Who am I to say how to start a beer blog?
If you do not have a beer blog, I’m a bleeping expert. Once you do step one below, you can decide whether or not I know what I’m doing. But until then, I am your beer blogging coach. You are Rocky and I’m Mick.
Step One – The Nike Slogan
Yep, that’s right. You know the good ole Nike slogan…
“Just do it.”
This is step one. Just start the damn blog. Go to WordPress.com, sign up for a free account and just start writing. It’ll take some time to figure out how to use the site. I’m still going through and tweaking settings as I see fit. Go to Lynda.com, sign up for the trial period and take the WordPress.com Essential Training course.
But first instead of doing the above you’re going to say at least one of the follow:
“I just like reading other people’s blogs.”
“I have nothing to contribute.”
Or my favorite, “I have no time.”
You are wrong on all accords. If you are reading this then at some level, even subconsciously, you want your own beer blog. I’m sure there’s some Freudian envy theory somewhere than can explain it better than me but yes, if you’re here you have some interest in starting one.
You absolutely do have something to contribute. Everything you say matters to someone, especially the hard working craft breweries that rely on feedback to improve their products.
The time it takes to have a blog is as much as you want to work on it. Just start writing. My first post was about not knowing what craft beer is. I spend around 4-6 hours a week on mine. I don’t have to spend that much time but I thoroughly enjoy doing it and get a sense of fulfillment out of it. At the beginning I spent 1-2 hours a week on it. That’s 2-4 Friends reruns on TBS. I think you can do without them.
Step Two – Ask for Help
You came to the right place to find friendly and helpful people. In my day job industry I’ve found that most folks keep their knowledge and trade secrets well-guarded. They are scared of competition. The ladies and bearded gentlemen of the craft beer industry are the complete opposite. They have done nothing but welcome me with open arms (at this point let me give a HUGE shoutout to Josh of Lost in the Beer Aisle, Peter of BetterBeerBlog, David of Local Beer Blog and every other blogger who’s helped me along the way).
Here’s a tip – contact one person a day in the industry for two weeks introducing yourself and asking for tips and advice. You’ll be surprised at the response rate you’ll get. That’s what I did. You can contact me first if you want. I’ll answer any question you have and won’t sugar-coat anything.
Step Three – Focus In and Start a Challenge
So at this point you’ve got a few posts under your belt about anything from a summary of what beers you had at your birthday party to theories on how to find new beer styles you might like. Now it’s time to bring it all in and focus the majority of your efforts on a challenge. Do something that will give you lots of new posts and make you have to be in contact with many breweries for. Currently I’m working on the April Dirty Thirty. 30 new beers with 30 reviews in 30 days. That means 30 posts linking up with 30 breweries. Already I’ve had several contact me thanking me in various ways. Note: if you will be reviewing, don’t make them fluff pieces. They’re boring. Give your brutal, honest opinion even if it isn’t what the majority thinks (hey, I don’t like Bell’s Two-Hearted Ale but that doesn’t mean I can’t be a successful name in the craft beer industry). The challenge will not only populate your blog with content but train you to be a faster blogger.
Got any suggestions on challenges? Comment below!! I’m in need of another one.
Alright, if you have done the steps above you should now have a blog of your own, numerous contacts in the craft beer and blogging world and have a site full of content. How hard was that? I’ve been at it for just over three months and don’t want to ever look back.
So what do you think? If you don’t yet have a blog, what are you waiting for? What did I leave out? What are your hesitations?
If you already have a blog, can you give any insight on what you did?
Leave your comments below. Good luck and happy blogging! Cheers!!
Josh, if it weren’t for you, I’d be blogless. Nice post! PS, just got rocked by P90X. I’m pathetic…
Thanks! I wrote it mainly because of you.
After plyometrics tonight, everything that wasn’t already sore will be sore tomorrow.
Great advice! I used to hate writing in school, but you’re right, there’s something about it that can be very fulfilling! Cheers!
I was the same way. You couldn’t get me to write a paper with kicking and screaming. Now that I’ve found a topic that I enjoy, I can’t get enough of it!
Great advice! My girlfriend had to talk me into starting a blog. I definitely had the thought of “what can I add that’s new and valuable?”
#3 on your list is something for that’s constantly evolving. A year in and I’m still refining what the voice of my blog is and what kind of projects do I wish to budget my limited time on. My next challenge is to clear my backlog of travel stories! I have a trip to Colorado to talk about, more of my San Diego trip, a recent sojourn to Hood River and even more Belgium stories. I need to focus on those!
I’d add the advice of not biting off more than you can chew! I started my Trappist brewery project as a simple 3 post project. It’s now at 4 posts with probably another 3 coming. It’ll probably finish up at between 15,000-20,000 words for all the posts combined. I’m not sure my Catholic grandmother would approve of the way I’m choosing to learn about Catholicism though….
Good point. If I added a fourth step it would be revise and repeat. Look at what’s working, what you like to write about and change as necessary. Thanks for sharing and good luck on your Trappist brewery project!
Step 0: Drink enough beer to convince yourself this is a good idea.
That’s what got me rolling!
What got me rolling was someone said it was a bad idea. It discouraged me at first then weeks later decided I didn’t care and did it anyway.
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I just started a blog today, so after a lengthy first post, check off step 1. I am asking you to let me know what you think, step 2 check. Cheers, looks like it is time to have a beer!
Congrats on starting your blog and your first post! Are you in the NoVA/DC area? I see you’ve hit up a fair amount of breweries nearby. Keep up the posts and congrats again!!