I recently received the following Email.

Dear Jo,

On Z-Blog we regularly feature Zemanta power users. Hence, I’d like to ask you whether I can send you a few interview questions to introduce you on our Z-BLOG?

Let me know.

Thank you and have a nice week, Nenad

I thought, sure, why not… let’s see where this goes. I just finished answering the following below, and found it to be a really fun exercise, answering questions never put to me before. In my answers, you will find why I blog, and why I’ve successfully encouraged so many other people to blog, too. Some you might know know…

1. Who is Jo?

I’m a woman who loves to teach (I’ve been doing that since the late 1960s) and learn (I’ve been doing that since the universe started). Now I teach and learn through my wine writings… I love gardening, cooking, fine wine (and everyday wine), using my hands to create; and, I adore my family above all else.

2. Your life story is very interesting. After 11 years in broadcasting you more or less are still in business producing high quality content. Can you tell us more about your journey to where you’re now professionally?

After 11 years in broadcasting, involving PR, producing, and photographing rock and roll stars on tour, I moved to California in 1992. I segued into the wine industry, leaving one exciting career for another. I’ve been employed by Hambrecht Wine Group (Belvedere and Grove Street wineries), Robert Mondavi, Barefoot Cellars, Ironstone Vineyards, and Kendall-Jackson, while simultaneously working on a wine sales and marketing degree. In 2001, I launched Diaz Communications, founded the Association of African American Vintners and PS I Love You, Inc. (a Petite Sirah wine grape advocacy marketing group). I’ve continued to be PSILY’s Executive Director, 10 years later. In 2011, I also founded the Oregon Pinot Gris marketing group. I produce annual events: an Oregon Pinot Gris Symposium, a Petite Sirah symposium, and Petite Sirah’s Dark & Delicious wine and food event (over 60 wineries and nearly 40 restaurans… all serving Petite Sirah [dark] and foods that pair well with Petite [delicious]).

I’m published with wine writings both online and off, and a boatload of my images with rock and roll stars were published in music trade magazine at the time, Billboard, Radio and Records, and Cash Box, etc.

3. Do you consider yourself a blogger? If yes, what makes someone a blogger?

Yes, I do consider myself a blogger. A blogger is someone who’s writing an online Web log (Origin: 1995–2000;  shortening of Weblog), which is exactly what I’m doing; I’m chronicling my journey as a wine industry publicist. My days are filled with organizing, creating, photographing, writing for clients… And at the end of the day, I need to also create for myself. It gives me the freedom to not be edited. Yes!

4. Is blogging the best thing that has happened to people like you and us who have a lot to say and share and like to write?

Absolutely. It’s such a great release to get these stories out of my head and into the universe’s brain. My thoughts will live long after I do. My kids can take my writings and publish them, if they wanted to… More importantly, my children will be able to look back and have a piece of me each day, if they want to. I now wish I had asked my parents and grandparents so many questions. I can’t do that, though. They took all of that information with them into the ether. I’m only left to wonder.

5. What do you blog about?

About 95 percent of my content is not related to my clients, and comes from the opportunities afforded to me being in the wine business. I find myself writing about some very strong opinions I‘ve formed through not only my life’s experiences, but also my experiences in the wine business, what I’ve learned and what I know works and doesn’t work. About five percent of my content is related to my clients, however, because that too is worth publishing… like if I’m having another event, it’s worth telling the world, because a lot of wine pros read my blog and might take advantage of my announcements.

6. Can you tell us more about your love toward wine?

This answer is going to surprise you, because most answers like this talk about wines aromatics, textures, and colors… the swirl, the sniff, and the sip. What I love about wine is its 8,000 year history as a civilizing beverage. I can’t imagine where we’d be without it in our daily lives (in my house). It’s a liquid food that is now (finally) being proven to have so many health benefits when enjoyed in moderation, and I know it was put here to be part of our daily lives. That’s what I love about it… its humanity.

7. What made you launch a blog?

In 2001, I took a Web html class, to understand Web language in order to bridge our client-2-Webmaster relationships. My husband is a Webmaster, who helps with our clients’ needs. In that class, I learned about Web 2.0 before it was even launched, and I got my first clue about interactivity. By 2002, I could foresee my own future on the Web. Having my own Web log would offer me a place to publish my wine related stories. I had plenty of them from being in the wine business (at that time for 13 years… now it’s going on 20). As a female wine publicist, I had a unique point of view that was yet to be a voice on the Internet, so I defined it as my own. I was also inspired by Tom Wark (http://fermentation.typepad.com/fermentation/), who ~ at the time ~ was the only male publicist blogging. In the wine business, we’re now the two wine publicists with blogs that are recognized as leaders within our industry. It’s an interesting place to have landed… simply because the two of us had a need to chronicle and Web 2.0 offered us a fleeting, socialnomic window of opportunity. I encouraged my husband to build a Website for me, and now the rest is history.

8. When did you start using Zemanta?

As soon as it was offered… You’d have to tell me your date of launch, sorry. I know a good thing when I see it. Having a handy resource that offers both images and other related stories is a valuable tool. Zemanta’s tag system also helps search engines to find my writing. Naming my wine blog Wine-Blog (I’m a marketer, did I mention that?) was essential in having search engines find my site and get me onto the first page of any search engine, regardless of the platform used to search. I consider Zemanta an important partner.

9. How does Zemanta help you blog better/easier?

As I write, I keep a keen eye on the right hand side of my screen, because another source for proving what I’m writing about might pop up. Also, images are there, if I need one, and I sometimes do. I mostly like to buy my photography, if I don’t have my own images; my third point of reference is always Zemanta. Finally, being able to cite other stories that related to my own is valuable. The addition of small snapshot images in my further “Related Articles” from Zemanta is a feature I’ve been really enjoying, too. As my site has evolved and become content rich, so has Zemanta. I’ve enjoyed the relationship a lot.

10. Power User Tip (please share a Zemanta tip!)

Keep a keen eye toward the right hand side of your screen as you write your stories. It will enrich your blog’s content; offering you handy images and additional proof that you’re onto something valuable. Simply hover over their text offerings, and you might find solid evidence to back up your own theories or explanations.

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