The cigar industry has embraced cigar bloggers, tweeters, etc. like no other. There are a couple of reasons for this. First, many cigar makers are small family owned companies with limited advertising budgets. And second, government regulations have restricted the advertising and marketing alternatives for all tobacco companies. With even more regulations expected to come in the future, the cigar industry's love affair with its online fan base will only continue to expand.
Since it costs nothing to start a blog or open a Twitter account, there are virtually no barriers to prevent anyone of legal age from becoming an "official" member of the cigar social media. If you enjoy smoking cigars and then writing about the experience, maybe you should start puffing and tweeting away, today. You will not be paid a salary per se, but there are benefits.
As an established member of the cigar social media, you are no longer considered to be just a mere member of the general public. Cigar companies may seek you out to help spread the good word about their products. Want complimentary cigars, free admission to cigar events, fame, fortune, etc.??? Nothing is stopping you. The online infrastructure is already in place, and all you have to do is write about cigars and post online to your free account. Sound too good to be true? Well, I did leave out a couple of minor points.
First of all, you have to be a decent writer who can express ideas that will engage other cigar smokers. At least several times per week, plan to post new and original material about cigars, accessories, events, and anything relating to cigars. In addition, you should reach out and interact with other bloggers and tweeters, many of whom are cigar makers and retailers. Eventually, you will develop a following that cigar companies will notice. It is at this point where a few free samples for you to review might start to come your way. Most of the amateurs in the cigar social media do not advance beyond this point, and consider their involvement to be a hobby, and not a part time business. However, a few elite bloggers have parlayed their talents into their own virtual companies. Although anyone can register a domain name for about $10 per year, starting a legitimate business also involves legal, tax, accounting, and other matters that are beyond the scope of this article. If you have the talent to take it to the next level, then don't let all that red tape stop you, but do consult with a professional and do it right. If all this sounds too complicated, you could also "turn pro" by getting a traditional job with an established media company that covers cigars.
And last but not least, your reputation as a member of the cigar social media not only depends on your talents and abilities, but also on your ethics. Respect the copyrights of others, and do not accept valuable consideration from companies whose products you review. Getting a few sample cigars or gaining access to a cigar event are not considered bribes that would influence a blogger's judgment, but by accepting anything of greater value, you risk having your credibility questioned by your readers. Avoid any actual or appearance of impropriety. See about.com's ethics policy for a good example of how to avoid conflicts of interest.