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An Insider’s Perspective on Influencer Relations

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by Mar Barbera

A lot has been written lately about influencers: how their success is a reflection of the way Millennials consume, how they mingle with industry veterans at events (and media lists), how they’re shaking up the world of public relations. We read studies on how much they are worth and the effectiveness of working with them, but we rarely get the chance to understand from their point of view.

We got together with Chelsie Petras or Chel Loves Wine, as she is known on social media, to hear her perspective on the Influencer Relations scene. Chelsie’s work to make wine more approachable for consumers is appreciated in the wine industry, with many brands reaching out to her for partnerships and content development.

She defines herself as a content creator and is WSET Level 2 Certified, but writing about wine is not her only job. Continue reading to find out more about the influencer all Influencer Relations pros need to keep on their radar.

Tell us about your blog, Chel Loves Wine
Chel Loves Wine was the first blog I ever started. I really was becoming bored with my 9-5 job and I needed a creative outlet to keep me occupied. I’m a virgo, so naturally when I had this idea, I did all my research and started putting stuff together and it ended up being a website that didn’t have much of a vision. So back to the drawing board where I asked myself, “what do I really love and would enjoy writing about?”. Wine was the first thing that came to mind. It also helps that my name in college was Chel Loves Wine, so it almost just felt like a natural fit. Wine was a topic that I didn’t know a lot about, so it was a great learning opportunity for me, it was something that naturally fit into my life and I really enjoy drinking it.

Is your wine job your only job?
Chel Loves Wine (CLW) is my side hustle. Sometimes it feels like I’m working two full-time jobs. I put about 30-40 hours a week into CLW op top of my full time job at a bank. It’s a lot of work but there is the all too cheesy saying that if you love what you do, you never work a day in your life. CLW is something I love to do so I never mind leaving my day job to go to events or stay up until 1 am transcribing some interviews for a post. Eventually I’d like to transition into the wine industry full time, whether that’s by running my blog full time or working in a wine shop.

You also run a podcast that merges wine and cinema. How did it start?
The Wine About Movies podcast was something I never planned on doing. My co-host Brendan is a long time family friend and he lives out in California. He was home for the holidays and came to visit me in the city before he jetted back to the west coast. Brendan works in the film industry and is always spitballing new ideas so over some vodka sodas (of all things) he started telling me about how I should review movies with wine on YouTube. That wasn’t really something I wanted to take on, so like all good brainstorming sessions (alcohol always brings out some pretty great ideas) it somehow morphed into a bicoastal podcast where we pair wine with movies. We just prepped for season 2 and I think it’s going to be really great. Season one was really us just finding our voices, learning what works and what doesn’t and how to actually produce something like this. It’s a really fun experience and you can tune into episode 1 of season 1 on August 1! We’re reviewing Mission Impossible, have any wine pairing ideas? Haha!

What are the most relevant trends you are seeing in content creation for the wine industry?
I’m currently seeing wine be shown in a fun and lighthearted manner. When I first started CLW, all the wine reviews I saw were just a photo of the bottle, with LONG detailed tasting notes that quite frankly, were overwhelming and unnecessary. Fast forward two years, I see fun photos of wine being enjoyed in everyday settings, with tasting notes that are relevant and really help you understand what the wine is about. I think there is a much-needed movement right now in making wine more accessible to the population of people that lie outside the wine world.

What are some trends you like in digital content creation by influencers?
I’m loving how creative people are with their content creation lately. Especially in the wine world, where photos can be really mundane and boring (sorry, not sorry!). People are really putting SO much work into making their content standout and I love it.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job as a content creator?
The most rewarding part to me is when I have someone message me saying that they tried a wine I talked about or something they learned on my site led them to try a new wine or speak with confidence about a wine. Wine is so intimidating. I always say it’s the one of the scariest liquids for people who don’t know about it. So, it’s really really amazing when someone learns something from what I’m posting and it gives them the desire to learn more about wine.

What advice would you give to small wineries looking to start collaborating with influencers?
I really love working with small wineries. I feel that they put more love and care into their craft than big corporations so I love to support them when I can. Advice I’d give to them is to reach out to influencers who have a smaller platform where they can exchange wine for a post. Any showing of their wine on big or small accounts helps spread the word.

What do you think of the current state of the influencer relations industry?
I really think this is a great time to be an influencer. Brands are finally embracing what influencers can do for them and their brand. I listen to what an influencer says on Instagram more than an ad on TV.

Where else can we find you, besides your own channels?
You can check out my new wine pairing series with PureWow on their Instagram. It’s so much fun to pair wine with real food! Who doesn’t love the occasional McDouble with a Bordeaux?