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PR Advice,Social media,Wine,Wine Blogger,Wine Business,Wine Magazine,Wine Writer

As My Mother Used to Say, “A word to the wise”

Straight up, the greatest insult bloggers get today is this question, “What are your numbers?”

I’m continually astounded by people who query me about something they want me to help them promote, and then at the end of it all ask, “What are your numbers?”

Yes, print media publications have those numbers handy at the drop of a potential advertising moment, but let’s begin to remember why you’re querying us in the first place…

  • Wine bloggers have come into their own as influencers.
    • They are writers who have a passion.
    • They’re trusted because no one is telling them what or how to write.
  • They’re passionate about wine, and have the need to share.
    • Remember, this is how Steve Heimoff, Robert Parker, Charlie Olken, MaryAnn Worobiec, etc. initially all got started.
  • The early wine bloggers didn’t have a print medium outlet for their work, but the Internet was a great portfolio builder, plus a solid jumping off point… Little did they know.
    • If any number of bloggers I can think of were asked today to drop everything and move to California to cover wine and get paid to do it, I’m betting on their acceptance of the position.
  • Bloggers are not concerned about impressing an editor.
    • Many of them have a unique twist on things, and don’t have to run it by an editor, first, to see the written words.
    • You can’t buy that kind of freedom

Before the macroshift of Web 2.0 and the effect it had on people who love to write, writers had no outlet for publishing. We were at the behest of pleasing an editor with our concepts, stories, and the eventual writing. Enter Web 2.0 ~ self publishing and interactivity with an audience ~ and people who love to write just got going. Some established writers came out swinging; others let time tell them what effect it would have on their own careers.

Now, let’s get back to that pesky question, “What are your numbers?”

When you ask that of a blogger, you’re not asking the advertising department’s sales manager. You’re asking someone who has a day job and writes for the sheer joy of it.

As a publicist, I know who I query and why. I also have taken time to learn who the influencers are. So, wine publicists, if you’ve got a wine related product that you want to get in front of a specific blogger’s audience, I suggest you do your homework. Don’t put your job onto the blogger to brag about him or herself, by asking that irksome question.

In this day and age of social media, publicists, please remember:

  • Bloggers write for free. We’re not “on staff,” nor do we have a staff for gathering your market research about us.
    • At least, not until someone pays us to do so.
  • All of these numbers are on line, and are easy to gather.
    • www.compete.com ~ Here you can put in a few URLs to see what the behind scenes numbers of blogs are. You can even pit one blog against another… How fun is that for knowing who’s who?
    • Top 100 Wine Blogs ~ This site changes a couple of times a year. It’s a lot of work for the publisher, and he’s done your work for you. Go for it!
    • Cellarer SearcherThis one is not just wine blogs. It also includes print media’s on line sites, too. Essentially, this one, in measuring print media (and their staff) against a single blogger. It’s a bird’s eye view of how bloggers are catching up to print media’s numbers (popularity), and wine bloggers are doing well, I might add.
    • Wikio ~ Just scroll down and explore. They’ve said that their list is for the top 100 wine blogs.
    • Post Rank ~ In the comments section below, Steve Heimoff also offered this site for checking the popularity of a site (just in case you’re not going to also be reading the comments).
  • If you’re querying someone, be polite. Know ahead of time why you’re querying that person…

Because… anyone who asks me that question from now on has just asked me the “kiss of death.”

Below, also in the comments, Josh Wade of Drink Nectar has completely explained how these numbers are derived, and it’s not for excellent writing skills or fascinating content. It’s for being excellent at knowing how to play the game, and how important it is to score home runs with each entity. It’s worth your time, if you want the game rules.

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8 Responses to “As My Mother Used to Say, “A word to the wise””

  1. Jo, people can also check out Post Rank for wine blog rankings. Go to http://www.postrank.com/topic/wine

  2. Jo Diaz says:

    Steve, I just added it to the body of the text, because not everyone reads comments, crediting you as the source. Thanks!

  3. Josh Wade says:

    Jo,

    Great article. I’ve had people ask me this and I really don’t have too much of a problem with it, but I understand where you’re coming from.

    There are certainly different kinds of measurements and google hits are just a part of it.

