Sam Grant, creator of The Wee White Dug, talks about building her blog, promoting Scottish tourism, and Casper, the fearless, cheeky Westie who made it possible.
How did the idea of Scotland with the Wee White Dug come about?
The blog is a spin-off of my Instagram feed @bean_nighe. I started the feed in 2011 and once I found my niche, it became a Scottish travel feed, with the odd foreign trip thrown in for a bit of variety.
When Casper joined the family towards the end of 2012, I started sharing photos of him on our travels. The photos were always a hit. The blog followed, so I could expand on the information I was sharing about the places we visited. Then, came Casper’s Instagram feed @theweewhitedug, which quickly overtook mine in terms of popularity. I then expanded further with a Twitter feed @theweewhitedug and Facebook page ‘Scotland with the Wee White Dug’. Each platform attracts a slightly different audience and helps me to reach a wide range of people.
How long have you been writing the blog and when did you start?
I published my first blog in December 2015.
How much has your following grown since you started?
It’s grown at an incredible rate, which still takes me by surprise. I’ve built a following of 137,000+ followers from scratch and it amazes me that so many people are willing to engage with my words and photos. It’s very humbling and a wee bit surreal.
Tell us about your relationships with Scottish companies.
I’ve met so many lovely people through my blog, ranging from those working in events, accommodation, visitor attractions and brands. It’s given me a great insight into the Scottish hospitality industry. I’ve made a lot of strong working relationships and there are some businesses I’ve worked with on a number of occasions over the years. Meeting the people who make Scotland a world class visitor destination is one of the things I love most about what I do.
What impact do you think your blog has had on people wanting to visit Scotland?
I often hear from people who say my blog had inspired them to visit Scotland, or one of the places I’ve featured in a post. I also hear a lot, about how the blog has helped people to plan their itinerary for a visit to Scotland. I think that’s great. I do what I do, because I love Scotland and travelling around the country, but it’s lovely to know my passion rubs off on other people too.
Tell us about your Westie.
Casper aka The Wee White Dug is a typical Westie – he’s stubborn, fearless, loud, loyal and loving. He has a really cheeky personality and had brought so much fun and laughter into our lives. He’s a hardy wee soul too, who loves nothing more than a day spent in the hills.
Has the vision of your blog changed as it’s grown more popular?
The vision of my blog has remained consistent throughout. It’s always been about showcasing Scotland as a wonderful visitor destination and sharing information about the history, language, customs and myths of Scotland. Back in the early days my travel was all self-funded and we went wherever we fancied. Now, the majority of my travel in Scotland is on assignment for the blog. The businesses who work with me, have fully bought into my travelogue style of writing. I’ll never share a blog that focuses solely on a hotel or self-catering property. It’s always about the accommodation and what there is to see and do in the local area. That’s always how I’ve written my blog and is what drew my followers to it in the first place. It’s a tried and tested formula that works.
I do love the unknown element of our travels these days. I never know where our next trip will be and that excites me. I could be sitting at home in Edinburgh one day and in Caithness the next.
How often does your blog come out? Where can people find it?
I usually publish a new blog fortnightly, but that can vary depending on how busy we are on our travels. The blog can be found at www.theweewhitedug.com