My 10 Wine Blogger Values (#MWWC10)

wine-stain1-3 This month’s Challenge was a bit of a conundrum for me. I thought the theme was great but I struggled a bit coming up with some coherent thoughts. After vacillating for some time (and with the deadline nearing),  I decided to come up with my Ten Commandments of Wine Blogging.

  1. Produce great content. This (to me at least) sounds hard, but it is actually a lot harder than it sounds. I sit at my computer far longer than I should, trying to come up with the proper pun, the correct connection, the appropriate alliteration. It’s tough. I am sure I do not always succeed, but that is the aim. (Creating top ten lists is not considered “good” content in my book, although they generate a ton of hits.)
  2. Publish regularly. Now this is hard. I try to publish at least five times a week, and that is a bit of a grind, but with so many blogs out there, your readers will go elsewhere unless you work hard to keep them engaged. (Sure, my two boys are growing up without a father, but then so did Adolf Hitler, Ted Bundy, Jeffrey Dahmer, and Rush Limbaugh. I do draw the line at fluff pieces about funny things my family says or does just to generate hits.)
  3. Read other blogs, particularly those who take the time to read yours. This is a great way to generate ideas for your own blog as well as broaden your own audience. Be sure to leave comments when warranted and many will come and check out what you are doing. (You don’t even have to read between the lines here–visiting other blogs generates hits!).
  4. Answer every comment. Your readers want to feel connected to them and that you are engaging in a conversation. (Yes, even respond to the asinine comments. You never know who is going to want to send you stuff–and it generates more hits!)
  5. Follow people who follow you on Twitter. I think it is just common courtesy, but maybe that was my mid-Western upbringing. (This does not apply to those who are offering 1,000 followers for $29–why is it that they never have more than 200 followers themselves? This also does not apply to zealots. I will let you come up with your own definition of a zealot. Also, unfollow people immediately who send you a Direct Message to thank you for following them, but do not see the need to follow you back. Do they not know that I can’t DM them back if they don’t follow me? That leaves me to but one conclusion: people who DM you without following you as well really have no clue at all.)
  6. Be honest. I believe that people can generally see through a charlatan, so treat your readers with respect and honesty–be worthy of their attention. I aim to be honest in my evaluation of wines, those that I buy and those that I receive as samples. Up to this point, there was really only one sample that I received that I really did not like. I was honest about it (without being mean, I think). Strangely, I have not received anymore samples from that winery. (One more thing, I must admit something to you: about 50% of the Ohmygod saga is made up–pure fiction, never happened. I will leave it up to you to determine what is “real.”)
  7. Drink wine every night. I think the tide is finally turning in our historically puritanical society–drinking on a regular basis is no longer seen as a type of Scarlet Letter. (Just because I drink wine every night does not mean I am a raging alcoholic or go out for drunken joy rides.)
  8. Drink sparkling wine at least once a week. Just because…. (Just because….)
  9. Make your way to the Wine Bloggers Conference at least once. It is a good source for information about improving your blog and making great contacts. (There is also an obscene amount of wine to be consumed.)
  10. When you are at a bit of an impasse, not sure what to write, make a list. Yes this flies in the face of what I said way up there in #1, but I have already forgotten about that. (Besides, they get a lot of hits!)

 

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About the drunken cyclist

I have been an occasional cycling tour guide in Europe for the past 20 years, visiting most of the wine regions of France. Through this "job" I developed a love for wine and the stories that often accompany the pulling of a cork. I live in Houston with my lovely wife and two wonderful sons.
This entry was posted in #MWWC10, Monthly Wine Writing Challenge, Wine. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to My 10 Wine Blogger Values (#MWWC10)

  1. Except for twitter and the wine specific items, I do what you are recommending, although #10 substitute :photograph” for “write”. It works. Probably, my analog for the wine related items is travel a lot and go to target rich events.

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  2. talkavino says:

    It is a good list of values to blog by, and they are equally (if not more) difficult to attain. I would take an exception with the top 10 lists, as to me, they are equally difficult to produce as any other blog post.

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    • I think lists are good if woven into more of a narrative. However, there is no doubt that lists get far more hits than narratives. I guess it is the inherently easier to digest format that appeals to most “surfers”.

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  3. I’ve really enjoyed reading your blogs. As you’ve probably read on mine I am very new at this but I love it. Your list is spot on as I recently discovered the ones who don’t follow me back don’t know I can’t respond to their DM. But since it was a winery that’s not in my area, I’m letting it go.

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  4. foxress says:

    Excellent list! (I hope that wasn’t an asinine comment.)

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  5. You had to include #1?? I’m screwed

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  6. asueba says:

    I will try a list next time. This simple 5-letters word seems to have stumped us.

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  7. EXCELLENT! Cheers!

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  8. I love lists! The most important list is the MWWC results list!!

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  9. #8! Tuesdays work for me . . . Salud!

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  10. Great advice! Let me tell you, my husband is concerned about me and my blogging – he wants his wife back. The challenge was great, but don’t know if I’ll have the endurance to do another. I get so self conscious about being clever, witty, coherent, I fear I just write gibberish or worse – I’m a bore. I will admit – I love the challenge and feel great once I complete a post. All my best!

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  11. Great list, and I think you’re being too hard on lists. Sometimes you need to produce stuff just for your audience, something that is easy entertainment, and a list does just that. And you could write a whole essay on Twitter etiquette, so many people do not subscribe to those basic and important points you outlined.

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    • Yeah, I put “Make more lists” on my list of things to do. As for Twitter, I am not sure, but people seem to think that your ultra-cool if you have way more followers than the number of people you follow. I call this the “Jesus Complex”?

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  12. I try to do #3 kind of in hand with common courtesy mentioned in #6 (Twitter following). A blog without readers is a journal and you want people to read what you have to say. The biggest thing I hate with Twitter is the old fake follow: You follow me, I follow you, and then you don’t follow me. I actually just scrubbed a few of those out. And BTW, I feel like I just saw Mickey Mouse smoking behind the curtain with OMG reveal… I’m tearing down my The Drunken Cyclist poster.

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  13. renenutet13 says:

    Great post, Jeff. How important do you think the visual impact of a post: photos, layout etc? I struggle with this.

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    • Thanks! You know, I think it is pretty important, but it is something that I am particularly bad at–I try to include at least some pictures in every post, but at least half of them are blurry. I am pretty much the wrong guy to ask is what I am trying to say….

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  14. timmilford says:

    Very wise words, Jeff. I will print these out and leave them next to my computer for inspiration!!

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  15. Angela says:

    I like your points. Especially the ‘be honest’. Personally I feel that social media has limited our voices. I have personally experienced this. Mixing business / freelance / entrepreneurship with earning money usually keeps bloggers honest to a degree. We express without banter. We don’t really want to come off as offensive. So the fat gets trimmed and a nice lean story gets published.

    If we could be as honest as we want… Sigh.

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    • I think there are both sides to that one: some certainly do not want to be offensive as to not alienate readers. Others, however, want to shock, offend, be outrageous in order to attract readers. I guess the theory is “all attention is good attention”. There is a certain wine blogger who’s entire blog is based on insulting others and he has one of the more popular sites out there….

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  16. I think we all value this list. I thought #7 would be the most popular. That is why I do not do lists, but I have been known to have a drink.

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  17. I follow you because I think you are witty and I am actually learning something about wine, as I am a complete wine noob. (And I must admit I’m torn that OMG is only half true…but at least you were honest!)

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  18. These are great, sound suggestions! I definitely need to consider these for my own blog. Thank you!

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