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Working With Beverage Bloggers: DOs and DON'Ts

The other day I gave a talk on social media at the WSWA convention in Orlando. The audience was mostly distributors, brand owners, and PR professionals.

We had five people on the panel and just an hour to to talk, so naturally I was the last one to speak and we were already over our allotted time in the room. I had to make it fast so I condensed a ten-minute talk into about three minutes, which is longer than it will take you to read the rough outline of my talk below.

Working With Cocktail Bloggers: DOs and DON'Ts

DON'Ts

  1. Don't call, unless you are asked to call. 
  2. Don't send packages without your information or sell sheet. Mystery booze is nice but won't help you get press.
  3. Don't treat every blogger the same. The National Enquirer isn’t the same as Cat Fancy; it's the same way with blogs. Different bloggers publish different sorts of content- one person may review your blueberry vodka, another may publish recipes with it, and another might write an industry trend piece about the rise in berry flavors. Familiarize yourself with the top blogs and pitch accordingly.
  4. Don't think a blogger is obligated to write about your product just because you sent a sample or a recipe. Instead of following-up with “When will you be posting?”  try: “I hope you enjoyed the sample. Is there anything I can provide you with?” (Also, bloggers aren't obliged to respond to emails- we're busy too.)
  5. Don't block access to information. If a blogger has a question that only the master distiller can answer, do your best to get that answer. Be a conduit for information, not a roadblock.

DOs

  1. Do create shareable content and shareable media, and give it away. Shareable content includes brand histories, tasting notes, distillery profile, and especially recipes. (And hire somebody to create good new recipes.) Shareable media includes photos (bottle shots, cocktail pictures, party shots from events, cell phone snaps from bar visits), videos (How-to-make cocktail videos, distillery virtual tour, live tasting with distiller), and projects (send out tools to help bloggers build their own content: a comparative tasting kit, home blending exercise, cocktail ingredients, bar tools,  punch bowls, etc.)
  2. Do Provide Incentives and Rewards. These include Samples: send large size ones and send them often. Someone reviewed your product positively? Send even more! Admission: to press events, parties, out for drinks with the brand ambassador, etc. Bloggers don't get as much love as traditional journalists, so a little bit of love goes a long way. Money: Some blogs charge for spirit reviews, recipe development, and of course ads, but you can also hire bloggers to cover events, to photograph cocktails, or to be the party photographer. Fame: If a blogger posts something about your brand, use your own social media tools to retweet, post on Facebook. etc. to drive traffic to the blog. The blogger gets more hits and the brand gets more attention. It's a win-win. 

I focused on just my top tips. I welcome your additional suggestions in the comments.

To see the slides from all speakers for this presentation, follow this link. Mine are last.

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