Every now and then, somebody emails us, offering to send us whisky to review on this blog. Which is lovely, of course, and much appreciated. But every now and then something reminds us to make clear that writing reviews of whisky for promotional purposes is not actually what we do.
Yesterday, we received a kind offer of a delivery of some samples, to which we responded immediately and positively. We like whisky, after all. The PR person who sent us the email then responded with their expectations of a review, a request for links to a couple of different pages on their client’s website, and a 7-day turnaround time for the review, after which they would follow up with further enquiries.
Two links and tweet? That’ll be four drams please
And so we declined with thanks. Chances are, had they sent the whisky, we would have reviewed it promptly, with links and in an interesting and hopefully entertaining manner. But it brought into sharp focus for us what this blog is and isn’t. We don’t write for whisky – we write about whisky.
Not only did setting up the expectations (I won’t use the word ‘demands’) in exchange for a small sample bottle or two clearly flag up the fact that we were essentially being paid for a review in this blog. It also reminded us that while we love whisky, this blog isn’t a marketing platform and nor is it analogous to a whisky magazine with a clear commercial imperative.
Send in the amateurs
We write about whisky mostly because we are interested in it. This is what we like to do. We’re interested in the stories, the ideas, the culture, the people, the places… as well as both the art and the science of whisky. We don’t give scores out of ten and nor do we only write about whisky that we have been given for free.
Not only that – but nor do we only write positive things (not least about ourselves). Some whisky is, let’s face it, horrible. And sometimes we do dumb stuff that makes us look foolish – which is always great web content.
In other words, this is an outlet for our passion. We are both storytellers and we believe that whisky provides both the occasion for storytelling, and more than enough in the way of topics. We love to get involved in whisky-related projects – especially when we can shoehorn music into it as well. And of course, along the way, we have had (we like to think) positive promotional benefits, and when there’s an interesting story, we do have a lot to say. We know that thousands of people read this blog (no, really) and follow us on Twitter. We like to think that’s because what we write is interesting.
But there are other blogs that are set up as promotional channels for whisky brands. Blogs that have thought about their ‘marketing funnel’ (we had to look it up when we first heard the term, and it still makes us laugh). Blogs that are clearly online versions of whisky magazines, that rely on regular supply of press releases, samples and advertising copy for their ongoing sustainability.
Why you should (perhaps) send us whisky
We blog when we feel there’s something to blog about. When we go whisky places, meet whisky people, have something surprising to say about whisky, have thought about whisky things in a different way, or when we get together to do something whisky-related.
Being sent whisky is wonderful, of course, but we were pleased to have the opportunity to decline as well, as it reminded us what this blog is, and isn’t. We hope you find it interesting – but we’re here to share our enthusiasms – not just to sell you stuff.