Jul 13, 2017

Tips For Creating Great Wine Content

We’ve been lucky enough to create content for some incredible wine brands in the past few years. Here are the trends we’ve seen evolving in wine content — especially educational wine content.

In the last several years, the wine world has expanded massively into middle market and mass consumer areas. There’s still plenty of high-end elegance for those at the top of the market, but — thanks to smart consumer marketing and branding from companies like [yellow tail ]and Trader Joe’s — more people are enjoying wine casually than ever.

Start with Story & Fill with Facts

A lot of what we do is create wine knowledge for brands to share with their employees, distributors, sales reps, buyers and even wine servers. For a wine brand to set itself apart, it has to do more than offer some tasting notes and region/varietal details — it has to tell a story as well.

Creating the story makes a wine memorable for the wine reps, wine directors, sommeliers and servers to share with their customer, who ultimately makes the purchasing decision. And even though consumers might refer to the facts about a wine, their decision to prefer one wine over another is often more emotional than logical.  

To create the story, it can help to tell where a grower or winemaker came from, their family history, or why they chose a certain place to grow grapes or vint their wine. But then, we need the facts to back up the story: what makes a varietal or clone special, how the climate and terroir influence it, and any other details about the bottled product. It’s story and fact together that create a full picture of a wine.

Rethink Education for the Mobile Era

When we’re creating content, our target audience is often the busy professionals working in the wine industry, like sales reps covering broad territories or wine directors running restaurants. These people are busy, so we can’t waste their time.

The smartphones that make social media possible and email manageable are also the devices people use to learn new things and look things up. These days, anywhere from 20 to 75 percent of emails get opened on a mobile device.  So the old style of online learning — where you log in and sit at a desk for several hours — just isn’t practical anymore. All of the content we create has to work on mobile first, desktop second.

PowerPoint Slides are Boring

Another thing we’ve had to help clients solve is the mind-numbing slide presentation format, also known as Death by PowerPoint (LINK). Traditional online learning using tools like Camtasia and Articulate can make a fun topic like wine feel as dull as the DMV.

So we’ve learned to spice up content by mixing short videos and infographics with tight chunks of text and quick quizzes. These increase the pace of the learning while using some strong educational principles of knowledge reinforcement to aid memory and retention.

Keep it Conversational, Not Instructional

The business world is getting more casual all the time. Industries that used to be considered “stuffy” have relaxed their brand’s tone of voice in how they speak, from wine to finance to art.

So instead of pretending we’re authoring Shakespeare, we practice writing like we’re dashing off an email to a friend. We state things simply, reduce fancy lingo and get to the point. A couple of our favorite guides for this are How to Write Short by Roy Peter Clark and William Safire’s Rules for Writing.

Funny Works

You can keep readers of any type engaged, from busy professionals to weekend wine tasters, by keeping your content light and using a sense of humor. You can see examples of fun content from the wizards at Wine Folly, who produce the Wine Folly book and a ton of awesome infographics and prints using simple, inclusive language.

Another good example of great accessible wine content is Wine Library TV, where Gary Vaynerchuk and company interview, review and talk trash about wine with tasting notes like “chewing gum” with notes of “asphalt.”

Moving Pictures in Addition to Words

The last key is that while we all do read, most people don’t want to do a lot of reading. That’s why so much of the internet is full of videos, GIFs and infographics. So for wine content, our team has learned to transform a lot of prose from paragraphs into pictures and graphics, to satisfy the palates of today’s internet users.

These are the keys to creating good wine content today. You’ll succeed if you make your content easy to consume on any device, conversational, fun and avoid the slideshows.

After all, it’s wine we’re talking about, and it ought to be enjoyed.