Monday, April 25, 2011

Rant: Holiday Posts Are The Yellow Tail of Blogging

Easter was yesterday and if you have been reading wine blogs, you probably would have found a number of posts recommending wines for Easter dinner, such as wines to pair with ham or lamb.  Every holiday, from New Year's Eve to Thanksgiving, numerous wine blogs, as well as print media, offer their wine recommendations. Such posts and articles are ubiquitous, and often very repetitive from year to year.  Originality is usually lacking so why do people continue to write these trite posts?

Holiday posts are the Yellow Tail of blogging.

Like Yellow Tail wine, holiday posts are usually simple, standardized and consumer friendly. You don't seek brilliance in Yellow Tail and you don't seek it either in most holiday posts.  Like Yellow Tail, holiday posts are not intended for the more sophisticated wine lover, but rather to help those people who know little about wine and want some assistance. For most bloggers, these posts are easy to write, simply placing down some standard wine recommendations. And as they write these same posts every year, the posts are usually consistent from year to year, "vintage" having no input into the posts.

The main reason bloggers write these articles is the same reason many wine stores sell Yellow Tail: to appeal to the masses.  As trite as these holiday wine articles may be, they still garner lots of traffic and many bloggers want all of that extra traffic. With at least one holiday each month, and sometimes multiple holidays, writing these posts is an easy way to increase traffic. And as they are trying to appeal to the masses with these holiday posts, bloggers are usually motivated to write something simple and basic. The masses are not seeking something complex, no matter how compelling.     

Some blogs see no reason to write holiday posts, and are not motivated by the desire of the additional traffic. This would be like the boutique wine store which chooses not to stock Yellow Tail or similar such products,  Or if they do write holiday posts, they strive for originality, to elevate their posts beyond the trite and commonplace. That is certainly a more difficult task.  Such posts are directed more to wine lovers than the masses, though even the masses could benefit from such articles. It is just less likely that the masses will read those posts.

So is writing the same old holiday wine posts selling out? Or a necessary evil to attract more traffic? Should wine bloggers seek to write more original holiday posts, even at the expense of not garnering as much traffic?  How do you feel about these holiday wine posts? Am I being too harsh to compare them to Yellow Tail? Or did I not go far enough?


Meghan@travelwinedine said...

Many of my wine posts are very basic, much like these holiday wine posts, but I think they serve a purpose. There are many people, especially in my reader demographic who like wine, who are interested in learning a little more or getting recommendations but still might be intimidated or put off by more serious posts. I think these holiday posts serve as a way of making wine more welcoming and part of ordinary dialogue for those people who are not yet talking about it. For many, a very basic holiday wine post could leader to another, then perhaps something more in-depth, much like holiday recipe posts for those who are not confident or experienced cooks or bakers.
That said, this Easter I opted to take a true holiday and not blog at all! :)

chris said...

I agree with Meghan. People are very intimidated by wine and keeping it simple gets them started. We didn't all start out as experts or experienced palates.

David Dadekian said...

Last year I wrote and edited the food section for a local online "paper" and Thanksgiving time was excruciatingly boring. I don't think there's anything wrong with basic introductory wine stories, but to gear them all around one meal or one event is highly unoriginal and I don't think it's very helpful.

Wine Harlots said...

The six weeks before the start of the New Year is the highest traffic for food and wine blogs. Why? Because people are looking for recommendations for their holiday parties and dinners. Same with other holidays. Is giving people the information they are looking for pandering? Or helping? I vote for helping. It’s not saving the world for sure, but letting someone know what wine to pair with asparagus is my contribution to the world.

Matthew "mmwine" Horbund said...

Wine bloggers, for the most part, blog for themselves and other wine bloggers. Many don't strive to reach "the masses", as they feel either they are above them, or, as you said "don't need the traffic."

My site always has been focused on making wine approachable. With a few exceptions, I've tried to help introduce people to wines, whether via food pairings, descriptions and reviews, or videos. Therefore, When I get 2000+ hits a day for people looking for "Easter Wine Pairings", I know that I've reached the goal I set out for years ago. I've helped someone, maybe 2,000 someones, make wine a little more approachable.

And yes, there will be a memorial day wine post!


Greg Tuttle said...

Seems if you know your audience, that would inform the content you provide. If you're writing for a purpose (and your writing is interesting and engaging) I don't see how providing a holiday post is "selling out". Some may find the information helpful for planning their holiday meal, or at least a pleasant diversion from checking out the latest on TMZ.

I enjoy reading posts that show a point of view or opinion based on personal experience -- a holiday post that just regurgitates the stuff already floating out there is a waste of the writer's and reader's time.

Richard Auffrey said...

I do agree that such holiday posts have their purpose, and cater to many consumers who know little about wine. They just are not very helpful to more knowledgeable wine lovers.

But one more issue. This year, for each holiday, a consumer will find plenty of wine recs and advice. But, those posts will be very similar to the posts from the previous year, and other previous years. So how many times must consumers be given the same advice? Do you really need to write a holiday post every year, or can't you simply point to your previous year's post?

Rebecca said...

Hmm. Interesting thoughts....but I think it depends on WHO the blogger is.

If the blogger is a retailer, such as myself (though I didn't write a holiday blog, or one in detail) it would be more generic, so as to give the consumer ideas as to the possibilities - as well as to not be intimidated to think out of the box.

But if the blogger is a "writer" of sorts, then I think you're right in expecting the bar to be higher, depending on the scope of the blog - as well as the audience.

It's subjective I think. JMHO. :)

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