Sometime late last month, this blog turned a whopping three years old. Still quite a baby in the wine blogosphere, I nevertheless take some measure of pride in (somewhat) consistently posting blog articles for three years. While the focus has strayed a bit and been perhaps too review-oriented, the very fact that I have a wine blog has opened so many doors and literally allowed me to pursue the life of my dreams. If I had not started a blog, I would not be a winemaker. I would not have experienced Navarra or Bordeaux, met some great friends, and tasted some incredible wines.
I went back and forth between marking the occasion or ignoring it until a bigger anniversary came up, but ultimately decided to post a blog with some advice I'd give the Beau who started this blog all those short years ago. Please chime in with comments below, I'd be interested to hear your thoughts!
1. Plan posts in advance, just a little. You'll soon get flooded with press releases, sample offers, tastings, and more. It helps to plan out a posting schedule, even in rough draft form, so that you can keep everything straight.
2. Write for yourself and your audience. Remember that this is your blog, but also that other people will read this blog and (hopefully) learn something! As an outgrowth of your passion for wine, it's vital that you keep your own distinct voice in each post, yet also pay heed to the knowledge levels of your readers.
3. Be picky with which samples you accept. Yes, it's tempting to accept everything, especially when so many notable bloggers either solicit or accept every bottle sent to them, but there is also some value in working with the (few) good PR firms to feature bottles you're actually interested in. Don't be afraid to say no!
4. Don't for a moment sell yourself short, especially on social media. Look around at all the bloggers proclaiming themselves experts, when hardly any of us are truly experts. Recognize you're not an expert, but that you do have a lot of knowledge to share with your fellow wine lovers.
5. Never stop reaching out to people you admire, respect, and want to know better. Social media is about being social, about creating relationships, and that's something that can make your journey in wine so much more rewarding.
6 Pictures can often tell a better story than your blabbering on about a wine. Pay attention to the pictures you're taking and what they can say, given the right context.
7. Remember how important it is to be honest with yourself and with your readers. Never be afraid to voice your opinions on your blog, but be sure that what you express is factually correct and valid.
8. Don't rate wines. Either recommend them and explain why, or don't recommend them and explain why. Reducing a wine to a number or letter-grade is taking the easy route. Encourage your readers to avoid checking scores too.
9. Be concise. Use six words instead of 16, if you can make the same point.
10. Write first, do something else, then come back and edit. Don't be in a hurry to rush out any posts just "because". Your readers will know, trust me.
My final advice to the Beau of the past would be this: Whatever you do, have fun, and if you need to take a break from blogging, do so!
Here's to three more years!