My first Wine Bloggers Conference, and what an amazing introduction to this amazing event! I entered the arena with trepidation, intimidated by everyone else seemingly knowing each other, best of bosom buddies. But like cold water, best just to dive in.
Author James Conaway (if you haven't read Nose, you should, a lighthearted skewering of so many in the wine world) started the Conference off with a bang, exhorting attendees to go beyond, to research and dig and expose, to not be content with surface prose. It's not enough to review the wine, but to look at the environment that it is made in - it is our responsibility to expose the truth: "Writers aren't supposed to be liked. The more you are, the less effective you are as a journalist." Whew.
It's not just enough to report, however, you must create compelling content. As Michael Wangbickler (Through the Bunghole) said in the Compelling Content session, know your audience, do the research, tell a story; preparation + passion = compelling content. How do you know and connect with your audience? By positioning your blog. Thea Dwelle (Luscious Lushes), Kathleen Rake (Between the Vines), and Megan Kenney (Wannabe Wino) let us in on a few secrets: be credible, network, be consistent, access wine events, make a name for yourself, be in it for the long haul, educate yourself, search, connect, engage, build community, participate, be passionate, have fun!
Having fun is the key. While we often think of what we do as serious business, ultimately it's about life and people and the interaction of the two. And, at the end, it goes beyond wine. Sometimes pizza, beer, the Blackhawks game, good conversation, and looking over a sparkling lake surrounded by beautiful nature is a way to remind ourselves just that.
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