So why is a lesbian blog doing “giveaways?”
It began several years ago when I was approached to participate in media night for Cirque du Soleil and give away a pair of passes. It was fun! I wrote about the show and that was that. Since then we’ve been approached several times. I’ve blogged about restaurants I like, florists I patronize, comedians I enjoy and events I support. As I gained more blogging acumen, I realized we needed a policy and some guidelines.
But the *why* can best be summarized by our recent Pittsburgh Opera giveaway to see “Madama Butterfly” – I had the chance to really explore the story, the music and do so against the context of a current situation. It wasn’t merely an escape – it was a tool to understand my reality. And I was quite happy to see that the Pittsburgh Opera included my blog review on their press page.
Another reason *why* is summed by the experience of the winner of our raffle – Tiffany. Tiffany opted to take along another contestant, Becky, so they could both enjoy the performance. They both blogged about their experiences, Tiffany here and Becky here. And Becky nicely sums up why we take the time to share things like tickets and such.
I am somewhat ashamed to admit that (up until Tuesday night) I have never seen an opera. That all changed when my friend Tiffany won a pair of tickets to the Pittsburgh Opera’s showing of “Madama Butterfly” and asked me to join her.
I was excited and nervous, but so glad I accepted. For a first-time at the opera, this was a great one to catch. It’s quite possible I am now addicted, and “cannot wait to retire” and have lots of time and money to spend on the opera. Truth.
Giveaways aren’t just freebies. It provides the venue with a chance to engage the LGBTQ (and allied) community both through promotion and through my individual lens when I review. I’m not a critic, I do make an effort to understand the performance. And giving away tickets/items exposes others to the same level of engagement.
It also creates an opportunity for LGBTQ owned businesses and events to connect with a targeted audience. Our giveaway with HauteButch drew entries from around the nation – yes, that’s great traffic for us, but it is also a way to support a woman-owned, queer-owned business. And their business thriving is good for all of us.
Would I review just anything? No. Does it have to be LGBTQ related? No. I’m planning to review organic fair-trade coffee in a few weeks because I like coffee. A lot. Do I need to receive a freebie or trial to write a review? Not at all. I’ve recently reviewed Verde Mexican Cantina (ok, they did give me a free dessert but I didn’t expect that) and a book, Vinegar Fridays.
However, there is a niche to review LGBTQ owned businesses and items and events. When I browse other blogs, I rarely if ever see that statement. And that’s a shame. We don’t need to purchase rainbow Pride stickers to support our community. We can dine at their restaurants and shop their online stores and buy their books. We can attend their concerts and order flowers and – even – try their coffee.
Just like everyone else.