Friday, November 17, 2017

Tips for Booze Bloggers, No. 1: Drinkstagramming vs. Blogging

I've been saying I would start this series for a while now, and instead of waiting for a website re-design (or whatever other excuse was holding me back), I'm just going to start.  Today.

The purpose of this Booze Blogger Tips series is to offer incites to those interested in getting involved with cocktail writing, specifically in the blog world.  In this series I hope to discuss how other bloggers have made it work for them, what content plays well on the internet, what brands are looking for, and how to make money doing it. 

Today, I make more money than I ever thought I could Booze Blogging, but when I started six years ago, drinks blogging was hardly a category and there were barely any paid opportunities (read, none).  There were journalists who focused on the beverage world, and blogging was dominated by food bloggers.  The drinks space was owned by traditional press and print was King.

I remember being extremely frustrated because I didn't want to write cake recipes, I didn't want to be a food blogger, but I was extremely passionate about the cocktail industry.  It took one of my friends saying to me that I had a special for understanding spirits, and I should focus on it. 

So I did.

Six years later Gastronomista won the Saveur Blog Award for Best Drinks Blog in 2015, has been named one of the best cocktail Instagram accounts to follow by many different publications, and I have traveled across the world and back in pursuit of wine, cocktails, and spirits. 

Today, I can feel a sea change happening, Alcohol companies are starting to see the merits of influencer marketing as editorial opportunities are becoming harder and harder to secure.  The future of drinks marketing, like all marketing, lies with influencers (Booze Bloggers, Drinkstagrammers, and the like), and I, for one, am extremely excited to see this category continue to grow.

Over the last few years I have learned a lot, and I want to share some of that knowledge with you.  All questions are welcome, feel free to email me, DM me, or leave comments on this post.  I'm going to try to do one of these every few weeks, so ask away!

On to today's subject:

Drinkstagramming vs. Blogging.  Where to start in the Booze Blogging Biz?

I have noticed so many new cocktail Instagram accounts popping up in the last year, year and a half or so, and I'm so excited to see this new enthusiasm in the drinks category.  I've been incredibly impressed with the quality of the content, from the photos to the recipes to the garnishes.  It is truly inspiring, and helps encourage me to keep pushing the quality of my content!  That said, you need a blog as well, and here's why:

Social Media Platforms Have A Lifespan

Maybe I'm just old school, but I think having a blog is critical to the longevity of your brand.  Yes, Instagram is where most of the action is right now, but as we all know, social media platforms have their moment in the sun and then the trend moves on to the next platform.  Remember Friendster?  Right.

Instagram and Facebook have been fighting the good fight trying to keep their platforms relevant, but there will be another platform that will come along and take over the market.  It's just a matter of time. 

You Don't Own Your Content on Social Media

I know this is an extreme way of thinking, but what if Instagram died tomorrow?  What if all of your content and all of your followers were all of a sudden gone, or obsolete?  What then? 

It's entirely possible.  We as content creators don't own Instagram, we don't own Facebook, and we don't own Twitter.  We don't have a say, we don't have a vote of how things are done or how the platform might change in its next algorithm update.  But you can control your own blog.  It is a space that you can own outright, and make sure that your content is represented the way you want it to be. 

Yes, it is more work, but it is the only way to ensure that your work will have a home forever.

Social Media Isn't Googleable

Cocktails, like recipes, will always be something that people google.  Looking for a pear-infused whiskey sour?  Google it.  Google will not be able to find your recipe from an Instagram post, but it will be able to find it through a blog post. 

The blog will give your content more life and allow posts to be searchable for years to come.  There are posts of mine from 3-4 years ago that still get a lot of traffic, which is always surprising to me.

Unfortunately Instagram posts are as good as dead after a certain amount of time because people simply don't have patience to scroll through my thousands of social media posts to find one specific recipe.  It is exactly that searchable place on the internet that will make content have long-lasting value for brands, which is much more powerful than an Instagram post or two in the long run. 

In short, you need a blog.  Buy that URL you have been eyeing and get started.  Even if it takes you 6 months to launch it, it will be worth it in the end. 

Hit me up with questions in the comments section!

Until next time, Boozers.


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