Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Power of Blogging

I have been reading some (not all) of the whole CAMRA vs the bloggers thing, which just seems slightly bizarre although I can see where both sides are coming from.

However what I'm thinking is that some folks don't realise just how important blogging or bloggers opinions are worth. I'm going to say that the beauty industry also is only just now figuring out that women actually take more notice of another women's opinion from her blog about an product than what an article in a magazine. I read both perfume and beauty blogs, I know that blogger's general likes and dislikes and so if they review a product I'm interested in, their opinion can (and usually does) influence whether I buy something or not. For years beauty bloggers were sidelined until a few newer companies suddenly realised the reason for their growth was the bloggers yelling about brillant products they have found. Now companies do launch to independent bloggers knowing this is a good way of getting word out there.

Same with beer bloggers, if I see a blog I know and enjoy reading mentioning an event or beer as really good then I will be influenced by that. The point is I know from reading that blog that we roughly like similar things so the chances are I will also enjoy the event/beer. So confident I will be that I have regularly brought six bottles of beer I haven't tried before thanks to someone's post, so far this tactic works well. I have had interesting beer I may not have tried and been to pubs/events that I have thoroughly enjoyed myself.

Blogging is a powerful and free tool, yes some do get freebies but good bloggers will say that they got it free in their review. No hidden agenda as if you read something regularly you spot those quickly and can judge your reaction to their posts accordingly. Blogs by companies and their links are good to follow for news and offers but an individual's view freely given is a godsend to many new companies or services.

What are you thoughts on the power of blogs? Do you see them as powerful or not?


  1. Not an easy question to answer. Most real ale drinkers I know don't make a habit of looking at blogs. On the other hand, blog readership seems to be expanding, and the fact that Molson Coors paid for the bloggers conference is an indication as to how some in the industry view blogs. If bloggers were just a bunch of beer anoraks talking only to each other, I doubt they'd have sponsored the event.

    I have been asked by pubs to mention their events on my blog, both beer festivals and music events, and organisers of local music clubs or one-off gigs have contacted me about their events to get a mention. A local journalist has told me he has sometimes pinches info from my blog for the paper. And that is just on a blog that's mostly local. Imagine if you're a beer blogger who is read all over the country.

    I conclude from that that if you're providing info people want to read, there are others who will want you to write about them, as I have found. If you're a beer blogger who does tasting notes, which I usually don't, and if your readership is considered to big enough, then I can see freebies being offered. After all, how much does it cost to send out 4 or 6 bottles of ale? Especially as you know that every reader of the blog is interested in the subject. It's so much cheaper than an advert in a magazine or newspaper, which most readers won't even look at.

    The delight of bloggers in being given free booze shouldn't blind them to the fact that they are giving a very cheap advert to the company concerned. On that basis, a blogger should feel free to say if s/he doesn't like the product. My view is that if your editorial integrity can be bought so cheaply, what does that say about the rest of your blog?

    So, in answer to your question, I don't think blogs are powerful as such, but they are of increasing importance, both to the blog-reading drinker and to the industry. News can get around via blogs more quickly than by most other media.

    The spat between CAMRA and certain bloggers is not about blogging in itself, but the demand by a few bloggers who aren't members that the Campaign for Real Ale should embrace keg beer. Why should it? It's like demanding that the Cats Protection League begin taking in dogs.

  2. It's worth pointing out that both Martyn Cornell and Mark Dredge, who have been vocal in the "keg" debate, are members of CAMRA, and indeed Martyn has been for over thirty years and is a former branch chairman.

    On my blog, I say "The blog is written purely for my own entertainment and to get things off my chest." Any influencing of others is a bonus. In a sense it's a matter of bearing witness to my principles and being able to say "well, I spoke out even if others remained silent".

    I did get a load of free beer off Wells & Youngs last year, though, and was mildly critical of Young's London Gold being bland ;-)

  3. Fair point, CM. Okay, most of those calling for CAMRA to embrace keg beer are non-members. Actually, I did wonder after I'd posted my comment whether that would be picked up by anyone. And it was!

    As for an honest critical review, I'd expect no less from you.