I have come to realize that many winery owners or winery marketing managers aren’t really sure of the best practices for their blog. They aren’t really sure of the objectives behind a blog and what business goals blogging will meet.
What the Heck is a Blog?
Let’s first address, fundamentally, what a blog is. A blog is nothing more than a format for a page on your website. There are two parts to the blog: the blog post list (blog feed) & the individual blog post. The blog feed is dynamic, meaning it is updated with new information and changes when a new post has been added. This is different from your other pages on your website, like your “About Us” page, which is static. A static page should not change, meaning your website visitors are not going to revisit that page to see the latest news about your team.
From the blog feed the web user can click on the latest blog post and go to a separate url to read that page. This is great because, even if you add a new blog post, you don’t have to change your site navigation by adding a new webpage to your navigation menu. Websites that don’t have blog posting enabled quickly get very messy for the web user because there are just too many pages in the navigation.
A blog also can allow for commentary in the “comments” section. The blog page is often organized by categories, so the user can browse easier instead of scrolling through every post to see what is relevant. You often see “social share” icons on each blog posts, this is great for getting your content “viral.”
To reiterate, a blog is a webpage that:
- Updates with new entries
- Is organized by categories
- Allows for comments (but not required)
- Has social share icons
- Is organized by date
1. Blogs have to be updated on a regular basis.
You can do whatever you want to do with your blog. It is simply a particular format for a webpage. Blogs posts are ideal for updating your website with information like:
- A wine award announcement
- Press coverage
- A particular score by the wine critics
- A new release you want to promote
Basically, it is anything that is timely. I also think the blog is ideal for posts about food pairings. It would be great place to share a recipe that would go well with your latest release or a wine that you “made too much of” and need to promote.
2. No One Will Read Your Blog
True, in the wine blogging world you will unlikely rise to the ranks in Google for your blog posts. There is way too much competition out in the wine blogosphere.
Instead, think of your blog as a tool to bring your social media fans and email subscribers to your website where you sell your products. It is like a great Bergdorf storefront window, capture their interest and they may come into your store and buy. Put a link with teaser text and a photo in your Facebook feed and draw your fans to your website. Why do this? Because this is where you sell your products and hopefully a few wine club memberships. Bring them into your store with interesting blog posts and then offer promotions or links in the blog post to your wine club or particular vintage.
And don’t take my word for it, check your web analytics and see which blog posts generate the most traffic and from what sources (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Email, Search Engines). Reviewing your analytics can tell you what the readers are most interested in.
3. A Blog that Isn’t Updated on a Regular Basis Looks Bad
I can see why people would think this, especially back in the days when the homepage was the blog page. But your blog doesn’t have to be on your homepage and doesn’t even have to be called “blog” - we always title our clients’ blog page as “News” or sometimes even “News & Events” if they don’t opt for a separate events page layout.
I don’t think it looks bad because the primary way people view that blog page is when they click on a link to a post on social media, emails or search engines. So if there isn’t a social media post, email or search result directing them to your blog, they are unlikely to even know that it has been two months since you updated your post.
And so what if it has been 3 months since you updated your blog with news? You may have other things to do and readers understand that.
There are 4 reasons to Post a Blog Post:
- Increase traffic to the website
- Engage social media fans
- Engage email subscribers
- Engage bloggers and media contacts with Press Release notices
For your tangible business goals, a blog is meant to generate traffic to your website so that you can increase sales and wine club memberships. The macro view is that blogging helps generate brand awareness and increasing customer lifecycle length. But more on that later . . .