Earlier this year, I wrote a post on my personal blog called “The Death of Blogging?.” You can go read the whole post (it’s not long), but here are the last two paragraphs:
We blog (or publish web content, if you prefer) because we have a passion for the topic. Years ago, Merlin Mann and John Gruber pointed out that a successful blog needed three things: “obsession + topic + voice”. I’ve written about this before and it’s still true.
But, in a world where apps and songs cost 99 cents, is that enough any more? If no one is willing to advertise with you or pay for your content or give you any respect (see Mike Elgan’s comment above [he called bloggers “floggers”]), it may not be.
It’s been almost seven years since we started Hoperatives. In fact, it was almost exactly seven years since we started planning and designing what this would be. The idea was hatched during a beer dinner at Rock Bottom that then head brewer Mitch Dougherty hosted. We’ve always considered Rock Bottom to be Hoperatives’ birthplace and Mitch to be its brewer godfather.
Now, seven years later, Mitch is across the river brewing at Ei8ht Ball and we don’t visit Rock Bottom as frequently as we used to. One of the main reasons is that the better beer scene in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky has exploded since then. There are so many choices now that it can be a bit overwhelming.
As the years have gone by and the number of breweries and brew pubs increased (as well as the number of locations selling better beer), we have tried to keep up. About three years ago, we added our weekly newsletter which steadily grows in the number of subscribers. We’ve streamlined both our This Week in Beer listings and our Tastings and Tappings Report. And we’ve tried different features from time to time like our recent Beers We Love Now series.
We have also focused more on our directory of local breweries, brewpubs, etc. and local beer events in the area. While we have covered local beer news from time to time, professional journalists like Shauna Steigerwald at the Enquirer and Jesse Folk at WCPO do a much better job of it so we leave it to them.
You may remember that for several years, we were part of Cincinnati.com blog network. While the money we received for being part of that network wasn’t a huge amount, it did cover our hosting costs and other expenses. That relationship ended a year and a half ago.
Since then, we have tried hard to get advertisers for Hoperatives. You probably have seen the graphic in the right column and we have sent out many copies of our media kit. Unfortunately, while several businesses have said that they wanted to advertise with us, none actually have.
More recently, we added that Tip Hoperatives option that you see to the right. This idea is borrowed from Leo Laporte and the This Week in Tech network. As of this date, exactly one person has tipped Hoperatives. Thank you so much, Kane Christensen!
Here’s the thing… As we reported earlier, I am teaching two sections of Introduction to Craft Beer this fall and trying to get a Brewing Science program approved at Cincinnati State. I’ve already cut back on many things in my life to devote more time to that endeavor, but the one thing I’ve held on to is Hoperatives. Unfortunately, that one thing is taking more and more time and, since we have to pay our own costs now, it’s the one thing that we’re actually paying to do.
So, it’s come to a put up or shut up point for us. We hear all the time how much Hoperatives means to our readers. A local brewery owner asked us to add them to our local breweries listing because they had someone tell them that they had never heard of [their brewery] and had yet to stop in because they only ever check out hoperatives.com for new breweries in the area.
If Hoperatives is of any importance to you, please encourage businesses that you frequent to request a media kit and advertise with us. If you are uncomfortable doing that, hit the link above and send us a tip. It doesn’t have to be much. Any amount would be an indication to us that the time and effort we put into Hoperatives is worthwhile.
Now, the ball’s in your court. Show us how you feel about us continuing. We’re waiting to hear from you.