5 Lessons Learned from 5 Years of Wine Blogging
Five years of wine blogging has resulted in plenty of lessons learned along the way.
In this article, I’m going to share my top five lessons learned from five years of wine blogging.
My hope is that these will help to teach and inspire you in your own wine blogging journey.
Top 5 Wine Blogging Lessons Learned
Here’s my top five lessons learned, in no particular order.
#1 – Your words have an impact on people.
When you first start wine blogging there isn’t much engagement with your readers. It takes a little time to build up momentum. But, as you build up more and more content you start getting comments on your posts.
In my case, since my blog is really a wine review blog, I started to realize that my words had a direct impact on my readers’ wine choices.
For example, inside the comments, people would ask me to recommend wines that they might like. Or, they might ask what temperature a particular varietal should be served at.
In other cases, a review might take on a life of its own with many people commenting about a particular wine, especially if they disliked it.
In giving this thought, you start to realize you’re impacting purchasing decisions that not only impact your readers, but also those that produce and promote wine for a living.
At one point I even wrestled with the dilemma of whether it’s fair to publish a negative wine review, given that the review is really just my opinion.
So, as wine bloggers I think we need to be careful about what we say and how we say it. But, in the end, our readers should always come first and honesty is definitely the best policy.
#2 – Free samples are great, but they’re not always a benefit to your blog.
In my opinion, when you run a review blog you should actually possess and use the product you’re reviewing. So, this means that when you get started reviewing wines (or any products) you will mostly likely need to purchase those products for your reviews on your own.
I took a look back at my review list for Honest Wine Reviews and it wasn’t until I had done 37 reviews, that I received my first free sample of wine. I was contacted by a representative from Wines from Greece and they sent me some great wines from Santorini to review.
Looking back, I probably could have done a little research and reached out to some of the PR companies that represent wine brands and asked for samples to review sooner than I did.
Fast forward to today and as my wine blog has gotten more popular, free samples come often.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I appreciate not having to lay out as much cash as I used to. And, I love trying new wines before they’re released to market. Also, it helps me to spot trends as they’re emerging. And finally, some of the wines are really really good from small winemakers that I otherwise wouldn’t have known about.
So, that’s all great.
But, when I put my business hat on and dig a little deeper, there is a downside.
Traffic to your website is your life blood. That traffic can come from many different sources, but quite often new people find your website through organic search from Google, Bing or other search engines.
They search on the name of the wine and if your review is up near the top of the search engine results page, they click on it to come to your site and read your review.
When you’re trying to grow your site, new traffic is important.
So, getting back to free samples, many of the wines you receive are not highly searched. Which means, those reviews aren’t likely to draw as many new visitors as a well known brand would, since well known brands are often highly searched.
So, you discover you need to balance highly searched wines (that you buy yourself) versus free samples for your reviews.
#3 – It’s a great conversation starter.
Whenever I tell people I’m a wine blogger, it always sparks a great conversation about wine. It’s something that a lot of people find easily relatable. I often learn what people are interested in and what they’re favorite wines are.
It sometimes also leads into a discussion about running a website and what that entails.
For myself, I’m happy to chat about both topics and either way it’s a great way to spread the word about your website.
One thing I’m guilty of is not having business cards to hand to people with my website name on them. Don’t make that mistake!
#4 – You’ll see developing trends before the market does.
As I mentioned above, you’ll sometimes see trends developing before the general market does.
As an example, at the time of writing this, I’m seeing a new trend of wine brands being marketed to men specifically. Maybe it’s just me, but I hadn’t seen that before.
Awhile back ago, Apothic Wines started releasing wines that are very dark and flavorful. More recently they released a wine with a Bourbon taste to it. Add to that, the wine bottle label was very gothic and masculine looking.
It did well and now I’m seeing wines with names like “Ravage” and “Cigar.” Even the marketing materials state that they’re specifically targeting men with some of these wines.
So, definitely a trend that’s just getting started at the time of writing this article.
Will it have legs? We’ll see.
#5 – It’s fun to include your friends and family.
Wine is inherently a social beverage. As I started doing reviews and including friends and family, I discovered they really enjoyed being ” tasting assistants” and helping me with my reviews!
Which of course is great because you pull in (and of course document) multiple opinions when you do a review.
And, everyone loves going through the tasting process (appearance, aroma, taste, mouthfeel, finish, etc.) and learning more about wine through experiencing it.
All in all, it makes for a fun experience to share with others.
So, there you have it… My top five lessons learned from five years of wine blogging!
What did you think?