May 11, 2014
by Ariel Adams
If you are someone that likes watches, possibly buys watches, and are reading this with your “consumer hat” on, then you are who aBlogtoWatch works for. Why do I feel the need to say this? That is a good question and why I wrote this essay. In short, it is because the word “support” really bothered me. Sometimes, I like to offer an “inside baseball” look at what goes on behind the scenes at aBlogtoWatch, and what it is like owning or working for a web magazine that covers watches and what is essentially the luxury industry. In addition to offering people insight about what we do, I of course have a deeper agenda and sometimes like to correct mistakes that I sometimes observe in the industry.
Today, that mistake is who aBlogtoWatch works for, and sometimes people tend to think it is for the brands. In fact, most of the people who believe that are the actual watch brands themselves. They aren’t doing it out of malice or contempt, but rather that they are just so used to luxury and lifestyle publications actually working to please them for actual of potential pecuniary gain. That is just business, and there is nothing wrong with that, but what bothers me is the all-enveloping blanket sentiment that when someone dedicates their time, effort, skill, and life to writing about watches, it is because they are trying to make watch brands happy.
Everyone that works at aBlogtoWatch–including myself–writes about watches because we love watches. Our individual goal as writers is to share our passion about what we like, don’t like, and feel about watches, collecting, and our interest in little wearable machines. It isn’t because we want a pat on the back from the people who run watch brands. Sure, we want a good relationship with those companies who make the products we like.
Good relationships mean we get access to their products, are notified about news, and get the opportunity to develop relationships with the people who make the stuff we like even possible. But that is all because we walked into the relationship already liking or being curious about what they do. We don’t write about “X brand” because we are trying to make them feel good about aBlogtoWatch. If they end up feeling that way as a result of our coverage, we are really happy, but it isn’t our goal.
Our goal is pretty simple. It is to write cool stories about cool or interesting things that people want to read. We like what we do enough that we are all trying to make sure can live our lives and pay our bills while continuing to do what we like. It is a goal a lot of people have, and making money while doing something enjoyable is a place I am personally happy to be. But I would stop doing it all tomorrow if I wasn’t writing content that I personally didn’t want to read.
So what prompted all this and why do I feel the need to say it now? Despite the fact that I need an editor to correct grammar problems, as a lawyer, I get sensitive about words. For years now, my friends and close colleagues at watch brands frequently send us e-mails after we write articles about them and mirthfully remark “thanks for the support.” While their intentions are, and continue to be, very positive, this statement really bothers, and for the longest time I didn’t understand why.
Then I realized that it came down to the concept of support. What does it mean in this instance that we are “supporting” them? We aren’t buying anything from them or giving them anything, we are simply writing about something cool they made. To suggest that we are supporting them seems to suggest that we are writing articles about their products for their benefit. That just isn’t true, even if the articles do in the end benefit them by educating people about their new products, brand news, or interesting technology.
Every story our editorial team writes on aBlogtoWatch is done because we feel there is something valuable for our audience. That may be because a writer feels strongly about something and wants to share, or we know a product is going to be popular and want to make sure people hear about it from us. We’ve never sat down and said “X brand is simply going to adore us for this article.” Again, if that is a result of an article we are thrilled to bring positivity to someone’s day, but it isn’t why we do it–we don’t work for the watch brands.
Our advertising partners are each told that working with aBlogtoWatch is a way of regularly speaking to people coming to a site looking to learn about the type of product they sell. Because we can’t write about their brand each day, it is a way for them to engage with consumers on a more regular basis and share the messages their marketing people have designed to get people excited about their products. Advertising keeps the business going while offering brands a direct way of communicating with our audience. Editorial is where we communicate with our audience, and I personally feel that a separation between the two makes it possible for the people who visit aBlogtoWatch to trust not only our editorial more, but also the advertisers.
In closing, I would like to apologize for being so linguistically sensitive to my close colleagues who work at the many watch brands we work with here at aBlogtoWatch. I am not claiming that anyone is implying that as a media source we aren’t focused on consumer benefiting content. I am saying that perhaps thanking us “for our support” isn’t the best way of acknowledging what we do. It is great that you like it when we cover you–we’d be just as thrilled if you covered us–but try to understand that we are really doing it all for the people who buy the products, not the people who make them. That is who aBlogtoWatch works for.