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What is Your Blog Article Worth?

One topic discussed at the “Wine Blogging and the Wine Industry” session at the Wine Bloggers Conference was if bloggers cross a line by accepting wine or comps. There were wine writers, as well as marketers and a publicist in the room. The resounding response is that no one crossed the line. In other words, it is acceptable for wine bloggers to accept wine and comps, however, the attendees consensus is that they should reveal that they did not pay for what they received.

I commented during the discussion that bloggers could monetize the expenses associated with what they write. I’d like to expand on what I mean by this idea. It costs money for a blogger to write, edit and publish an entry or article. I’m a wine travel writer and also have costs of travel including hotels and car or plane expenses. On a recent visit to wineries in Prince Edward County, Ontario, three evening’s lodging were comped by Ontario Tourism. However I paid for five other nights and all car expenses including tolls and gas. The travel still cost $925 not including the coasts of meals. Some would argue that one shouldn’t add the costs of meals, so I didn’t. However, I spent a few hundred on meals. If I were at home I would have spent about $50 on food needed to prepare meals at home. Meals on the road are an additional cost.

Back at home there are costs associated with writing, editing and publicizing.  I’m paying for a domain name and a site to host WineTrailTraveler.com. Then how about the hours it takes to write, edit photos, edit articles, place Word and Photoshop documents into a Dreamweaver document and finally publicize on the Internet. Conservatively, these winery articles take a total of five hours to create and publish. At a conservative rate of $20 and hour, it costs $100 to create and publish an article in addition to costs associated with travel. An individual article is created for each winery visited. So it can be determined how much it costs to write that article. In the case above the cost per winery article is $137. What was received from the winery? I received a tasting of about five wines. That is about an average cost of $5.00. Wineries are profiting from our writing. The cost associated for each winery article on a recent trip to New Zealand were well ove $1000 per winery article.

For bloggers who do not travel, there are still costs associated with the writing of a review for a bottle of wine. Add to the cost, if the wine was purchased. Even to write about a bottle of wine received still costs the writer. So do wine bloggers cross the line when receiving gifts and comps? Sit down and do the math. You may discover that you are spending more than receiving. In my experience of visiting nearly 700 wineries and talking with owners and winemakers, only a handful understand a writer’s expenses.


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