Managing such a popular blog, brand, and all the offshoots (bride tribe, e-mail, advertisers, interns) must be exhausting. What kind of activities related to your brand do you focus on daily to keep yourself from going crazy? -Meg
First and foremost, I couldn't do it without help. Delegation is a huge part of how I stay sane. The OBT would have been shut down over a year ago if I didn't have five moderators keeping an eye on it for me. Offbeatbride.com would have half as many posts if I didn't have my beloved interns (current intern Megan, and Shrie, my alum) cranking out the bride profiles, and I would lose my mind if Megan wasn't watching comments like a hawk, deleting bitchy stuff within minutes of it being posted. She manages the twitter feed and the flickr pool, and I'd be lost (LOST!) without her. I still read every single blog comment, but I do it knowing that Megan's likely caught the bad stuff.
Over the years I've also become the master of email triage. I used to be a slave to my email, compulsively responding to every message as quickly as I possibly could. These days, I respond to less than half the Offbeat Bride mail that comes in. I skim and immediately discard press releases from businesses and questions from brides using me as a search engine ("What are good wedding venues in Cleveland? Where can I find a ruffled tux?" …why, let me google that for you!). Wedding porn nominations and advice questions get filed for future reference, but usually don't get a response. Lots of sweet fan mail gets read and squeed over, but I don't always have time to respond. Plus, I suck at accepting compliments and never know what to say. (Ack, sorry. )
I still wrestle with feeling a bit bad about not having time to respond to all the wonderful messages I get, but it comes down to this: I can either spend half my time responding to emails, or I can focus that time on producing stuff for Offbeat Bride. I chose the latter.
This sounds weird, but when I get stressed or overwhelmed by OBB, it calms me down to pick through the rubble of my webstats. I live in google analytics, mybloglog, feedburner, facebook insight, ShareThis reports, etc. When it all feels a little out of control, the cold hard data is oddly comforting.
One thing I DON'T do is read many wedding blogs. I have a tiny handful of sites that I read for personal enjoyment, but I think one of the risks of the blogosphere is that it becomes an echo chamber … with everyone writing about the same stuff rather that producing new content. When I used to write a gossip/fashion column for Disney/Movies.com, I got super irritated by how ALL the gossip sites has the same photos and same stories. With OBB, I focus my time on producing my stuff — not reading other people's. This makes me a bad networker, but it's like email: I can either network, or I can focus on working on my site. I chose the latter.
So, in summary, every day for me is email triage (but only answering some of it), stats, talking with the intern, and reading comments. I try to stay away from the OBT (it's too easy to get sucked in, and the mods are on it!), other wedding blogs/twitter/networking/etc, and feeling like I need to answer every single email that comes in.