A study published today in Wine Business.com examines the growth and impact of wine bloggers on winery brands. According to Sonoma State University Wine Business Professor Liz Thach, Ph.D., blogs can be especially helpful to wineries with less well-known brands, as well as new wineries located in up and coming wine regions.
There are several reasons that wineries need to pay attention to wine bloggers. The first is that the number of wine blogs is continuing to grow, and this provides an opportunity for wineries to have their brands featured on blogs. For wineries with a small public relations budget or those that can’t get the attention of the larger media publications, this can be a positive alternative — especially since some of the more popular wine blogs have thousands of followers and receive 30,000 to 40,000 hits per month. – Professor Thach
The study looked at a sample size of 222 blogs taken from the over 700 wine blogs available on-line. Focusing on the English language wine blogs, 42 trained wine business students analyzed content, grouping the blogs into nine wine blog types based on their major focus. Wine Review blogs made up the largest group, followed by those featuring Wine and Food, and Wine Education. Looking at the categories, we don’t know exactly where they would put this blog, because in addition to the first three categories, ours also covers Wine and Culture, Wine and Politics (which falls into the “other” category) and random musings that tangentially are related to wine. That’s why it’s called Another Wine Blog. We also note that Russ Beebe’s Winehiker Witiculture was referenced as a unique “other blog.”
Only 9% of the sample included Winery Blogs — or those created by wineries to describe their wines and news at the winery. This illustrates an opportunity for more wineries to create their own blog. Other less frequent blog categories included Wine Business and Winemaking & Viticulture. The category of Other was created for those very unique blogs that didn’t fit into major themes. Examples included wine & hiking; wine & politics; wine under $20; and an emphasis on a specific grape, such as shiraz.
I very much enjoyed the advice to wineries on how they can benefit from working with wine bloggers. Professor Thach provides a number of suggestions, which have also appeared in our posts, as well as in the blogs of PR consultants like Rob Bralow and Michael Wangbickler. Some of the suggestions include the following:
• If you find a positive review or mention of your name, consider sending an email to thank the blogger for featuring you.
• If you find a negative review, contact the blogger and ask them for more information. Consider inviting them to visit your winery or a tasting you are hosting so they can learn more about you. DO NOT EVER get in an “online flame war” with a blogger (which has happened in the past).
Professor Thach also suggests that wineries pay attention to what is being said about them in wine blogs:
Since there are no official guidelines regarding what can be published, the stories and reviews may be positive or negative. Likewise, bloggers have diverse backgrounds in that some have a high level of wine knowledge and experience, whereas others have none and just want to share their viewpoints on wine. Therefore, in terms of writing quality and level of sophistication of wine blogs, there is great variation. Because of this wineries need to monitor what is being said about their brands online.
You can read more about the study in Professor Thach’s article.
~ Amy Corron Power,