    My problem with Compete.com is that I don’t trust it. I know what my google analytics says and rarely is compete anywhere near those numbers.

    Wikio’s measurement is pure linkbacks (and not in blog rolls). People that are high on this list are often quoted or referenced on other web sites.

    PostRank is an “engagement” measurement that combines the magical threesome of tweets, facebook shares, and comments. Blog A may post 1-2 times per week but generate a lot of activity, comments and shares and rank really high. Blog B may post daily with less comments and shares but the accumulation adds up.

    Cellarer and Alawine rankings are google traffic counts.

    On top of all this you have SEO. Who has done a good job of crafting their posts, titles, images, to rank high in search results? That is always important too.

    Add all of this together and you’ve got a good picture, while not complete, it’s a good picture.

    Josh
    drinknectar

  4. Jo Diaz says:

    Josh,

    I can understand it not being much of a problem. It’s not been for me, but it seems more and more people are now asking that one. I’m so busy copy writing these days that I guess I hit the patience ceiling…

    Thanks for further defining from where all of the sites for measuring are structured and how they’re sourced. Very helpful for those not in the know.

    (Guess I was asked one too many times.)

    It’s more important to know who you’re approaching, than it is to ask why… Just thinking, being on both sides of hte fence.

  5. Hi Jo
    Kinda reminds me of the question we get as farmers – “how many acres do you own (farm) – the answer to that “what are your numbers” justifies your existence

  6. Jo Diaz says:

    Linda… Yeah…. It’s interesting. We go to school, and right away the scores begin. Recess for some becomes the “team,” where more numbers are given out. Drink a wine, give it a number. Thank god it hasn’t segued to measuring peanut butter…

    Do you like it, or do you not like it… Do you want it, or do you not want it… That’s my scoring system.

    Thanks for you comment… Love it…

  7. Jo,

    I don’t understand why bloggers are insulted by this (your assertion).

    Bloggers distribute content and (in many cases) sell advertising. It may not be print publishing, but it sure is publishing.

    Most bloggers may be publishing for the love of it, but most PR/marketing people are professionals, paid to achieve certain results. If they are asking questions about numbers, it is to help earn their paychecks. It is just a reflection of the fact that PR/marketing is a business, not a slight on bloggers.

    For PR/marketing people, I imagine it’s helpful to know the size of a publisher’s audience. That way they can gauge how much you are “worth” to them and they can make a more informed decision about how much to invest in building a relationship with you: a couple of e-mails? wine samples? dinner? a press trip?

    As a “print journalist,” I’ve seen plenty of press trip invites that indicate space is limited and preference will be given to writers with written assignment letters from publications with circulations of at least X. It’s one way for these PR/marketing types to maximize their return on investment–it’s nothing personally insulting.

    If anything, asking about numbers is recognition that the divide between “print publishing” or “traditional media” and the “blogosphere” is largely illusory.

  8. Jo Diaz says:

    Joe,

    I honestly get everything you’re saying about print media. Having been in radio for 11 years (while my husband pulled 25 years of radio, we being together 23 of them), I know how traditional media makes their living. Research groups, ratings, advertising being dependent on how well you’re doing, etc.

    Blogging is the new frontier, and it’s a different playing field… We aren’t paid for anything. Not paycheck at the end of the day. Not health insurance. No vacations. No holidays (the days I use to write more on my blog).

    As I noted, since bloggers aren’t paid to write anything, sometimes five hours writing a story, what was first researched, we’re in a different world. We don’t have a marketing staff or marketing support… We’re all alone, writing for five or six hours about something we enjoy with not being paid. I estimate that my blog takes me about 20 hours a week, with at least 15 hours of that time being non-billable. Also, any perk I get along the way needs full disclosure, while print media doesn’t have to list, “We got this bottle as a sample, so we’d review it.”

    It’s a different playing field, and the rules are being written as we speak (write) with each other.

    If someone’s going to query me, that person should first go to the on-line marketing department… the list added… from where I’m sitting, because I don’t have the time for it. I can’t add more time to what’s stretched, while I fill a passion… Writing for no compensation. The day I’m compensated, I’ll deliver.

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