I’m not claiming to be an expert of anything by posting this list. Nope, these are just things I picked up during my seven years of blogging that I wanted to share. After all, this blog has come a long way from its beginnings of rants and long quoted passages, right? Riiight? At least I don’t write as many “Places I’ll Never Show My Face in Again” posts as I used to. Nor have I been banned from any place or event in years. So there’s that.
Anyway, here are 10 things I learned…and it only took seven years!
- Don’t be greedy. If you say yes to every invite, you’ll overwhelm yourself with a backlog of posts you feel obligated to write. Now, along those same lines, you don’t have to write about every event you attend. Unless of course, for some reason you told the publicist you would.
- Have standards. You don’t want to be the person who “rewards” a hosted experience with a glowing review. If you like everything, you don’t really have an opinion peeps want to listen to. And no one likes a kiss-ass. Well, except for publicists, bar/restaurant owners and, oh yeah, 5th grade history teachers.
- If you’re going to criticize, do it constructively. No one gains anything by your being the Rush Limbaugh of the blogging world. When I started, I wanted to just be honest and tell it like I’d tell it to my friends. But the more I blogged and the more readers I gained, I realized that angle wasn’t really helping anyone. And nowadays it’s just considered plain Yelp-y.
- Build and maintain your brand. I didn’t start off as a cocktail blogger but soon became known as one. So I maintained that image by making sure to always Tweet cocktail-related tidbits, and even made a drink-concentrated Twitter account (@cocktailtease) to make those easily accessible. Naturally social media plays a big part in brand building so project that image consistently. For example, here are a bunch of my boozy Pinterest boards.
- Have a different take. Everyone gets invited to the same events, so think of a different angle to cover it. Otherwise, you’ll be one of many blogging about the same damn menu.
- Cutting and pasting a press release? Bad. Don’t do it. ‘Nuff said.
- Always give credit where it’s due, whether it’s the person who inspired the post or an insight about a cocktail. On the Internet, it’s so easy for the original source of something to get buried. So giving credit is a rare and beautiful thing.
- Blog regularly. OK, I used to blog almost every day but have since dropped down to at least three times a week when my stats showed that not everyone reads my blog every day. Wuuut? I know! But still you always want to have fresh content to keep people coming back.
- Be supportive of your peers. I admit this is something that I’ve just recently learned to do. But social media is just that, social. Be generous with your shout-outs and linkbacks and comment on your fellow bloggers’ sites. Look at other bloggers as your peers, not competition. If you have a unique voice, there’s no reason to feel threatened by others.
- You don’t have to finish everything. Don’t be embarrassed to employ a spit bucket at a cocktail tasting. It’s just good sense. I learned this from Natalie Bovis of The Liquid Muse. When she first told me she did that I thought, “Egads! That’s wasteful!” and weeped for the half-finished cocktails. But over the years I have come to appreciate its use.
One more: Always take notes and record every interview. It’s really easy to get a quote or detail wrong. Believe me, I know. Damn dyslexia. Plus I usually end up finding a story beyond the press release by actually talking to those involved.
By the way, the above photos are of my 7th blogiversary party at the Formosa Cafe which were taken by uber-talented party photographer (and my bff) Jennifer of Jennifer Low Photography. As much as I hate posting photos of myself here, I just had to share one of my most favorite nights EVER. (Gallery link)
Thanks again to Vince Jung and Kate Grutman of Formosa Cafe, DJ jasepi, Aidan Demarest and Elit by Stoli and Jennifer Low Photography. If it weren’t for these magnanimous folks, my 7th blog anniversary would have gone something like, “Oh shit, my blog’s birthday was last week?!” Very sad indeed. But this year, I got to celebrate with old friends, cocktail idols and readers/new friends AND raise some coin, $500 to be exact, for the Lenny Krayzelburg Foundation! Yay!