I was at a beer event recently where I was talking to the brewery’s owner about beer blogging. He asked if I ever got burned out. Thinking he meant burned out on beer, I answered that there were days when all I really wanted was a glass of pinot noir or some bourbon. But he replied that he meant blogging, do I ever burn out on blogging? At the time, I answered that, because of the way Hoperatives is structured, I start working on our “This Week in Beer” posts many weeks (if not months) ahead of time and the “Tastings and Growlers Report” post start with the one from the week before so that helps. Posts for the rest of the week lately have come from information sent to us about local news and events plus our new “Local Beer Blogger Spotlight” posts. In other words, I gave him the PR answer without realizing it.
Burn out is something we fight in blogging and in life. We all know of blogs that have either been officially shut down or that haven’t had a new post in years. Starting a new blog or project is exciting and gets your heart pumping. But, after the adrenaline levels go back to normal, many people decide that the work required isn’t worth it. This is especially true if the person starting the blog sees it as a get-rich-quick scheme or a way to get free stuff. Even if you have a blog you love to work on, it can become a drag on your time after a while.
Part of the reason I re-launched this blog was to have somewhere to write about things that weren’t beer related. I’ve learned that there is a need for my little app and other tech reviews. And people like my recipe posts too and even my occasional observation posts (like this one). RadioCarla.com isn’t going to become Engadget or the Pioneer Woman, but I knew that going in this time and I take pride in how it is slowly growing its audience.
Hoperatives will be five years old on January 1, 2014. It’s grown and evolved just as the Cincinnati beer scene has. I’m pleased with our relationship with Cincinnati.com, but I really wish we could attract some advertisers. I wish people would send us more information so I didn’t have to spend so much time combing Facebook and the web for information. Then there are the time of us getting comments and emails from people shocked we didn’t have information on a beer event at their favorite beer location that was only posted at said location. Add in the time it takes to stay active on our Facebook and Twitter accounts.
So, yes, I do get burned out on beer blogging. But, I soldier on and try to continue to do the best I can. I try new things. I keep what works and leave behind the things that don’t. I try joining new blog groups from time to time, but to be honest, some blogging groups are nothing but greedy people looking for free stuff or so full of infighting that the groups implode. Both of those things are just time sucks and drama that I don’t need. Enough already.
Whenever I consider why I blog, I think of Merlin Mann and John Gruber’s definition of a successful blog needing three things*: “obsession + topic + voice”. So I try to do what it takes to stay obsessed. As long as I’m a “believer in better beer (in Cincinnati and beyond)”, I’ll keep blogging at Hoperatives.
As far as battling burn out in life? Well, that’s a blog post for another day.
*I’ve mentioned this before, but if you missed it — Merlin Mann and Jon Gruber gave at SXSW in 2009 called “149 Surprising Ways to Turbocharge Your Blog with Credibility!” You can find more information about it at http://www.43folders.com/2009/03/25/blogs-turbocharged. I summarized the talk this way:
…a successful blog must have three things: “obsession + topic + voice”. If you have those three things, you can “become the go-to person for whatever your topic is.” Consider this: “How do you know it’s time to start a blog? Because people keep telling you to shut up.” And finally: “When CPM becomes more important than making readers happy, you’ve lost it.”