1 –> Make sure you have PLENTY of time to dedicate to your online activity. And here, I’m not talking 3/4 hours over the weekend between walking the dog, taking the children to their grand-parents, a replay of Storage Wars and your weekly “let’s try to make some homemade blueberry muffins” session. Running a blog (well, at least if you want to attract and retain some readers apart from your family and gym teacher – which is fine though, no pressure!), requires daily work and is highly time-consuming : it’s not all about writing your latest tasting notes on the internet. Blogging also implies finding ideas for your upcoming articles, searching for accurate and relevant information, writing, proofreading, sharing your posts and thoughts, engaging with your community… If you want to create your whisky blog (which I do believe is a rewarding adventure), you’ll first need to make room for it. My blog has been a significant part of my daily routine since I started it and quickly became like the second pet at home : you always need to feed it.
2 –> Make sure you are passionate enough as whisky is going to take a huge place in your life (and in your relatives’ lives as well when you’ll be talking about your amazing new article idea at dinner). Passion is also the key to consistency and good-quality pieces. Also worth noting, most of us whisky bloggers aren’t yet receiving free samples/bottles everyday (it may happen once in a while but don’t see this as a rule or as an excuse for starting a whisky blog- you’ll be disappointed). If you want to write reviews, you’ll need to dig into your own whisky cabinet, which means (if you want to come up with more than 1-2 articles a month) that you’ll need to have some nice nectars in stock… (BUDGET ALTERNATIVE: you can buy miniature bottles of many (if not all of them…) whiskies sold on Master Of Malt without purchasing a whole bottle. Flaviar also offers some interesting 5-drams themed packs to help you discover new expressions without breaking the bank).
In the end, be aware that running a whisky blog will probably imply financial engagement more often than reviewing free whiskies.
3 –> Make sure you have some (well, at least a little!) computer skills. We’re now in 2016 (Already I know…) and the Myspace era is O.V.E.R.! Gone are the times where you could use Comic Sans MS without being immediately sent to jail. People will only become faithful readers if you offer them pleasant visual content. That may sound sad to you, but (unfortunately or not), the attention to visual identity and imagery is now almost (if not more) as important as the actual content and ideas behind your articles. To sum up this third point, if you’re not comfortable around a computer, consider writing a book instead, take some courses or pop in an internet café and make friends with an IT developer/computer designer.
4 –> Get social! You may have the most beautiful blog ever and the greatest content of the whole blogosphere, your whisky blog won’t really be alive without readers to read, criticise and share your articles. Social engagement is the key to a “successful” blog. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest (I was going to add Google+ to this list but hey, let’s not fool ourselves, you don’t know more than 1 person using it right?) shouldn’t have any secret for you.
5 –> Have some dramtastic fun! After all, writing a whisky blog is a hobby (for most of us at least) and this should remain enjoyable at all times! The all point of starting your own online platform is to enjoy yourself every time you log-in onto your CMS (don’t get this last bit? Go back to step 3!).