This morning when I logged into WordPress I saw a little trophy icon up on the message bar and, of course, I clicked to find out what it was for. Who wouldn’t be curious as to why they earned a trophy? And it was a little system generated “Happy Anniversary!” Awwww, what a pleasant computer program!
So I thought I better whip up a quick post about our year out in the blogosphere and on social media in general. If you haven’t read how this all started make sure you read “Geez, this all happened quickly“. The short of it was that the blog was created on a whim as a bit of a laugh between my brother-in-law Stuart and I. We’d been texting about wines we’d scored at auction and he said “let’s create a blog”, I said “cool, The Wine Wankers” and the next day Stu had it all up and running. It snowballed from there and has continued to gather up as it rolls.
A week or so after kick-off I asked Neal to join us. We were out at an Afghan restaurant and Neal was telling me the interesting story about the Carmenere grape so his passion made him a natural candidate. Thankfully he was all keen to be part of the adventure.
For the first few months we were focused only on the blog. I discovered that there were a lot of great wine bloggers out there especially on WordPress. I made sure to follow as many as I could and a few were actually kind enough to check back in on our crazy little blog from time to time. I decided not to confine myself to only reading wine blogs because, strangely enough, I’ve got interests beyond wine so I started visiting all sorts of other blogs from food, to art, to poetry and even gardening.
Within a couple of months The Wine Wankers had a seriously engaged and eclectic bunch of readers and I am so grateful for that. We’d broken out of being a wine blog for other wine bloggers and were now a general blog that all sorts of people read. We became a real part of the overall “WordPress Family” and that was awesome.
It was only about 9 months ago that we set up our Twitter account. The reason we decided to get our act together on this one was because Neal was travelling to South America and we thought it was the perfect opportunity. I even wrote a blog post letting everyone know about our move onto Twitter. I’m good at blowing our own trumpet! 😉 One of the bloggers that follows us, who I thought was just being sweet, made a comment along the lines of “watch out Twitter” and I thought that was funny and she said “no, seriously”. HAHA!
Sadly, around November, Stuart had to give up The Wine Wankers so that he could concentrate on his business and his studies. All you bloggers will understand just how time-consuming blogging can be. I know it can take up loads of my time. I can be a bit pedantic and can write and re-write a blog post so many times that I just end up getting lost in what I’m doing while time seriously disappears (hmmm, shouldn’t have just looked up at the clock).
Thankfully Ben joined us earlier this year and has been a great wine wanker to have come onboard. Like Neal and I, Ben qualifies for the team for no other reason than being a passionate wine drinker who loves to tell his stories about wine, and he’s a good mate of both of ours!
We also expanded a little by setting up an Instagram account earlier in the year, which is going gangbusters, and recently set up a Tumblr account although we haven’t quite worked out how to grow that one yet.
Now to thank everyone who has helped us get here! (and a bit of a brag)
Firstly, I really want to thank the WordPress Bloggers. You guys have been sensational and it is mostly you that take the time to read, like and comment. I love seeing other WordPress bloggers’ gravatars pop up in the comments and in the group of people who like each post – it means a lot. I also like to take the time to read the stuff from other bloggers but I must admit that the frequency of each visit has dropped a little due to just not having enough hours in the day, sorry. We’re lucky to have about 2,200 WordPress bloggers follow us.
Thanks to our Facebook followers! We did set up our page right at the start but that was mainly just used to suck in a few existing Facebook friends (thanks guys). Until recently we never really put much effort into Facebook but we’ve doubled in size over the last month as we’ve put a little bit of focus on it and have realised that it actually does offer us something. I’m now liking other pages, something we neglected for oh so long, and also checking out other people’s stuff (all important things to do in being “social” on social media). We’ve now got about 750 people who like our page. Who knows, we might even get to 1,000 one day.
A huge thank you to our Twitter followers! You’ve got to be nuts to be following us on Twitter, it’s manic and just a tad bonkers. We’ve become some sort of hub for people to bounce all sorts of wine stuff off, and it’s a real privilege that this has happened. It’s so fun out there and I love it! We all tweet stuff but it’s me that you’ll mostly be playing with. Unfortunately I can only get to a fraction of the tweets we are tagged in but I do try to action as many as possible. Our Twitter following is heading towards 40,000 people and we’re now adding between 200 and 700 people a day (slow and steady).
A big thanks to our Instagram followers… the lovers of photos. This one is Neal’s baby. He’s our keen photographer and manages the feed, although Ben and I do add our own photos too. I sometimes feel bad that I’m bringing down the quality of Neal’s work but I am trying – not to bring it down that is 😉 We’ve got about 7,000 people following us on Instagram now. It’s a quality medium for us and is very different to our Twitter feed.
Thanks to the 100 or so people who now subscribe by email. The rate of these subscriptions has been gathering a bit of pace of late so I’m pretty stoked about that. And to our 15 or so Tumblr followers, we’d have none without you! 😉
And most importantly… the biggest thank you goes to our families. They’re the ones who give us the support to keep going and also put up with us being MIA at times. We all put a big effort into The Wine Wankers but I can only quantify this for myself, on top of my 8 hour a day job (give or take), and time with the family, this caper can take up around 4 to 8 extra hours in my day leaving around 5 or 6 for sleep if I’m lucky… so my wife is very tolerant. 😉
So why have things kind of worked out for us? Besides our great writing skills of course, and the fact that we share and be “social” on social media rather than just broadcast, we think it has a lot to do with the fact that we are just your average wine drinkers who are very passionate about the elixir we love. We don’t have a background in the wine industry and like I said in Are the Wine Wankers now part of the “industry” … really? this means that we can express ourselves in a rather raw manner and in a way that connects with “normal people”. I’d say that’s the holy grail of wine writing to be honest and we’ve done it by not having to prove we know anything (actually, there’s so much we don’t know but this caper means we’re learning more about wine every day).
Where to now? No idea! It has been an amazing 12 months though. Lots of fun but also a hell of a lot of work in between our day jobs. Apparently we’re one of the top 3 most influential wine people on social media. That’s a real honour but what does it mean for us? Well we have scored some free wine to drink and a free bottle of wine is always a good one!
Make sure to check out our classics!
And you can connect with our various social media via the right hand panel on our home page here –> http://thewinewankers.com.au/
Again, thanks to all of you! It has been a fun ride.