At the European Beer Bloggers Conference in July we had a very interesting talk by Susanna Forbes of Drink Britain. The talk was titled “Drinks Writing: When Every Word Counts”.
Susanna is an accomplished print journalist, editor, and now blogger who provided her ten tips for how beer bloggers can become better writers and, in a way, reporters. We thought this was good enough to reprint here, so those of you who were not lucky enough to attend can still take in her words of advice.
- Find an angle – it doesn’t have to be the deepest river or the highest mountain, but is it the first brew from a new kit, or to use a fab hop?
- Hone your language – simplify where you can so you can add in scene-setting adjectives elsewhere
- Create a story – how did it begin, who is the main character, and what does the future hold?
- Build a bridge – if you’re writing for the general public, what’s going to mean something to them? What’s the local landmark? eg the start of the Severn Valley Railway is Kidderminster, the UK’s carpet capital
- Develop an expertise – I’m going to be more likely to read your piece about IPAs if you’ve tried more than a handful
- Trust your instinct, but do your research – eg dog-friendly pubs – seemed a good idea, but until I’d checked didn’t know whether anyone else had done it
- Put people first – after all, no producer, no drink. In this business, which is far more exhausting than a 9 to 5 desk job, why do they keep going?
- Embrace the visuals – and liven up your captions
- Read others blogs – never stop learning, there’s always different ways of presenting things
- Include context – eg Grand Pier Cider Festival – not just Weston Super Mare’s lengthy pier, but news that it reopened in 2010 after two year £39m refit after the 2008 fire.