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By far one of the most rewarding aspects of the Murphy-Goode gig for me has been the amazing people with whom I have come into contact.  To make a super long story short, I have all but abandoned my German blog and am completely enjoying myself here at wordpress.com.  I am amazed at how easy it has been to “establish” myself with a crowd I did not even know existed 6 weeks ago.  Perhaps wine really is social business?

Along side all those great new sociable contacts have come new lessons in how to communicate online and I am baffled at how uncomplicated it has been to find great guest posts to present to you on my wee corner of the blog-o-sphere.  Truely there is a communicable spirit amoungst those who are looking to land a really goode job.

It is my pleasure today to present the first of hopefully a few more guest posts this week.  Coming to you with an around-the-world-flair:  Mexiko via Germany and back across the Atlantic to all you wonderful readers (oh, wait, there are readers here even as far off as New Zealand!  Hi TrueGabe!).  Karen Catchpole and Eric Mohl, aka TransAmericas have tossed me back to my youthful days when I spent a summer working in Belize with Quechua children… but that is another story.  Please welcome Karen and Eric to my blog:

Why Outside Is In

As the scramble to become Murphy-Goode’s Wine Lifestyle Correspondent whips up into a full-fledged frenzy three distinct camps of applicants have emerged. At one end of the spectrum are the wine insiders who have turned food and wine into a job (whether they’re currently getting paid for it or not). At the other end of the spectrum are the wine novices who seem to just want a job (any job) and think Gewürztraminer is a terrible disease their dog might get if they’re not careful during the icy months.

Somewhere in the middle are the wine outsiders who’ve developed a taste for the stuff, consider wine an important part of their lives, know their way around the main varietals (even the tongue-twisting German ones) may even own more than one corkscrew and occasionally dream of better stemware but then decide to spend that money on dog food or new shoes.

Like the Murphy-Goode Wine Lifestyle Correspondent applicant pool, most of the millions of people in the wine consuming market are outsiders. We love our wine for its social and creative powers and sheer deliciousness. We’ve learned a bit about wine and would learn more if there was an entertaining, fast and useful way to do it.

However, lacking a compelling and engaging source of easy info our wine consumption has reached a kind of plateau. We’d never give up our wine (nooooo), but many outsiders buy the same bottles from the same wine store where the same clerks have already taught us what little they knew in the first place.

Serve up easy to get, easy to swallow wine insights with passion and humor and these outsider wine drinkers will snap out of their consumption rut and enter the honeymoon phase where each new wine discovery is like falling head over heels in love with wine all over again. But you have to be in a position to take that journey of discovery right along with these wine outsiders without condescension or inducing the urge to yawn.

As they say, it takes one to know one.

It’s true that each type of Murphy-Goode Wine Lifestyle applicant has pros when it comes to effectively creating and communicating the Murphy-Goode/Sonoma County message. The insider is, well, inside and may be able to deliver contacts and eyeballs (pro), but he or she will be preaching to the choir, unable to recapture the joy of discovering new things about wine for the very first time on a level that most consumers can relate to (big con).

The novice is a clean slate, moldable (sort of a pro, I guess). But will probably be spending so much time with the basics that the bulk of your target audience will get bored with their sophomoric POV (con).

Only the outsider can deliver the most elusive and most valuable asset in an effective Wine Lifestyle Correspondent: the ability to BE the target consumer of the Murphy-Goode/Sonoma County message. I defy a wine insider to compellingly and effectively convey the wine lifestyle to the outsider consumer or a wine novice to bring a wine outsider new information on a level that he or she can act on in the real world on a real budget for a real dinner party. In Kansas.

Eric and I are not the only wine outsiders vying for the MG gig. However, we may be the only wine outsiders with major insider communication skills in both words and pictures honed and proven over 20 years working with many of the best old and new media outlets in the world, including many groundbreaking magazines and web sites that we helped create.

Biggest lesson learned? If you don’t keep the reader (or, in this case, consumer) in mind at all times your message is never going to hit the mark no matter how much you spent on that wine refrigerator. Having a similar life experience and empathy with your intended audience coupled with superior storytelling and packaging skills is the key to this life-or- death trick.

Yes this job requires new media skills and networking wizardry but you also have to have the kind of intuitive, natural Consumer Credibility that gives your message Brand Believability before you can produce anything worth blogging, vlogging, posting or Twitting about. Without a voice, style and POV that ring true to the bulk of your audience, you’re just making noise.


Karen Catchpole and Eric Mohl left their publishing industry jobs (and really cool apartment) in Manhattan in April of 2006 to embark on the Trans-Americas Journey, their five year 200,000 mile working road trip through North, Central and South America during which they are putting more life into their lifestyle, reinventing the way they work as professional freelance journalists (writer and photographer respectively) and contributing to some of the best travel and lifestyle magazines, newspapers and web sites (Travel & Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, Everyday with Rachael Ray and the Minneapolis Star Tribune to name a few). They are currently in Mexico, where they’ve been since December (go to the home page of their web site at www.trans-americas.com and check out the cool SPOT real-time locator map if you don’t believe it). Their visa runs out on June 12 and they’re currently heading north back to the US, instead of driving south to Guatemala as planned, in anticipation of getting a really exciting phone call (or email or Twit) from Healdsburg. Today they’re leaving Queretaro and heading to Zacatecas for a few days before continuing north. Look for more posts from Karen and Eric from the road right here and at http://trans-americas.com/blog/. And check out www.areallygoodehire.net to watch their application video,  learn more random facts about Karen and Eric (which one do you think can kill a rattlesnake with a hoe?) and get answers to FAQs about the making of their video, including “Who’s that guy dancing in the background?”.


Have you had a look at the guy dancing in the background?  I can *show* him to you:

You can vote for Karen and Eric here.

Leave a comment or go give them a shout: