Books, Booze, and Branding
This week it’s time for something different.
I write two blogs – one about wine, the other about books and publishing.
Every Tuesday I try to fire off one blog post, alternating posts on different weeks between the wine and publishing sites.
Why Tuesday? I checked the stats. People don’t check the internet much on weekends. They’re at football games or soccer matches or fixing up their homes or cooking with friends. They tend to look at the internet quite a lot on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday. So I write during weekends and post on Tuesdays, hoping to snag attention when most eyes surf the net.
The reason is simple.
A few years ago, a friend sent a link to check out Wine Library TV. Someone named Gary Vaynerchuk ranted about wines on videos. I thought he was a bit over the top and loud, but he did come across as down to earth.
I’m now reading Vaynerchuk’s book – Crush It. Basically, he used the internet to promote his family wine business and succeeded wildly, then decided to step away from wine in order to work on promoting how the internet can be used for personal branding. The book is filled with short videos that keep the narrative lively.
This self-appointed wine wizard transformed himself into a branding guru.
Here are a few quotes from Vaynerchuk’s book regarding following your passion, and branding yourself.
“…live and breathe your passion. Do that, and you’ll no longer differentiate between your work life and your personal life. You’ll just live, and love doing it.”
“Everyone – EVERYONE – needs to start thinking of themselves as a brand. It is no longer an option; it is a necessity.”
“…skills are cheap, passion is priceless.”
“Tell me your story, and if you’re good, I’ll come back for more. Then I’ll tell my friends, and they’ll come…”
[Italicized quotes above - copyright: Vaynerchuk, Gary (2010). CRUSH IT! Kindle Edition.]
His steps toward success in building your brand are simple, but require that you work your tail off. The major factors he attributes toward succeeding in building your brand are: do what you are passionate about, create excellent content, keep it down to earth and real, create a community, and make the world listen. This is a fun book to read, because Vaynerchuk is down to earth and energized.
Whether you like wine, are an aspiring author, are looking for work, or trying to carve out your own professional niche, it’s worth reading this book. Why? Because personal branding is critical to selling your product or yourself. I never met Gary. But what he says resonates with the same message provided by the authors of the book titled: APE, Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur – How to Publish a Book, described in an earlier blog post: if you want to succeed in this internet wired world, don’t pump out BS or try to be what the Irish call a ‘chancer.’ Because whether you are describing wines you love or trying to get others to tune into your latest series of sci-fi or pet grooming book series, you truly have to believe in what you are doing.
That confidence resonates with others.
Your brand will grow as your outreach expands, your confidence notches up, and your communities grow.
The internet has created a brave new democratic space. Writing web log posts has allowed me to gain access to a community of people who are passionate and informed about what they do. The virtual community is far larger and more diverse and international than if I was only able just to walk around the ‘hood getting to know neighbors.
Let me illustrate, first about wines, then about publishing.
If I have a question about wine from the French Riviera or the Ligurian coast, I’ll contact blogger Chrissie who writes The Riviera Grapevine; if I want to know about Italian Piedmont wines such as Barolo (or if I want to talk about a new fiction book idea), I can drop an email to author / wine guide / blogger James Sajo who lives in Italy and runs a guide business and is dialed into local wines. To get the scoop on the best deals in Bordeaux wines, I’ll get in touch with my friend Les Kellen, who runs wine tours and operates a guest house in Blaye, Bordeaux.
If I want advice on publishing and marketing (or want to see some zippy artwork), I’ll check out Robin Kalinich’s site, or check out the blog or drop a message to Fiona Pearse – an IT guru and author living in London.
Using the internet, I don’t have to hop on a plane or drive (though that’s fun) to get up to date information from people who are passionate about what they do. Instead, I just check in with the virtual world, and zip off an email query.
Another Word about Wine and Books -
What else do wine and books have in common? I subscribe to the Wine Spectator magazine. Because I’m working in Asia, I get the digital rather than the print edition. So I recently looked at the site and realized they have an entire wine course – with quizzes, instructional materials, quotes, and multiple videos that are free for subscribers. As the site says, homework was never so much fun. One lesson is about Buying Wine. To encourage people to be experimental at wine stores, they write:
“Think of a trip to the wine store as if it were a trip to the book store…None of the titles are familiar, so you read the plot descriptions on a few back covers as well as the employees’ comment cards…Buying wine is pretty much the same, only a bottle of wine is often less expensive than a hardcover book…” [Copyright Wine Spectator magazine.]
Thanks, as always, for tuning in.