One year ago, nearly to the day, I posted my thoughts on why you should be a wine blogger.
A year later, on the eve of the 2nd annual American Wine Bloggers Conference, I find myself posting about almost the exact same topic.
While writing last year’s post, I found myself asking what I imagined many readers of that article would ask. Namely, Why Should I Care What You Think? And today I find myself answering that question.
You shouldn’t care what I think.
Ironically, I’m saying this in response to an increasing amount of questions that I am getting from those new to blogging (and in particular those new to wine blogging) – at least, newer to it than I am – about how to be a “successful” wine blogger.
My advice is this: Wine blogging has arrived. So stop caring what I think and get on with it…
I can’t tell anyone how to be successful, because in blogging it’s fundamental that you define your own terms of success. Maybe you want to be the next Robert Parker. Maybe you want 300,000 page views a month. Maybe you just want a steady stream of wine samples so that you don’t have to buy as much of your wine out-of-pocket. Whatever it is, be clear about it and go for it.
What I can tell you is that wine blogging, as an institution of sorts, has arrived. That’s indisputable now. The discussion about whether or not wine blogging is relevant to the wine industry is over; the discussion is now how relevant its impact can be. The 2nd annual American WBW, being held this week in Sonoma / Napa, has over 250 blogger & winery participants, and the organizers have more or less had to beat sponsorship requests back with a stick. If wine blogging was irrelevant, none of that would have happened. If you’re in the wine industry and you’re not paying attention to the reach of bloggers and other social media vehicles, then I feel very sorry for you (or, rather, for your bottom line in the future).
Now that wine blogging is part of the present of the wine industry – not its future; those who are still debating that distinction are behind and should be desperately playing catch-up if they aren’t already – it places an interesting burden of sorts on those of you that want to blog about wine but haven’t jumped into the fray yet.
Namely, you have to be yourself.
Forget everything that people are telling you about how blogs are supposed to operate, what you are allowed to do, and what you aren’t allowed to do. Blogging may now be somewhat mainstream in the wine world, but it’s still too young to be saddled with too many rules.
So go to WBC `09. Learn some blogging rules. Then go break them.
But most importantly, if you’re going to come to the party, then you’d better Come Original.
Or don’t come at all.