Q & A with Irish Fireside

Q & A with Corey Taratuta, co-host of the Irish Fireside podcast and blog.

What inspired you to start Irish Fireside?
Liam and I own a cottage in Ireland and have been traveling there for many years. The podcast was originally intended to be a way to share info with people we knew. We quickly learned that iTunes made it possible to reach a much broader audience.

How do you feel the blogging world is expanding and evolving to be seen as a credible source of information?
Blogs and podcasts no longer require a lot of technical knowledge for the content creators and the content consumers. In my first year, I spent a significant amount of my correspondence with listeners/readers troubleshooting problems with their browsers and podreaders and how to subscribe to RSS feeds.

In some cases, internet users don’t differentiate between a personal blog, a journalism/news source, an official source, etc. They see it as information and weigh it based on how well it fulfills their needs. As a result, strong content tends to hold its own.

Where do you get your inspiration for the blogs and podcasts?
Much of our inspiration comes from news items, listener feedback, and destinations that interest us personally.

What makes your blog different from traditional travel/location blogs?
We focus on Irish travel and culture. We get a high level of reader/listener interaction which allows us to feature a lot of content submissions from our fans.

How important is it to experience a place before writing about it?
To be taken seriously, it is critical. I would never retweet or give a Facebook mention to a post that appears to be written by someone who isn’t credible. It seems that most bloggers who do this are writing specifically for Search Engine Optimization, to generate ad revenue, or to restate information that can be found elsewhere… that type of writing is not of value to my audience.

On the flipside, we take submissions from people who haven’t been to Ireland, but they are writing firsthand accounts about their Irish heritage or their dream trip to Ireland.

How long have you been working on Irish Fireside and do you have any plans or developments for the future of the blog and/or podcasts?
We started the podcast and blog in 2006. We are currently working on some e-books and downloadable content that we intend to sell online.

How has being involved in creating this blog changed or evolved your career focus, plans, or passions?
Having experience in building an online community stands out on my resume and has given me an edge over other candidates. The blog/podcast also brings in a small amount of sponsorships which have offset the costs of internet hosting and travel. It has also established me as an “expert” in Irish travel; as a result, I have built relationships and been offered opportunities that would not have been possible without the Irish Fireside.

When I know I’ll be creating something for the blog or podcast, I tend to go outside my comfort zone more than if I was doing it as a personal endeavor. For example, I ask more questions, use my video and still camera more and make a greater effort to talk to more people (not always an easy task for me).

Check out the Irish Fireside blog, follow it at @IrishFireside, and become a fan on the Facebook Fan Page.

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