me 😉 ) reckons that a wine blogger could help a retailer (feel free to refer them to this post for background and to get the ideas flowing).

At the end of the day this is just a friendly business arrangement between two people who care about the same thing – wine.

Maybe the blogger is thinking about:blah blah blog

  • material to write about
  • backlinks / reciprical links
  • store tasting opportunities
  • tasting events that they run in your store
  • paid writing work
  • free / discounted wine
  • advertising

Note they will want to ensure they stay independent, and abide by FTC disclosure requirements.

What you are after depends on your business objectives

Let’s say you want to increase the engagement you have with customers on your website.

You could do this care of:

  • a blog post on their site about a particular niche range you stock with a link to your store’s product page
  • a blog post from you on their site linked back to a different post on the same topic on your site (you don’t want duplicate content)
  • a guest post on your blog
  • ratings and reviews of some of your high margin wines
  • tweeting about some interesting wines you have
  • doing a tasting and them writing about it in a forum with a link back to your store as well as their blog

I have no doubt that over a bottle of good wine you’d come up with a great list of ideas!

How to measure their value?

The best way is to regularly assign a blogger a low volume premium wine brand that they’re interested in (no point in providing a big seller as you’ll struggle to identify blogger related sales).

Then measure sales in the month(s) of their activity.

Try that every month (week?) for 3-6 months. If you see an increase in sales then start offering more cooperation and resources.

Doesn’t work? Then try another blogger or another marketing method. Actually you should be doing this anyway but I’m getting off topic.

The post may be on their blog or your blog/website. Note if they end up writing content on your site then it has to be

  • unique, not duplicated on their site or just a copy of an existing blog post
  • the canonical URL has to be for your domain

See duplicate content penalties for more about this.

Wine Win Win

Which is my way of saying win win in the wine industry. Boy that’s corny.

But it’s a great example of the way two parties could both gain out of a business relationship.

What’s your thoughts? (not about “wine win win”, I should probably delete that)

Photo courtesy of Blog, Blah Blah Blog, and Graph of Der letze Schrei – Blog

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