I just had someone contact me on Skype to ask if I had any tips for them about how to arrange a successful “blogger press trip”. Boy do I! But rather than spend time chatting online and letting it fade into the ether, I figured let me share a few bullets here. If you need more info just shoot me an email: email@example.com
- PRESS TRIPS – Remember today’s publisher is today’s press. No matter if they are on Twitter, Blogspot or Youtube, they are press. Therefore, treat them like it. Do not patronize them, or act as if they are different, with a few exceptions. Remember that you are dealing with people who are professional, who are becoming professionals, or are people who may not be “professional” but who take a considerable amount of pride in what they do. Remember that even some of the least “wine professional” bloggers are out there, are some of the most influential.
- INTERNET – This should be a no brainer, but it’s so easy to overlook. Hook up WIFI at the wineries, make sure the hotel you book has FREE OPEN WIFI, and if they don’t, PAY FOR IT. Buy a few 3G dongles to have on hand and share with people who want to publish when they are on the bus between locations. Oh and when we pull up to the next location, ask everyone if they need to “plugin” a phone, ipad, computer, whatever…there will always be 1 or 2 who will need to.
- NO PAPER – Forget the handouts, bloggers/press/humans, don’t want or need your stuff. If you are smart, hand out 1 usb stick with contact details for everyone you are going to visit, videos, pictures of every person (labeled with names), and winery (labeled correctly). This one stick then has all they need anywhere they need it. Or better yet, register at www.DropBox.com and make a public folder that anyone can navigate for all the details.
- DOWNTIME – We like to create content, and if you schedule all 24hrs of the day we won’t be creating content or making noise. Give us downtime. A great way to do this is to give everyone a couple hours in that super cute town you’ll be passing. Tell them what’s fun to see in the town, and also tell them about the friendly bar/cafe/etc that you arranged to have free WIFI. Drop them off in the center and pick them up at a designated time.
- TELL THEM IN ADVANCE – No surprises, we like to know what is happening and many of us like to do pre-research so that we get the most out of our time in country. We want to know some of the history of the wineries, and people making the wine, not to mention the foods, and other cultural items. Tell us what we need to know and help us to do the research.
- WINE IS NOTHING WITHOUT FOOD AND CULTURE – Please, please, please, give us more than just wine. Put the wine in context. Show us history, culture, foods and even beer! This context goes a long ways to making the trip richer, and much more memorable.
- LET US TELL OUR OWN STORY – Not everyone wants to talk about acidification or bio-dynamic agriculture. Let us wander, and explore the winery, seek out the parts that are not on the schedule. Let us know where we’ll be next so that those that want to explore a new angle can meet you later on in the trip. Not always possible, but it’s worth it if you let people really get into what they are doing.
- DO NOT INTERRUPT – We’ve brought video bloggers on trips where the bus was leaving but they didn’t have the right shot yet. FAIL! If someone is enjoy a story, let them dig deeper to find that nugget of information or that perfect shot. Is it the end of the world if one person connects with the winemaker so much that they stay all day and learn from them? You can find a way to get them back to the hotel later, but if you interrupt them, you’ll probably end up with a story that reads something like, “We were enjoying our time so much, until we were rudely interrupted to ‘keep the schedule’”.
- SIMPLE FOOD – We love the 1 stars, 2 stars and 3′s, but in truth we also love a good sandwich with a glass of wine from the local co-op. Your region is richer for the simple things, if you don’t value these your missing a HUGE part of story, and truth be told, there is only so much Foie Gras a human can possibly consume. Especially when it’s stacked to the heights of 4, 5, 6 inches with foams, and emulsions. A night out with pitchers of local wine, some local culture, and “peasant foods” are often what any person in the Press, or Blogdom hope for after or during a press trip.
- Ok Bloggers, new media…show us what you got…what do you think I forgot? Answers in the comments below!
(Flickr photo by Carrie@Cortesdecima)