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Wine Blogger Audience and Blog Quality Factors

I’ve finally come up with a list of wine bloggers that I can do some analysis of.

I ended up basing it on the various blog search engines and one thing became immediately clear – the blog search engines have some more work to do!

I think I’ve been reasonably accurate, and at the very least I’ve been transparent and objective. Time to move on to the next stage.

Wine Blog Assessment Process

Check the last few blog posts for the process I’ve been following. In short there are 3 steps:

1. (DONE) Come up with an initial list. I ain’t superman 🙂 , I’m just unable to manually assess all 500+ wine blogsBottle Quality Control
2. Come up with comparative traffic volume by target audience.
3. Use quality factors to rank them.

I’m now up to step 2 which seems to have a fair overlap with step 3, just why will become apparent below.

Wine Blog Website Traffic

I’m both comfortable and terrified of estimating the volume of traffic.

Comfortable in that there are a number of good tools for estimating traffic. I suspect that most of the wine blogs are actually quite small so this won’t be a deciding factor for most of the list.

Terrified that someone will take this analysis the wrong way (I’m such a wimp). These tools are for comparative purposes between websites – not as an accurate traffic count. However someone who doesn’t know about the vagaries of these tools could take offense. My apologies in advance :).

What’s the Target Audience

Back at the start of this series of posts I outlined a target market.

They’re the ones who are likely to shop at fine wine stores and repeatedly buy premium high margin wines. Wine retailers want these people – not the budget buyers who shop around for the best deal.

It included some insights into why they bought wine (e.g. to experiment or impress) as well as who they were – the demographics. The former helps come up with the creative ideas (for blog posts or ad copy), the later helps with deciding on which websites (in this case blogs) to work with.

The Social Media Brief

Like any professional marketer the first thing I decided to do was write a (Social) Media Brief. To myself. Which sounds a little wierd.

By writing a brief I’m forcing myself to set some objectives and specific measures of success.

Here are some sections of the brief (I tried to, and still intend to, write):

  • Background
  • Business Objective
  • Social Media Objective(s)
  • Target Audience
  • Success Metrics or KPIs
  • Deliverables
  • Budget and Timeline
  • Mandatories

Some of this is easy

Business Objective
Increase online sales by x% for y period vs the same period last year e.g 15% for Q1 2010 vs Q1 2011. It could be further refined to: increase repeat online sales for premium wine products by 25%.

Budget
Virtually none 😉

Mandatories

  • Targeted audience must be 21 years or older with no sign of any underage marketing.
  • No dubious associations e.g. with pornography or gambling.
  • Exact URL, anchor text, store name and logo

Some of this I’ve already done

Target Audience
Primary: Experimenter wine drinkers are keen to receive advice, will act on a knowledgeable sales person’s recommendation, and like to try different wines.
Secondary: Image-Oriented seek information and will believe more expensive wines are better quality.
Both: Wealthy consumers who will purchase their wine at your local wine store regularly. 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.
Geography: United States, or e.g. MidWest or even narrower e.g. Chicago or go local e.g. these wealthy suburbs and the CBD in Chicago.

The rest however needs some more thinking, especially Social Media Objective(s)

In my corporate alcohol beverage marketing days I use to set goals with the sales team. These would be outputs such as sales, volume and margin per channel or customer.

But also inputs.

By inputs I mean for example:

  • aisle ends
  • shelf talkers displayed
  • consumer and trade promos
  • wine menu listings (prominence)
  • prominence and number of facings on the shelf,  in the fridge (or behind the bar)
  • logos on the staff clothing
  • signage inside and even outside

The reason these were so important was that we had some direct influence. We knew, for instance, from experience that alcohol sold at the end of the aisle, facing the entrance to the shop, would sell much faster than if it was stuck on the bottom shelf in the far corner of the store.

Likewise for the brief. We want the sales – but that’s not directly controllable. So our objectives are the things we know will lead to the sale.

Examples are:

  • Drive site traffic
  • Drive qualified registrations (newsletter, contests, etc)
  • Increase consumer conversations about the store
  • Develop/Create Word-of-Mouth and Viral opportunities
  • Create user advocacy and/or advocates
  • Maintain customer loyalty
  • Increase customer acquisition
  • Improve favorable perception of store
  • Raise brand awareness

But that is for another post next week.

In the meantime what do you think are the best social media objectives? I’m genuinely curious…

Image courtesy of: bottle quality control

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