Congrats to Mary Baker at Dover Canyon on a great write-up in BusinessWeek. Mary is, hands down, the best winery writer out there. Her posts are detailed, authentic and beautifully written. In other words she has real talent. Like her other readers I just wish she had more time to write.
As far as the article goes, it seems the print media have finally gotten themselves a pretty good understanding of blogging and its benefits. The quote in the article by Debbie Weil is exactly on the money (see below). Nobody does care about our “widgets” – that is unless we make our widgets their widgets – and blogs can help winery writers do just that.
The link is here, and the portion of the article dealing with Mary and her blog is reproduced below. Good times for all winery bloggers.
In 10 years since starting the Dover Canyon Winery, Mary Baker and Dan Panico have learned to expect surprises. But last March, when Baker heard someone yelling from her driveway at 3:30 a.m., her heart pounded. “Truly freaked out, I awakened Dan and I suggested (in case it was a homicidal maniac) that he should go check it out,” wrote Baker on her blog the next day, adding that the maniac turned out to be a truck driver whose rig was stuck on the road to the Paso Robles (Calif.) winery.
Baker’s humorous and informative posts give readers a peek into life at the two-person, $400,000 winery, which makes zinfandel and syrah. Mail-order sales have almost doubled in the past year, and the blog is an inexpensive way to reach the growing number of online buyers. “It’s more important than ever to create a personal connection,” says Baker.
Baker started her blog in April, 2006, using a software package called TypePad Pro that costs $149.50 a year. She got the blog up in a half-hour and spent two weeks tweaking the design. “It grew into this place where I could be creative and tell what we’re all about,” says Baker. Beyond the daily happenings at the 10-acre winery, she posts articles on sulfites and tannin, grilling recipes, news about Paso Robles, and anything else she feels might pique her readers’ interest. That’s just what a blog such as hers should do, says Debbie Weil, owner of WordBiz.com, a blogging consultant in Washington. “Nobody cares about your widgets,” says Weil. “People care about what they can do with your widgets or the lifestyle surrounding your widgets.”
To get people reading her blog, Baker drops a postcard with the blog’s address into bags with customer purchases. She includes a link in the winery’s e-mail newsletter, and has joined a community of bloggers who in turn link to her. Weil suggests building an audience by making insightful comments on the feedback sections of other blogs and including your blog’s address. Just be subtle: Asking influential bloggers to trade links, says Weil, is “totally bad form.”
It’s a good idea to post at least a couple times a week, but Baker often doesn’t have time. TypePad allows her to schedule posts, so she can write several entries at once that appear several days apart. As she juggles the many tasks of running a winery, Baker takes comfort knowing she can at least blog about them in the morning.