Before I launched my website RumJouney.com I researched and wrote content for it for quite some time before it went public. I was lucky that people saw potential in what I was doing and encouraged me to keep at it and eventually writing evolved from a hobby to a part time job. I wish to see more people express their passions regardless of the spirit, because I believe there is value in learning and understanding different peoples points of views. Here are some helpful tips for those who are interested in starting their own website and writing about spirits.
1. Before you build your site- Look around at other sites related and unrelated to your specific interest. What do you like? What do you dislike? Take notes- this will help you define the look and feel of your own webpage and assist you with creating your personal brand. The hardest part maybe creating your name and securing it on all social media platforms.
2. Get to know the community that you are writing for. Read the forums and interact. Chat with those who share your passions and learn from those who are willing to share. Learn! Always ask questions. Read, Read, Read! Go to Spirit events and learn some more. A good example is Tales of the Cocktail that is hosted in New Orleans every July. It is loaded with top notch learning experiences and is well worth the time of anyone wanting to learn more about spirits, cocktail creation, or other facets of the industry.
3. Self-promotion of your projects is part of the process. I was not comfortable with this when I started, but got better at it over time. They are a lot of bad examples out in the world- observe, learn, and swear not to be that person.
4. Listen to the truth tellers. In any industry, the agenda of a brand/company/writer can be complicated. Do your best to distinguish who is championing your interests and who is not. Over time, your views may change. This is okay, it means you are evolving in your craft. Tread carefully with any person or organization that makes you uneasy. Over the top flattery and ingratiating tactics are solid red flags.
5. The longer you write, the more relationships you will build within the industry you are covering. Stay focused on what you want to communicate. The true friends in the industry will respect you for what your unique voice brings to the community. You will learn whom you can and cannot trust. Lessons will be learned, but in time you will have a circle of people who you trust and better yet inspire and motivate you as a writer.
6. Accept the fact the deeper you dig into the details about a spirit, the more you will realize you do not know. This is perfectly acceptable. Better to always be a student, the world hates a know it all.
7. Do not be afraid to break from your path of study. Writers find their inspiration from different things along the way. Taking a deep dive into another aspect of a spirit is part of the fun.
8. Social Media is a two edged sword. It creates an environment where you can learn and share with people around the world which creates numerous positive experiences. You will also have to deal with the occasional person who enjoys sewing discord. It is not easy, but it is always best to not feed the trolls.
9. Stay focused on what you enjoy the most about the spirit community you are writing for. Losing sight of this has led many to burning out. It is natural for motivation to change as you evolve in your craft.
10. Own it. When you write something great, own it! When you make a mistake, own that as well. If a person or brand uses you, accept it, own it, and never forget what they did. You never know it might be an inspiration for a post or article in the future.
I am a Freelance Writer and Reviewer who has contributed to many print and digital outlets. My work has appeared in Got Rum? Magazine, Distiller, as well as other publications covering a range of subjects related to Spirits, Travel and the fun world of Tiki.