Eight years ago when I started my tea blog there were a small number of us out there, sharing our thoughts on and knowledge about tea, reviewing products and hoping to find a community of people who were equally enthusiastic about tea.
Tea Bloggers Roundtable – an affiliate program at this year’s WTE
In the years that followed, blogging has come into its own. More companies rely on blogs to share information and find customers. Social media in all forms has become a critical part of business. The quality and breadth of information has increased to new levels. The fact that this year’s World Tea Expo included two panels on blogging and two blog-related awards shows that it is becoming even more valuable to the industry.
The first panel, “Amplifying your Business Voice through Tea Bloggers,” included Jen Piccotti of An International Tea Moment, Jo Johnson of Scandalous Tea, Nicole Martin of Tea for Me Please and Geoffrey Norman of Steep Stories of the Lazy Literatus. The panelists provided information about how business can make the most of their relationships with bloggers. They communicated the “four R’s” of working with bloggers”: research (find a blog with the right audience), review (sending the right samples), reach out (personal email with information about your company and why you wish to work with them) and requirements (understand their policies and be on the same page with expectations). It can be a mutually beneficial relationship when there is respect for each other as professionals. Martin announced the 2015 Tea Blogger Directory where companies can locate like-minded blogs for collaboration and cooperative efforts.
Nicole Martin, Rachel Carter and Jen Piccotti
On the second day of WTE, the third annual Tea Bloggers’ Roundtable offered the expertise of eight tea bloggers, answering questions from the audiences and reflecting on their experiences. The bloggers included Piccotti, Johnson, Martin and Norman in addition to Gary Robson of Tea with Gary, Chris Giddings of Tea-Guy/Teaity, Naomi Rosen of Joy’s Jabberings, and Rachel Carter of iHeartTeas. The bloggers discussed ways that they attract audience, topics that reach the most readers, schedules and other social media. Appropriately the entire roundtable was live tweeted by @amazonv.
Geoffrey Norman, Jo Johnson, Chris Giddings and Naomi Rosen
At the evening World Tea Awards, Nicole Martin of @teaformeplease received an award for Best Social Media Outreach. Tony Gebely received the Best Tea Blog award for World of Tea.