We’d like to introduce you to another set of Publishers we feel exemplify quality content, and a passion for Social Media. Enjoy getting to know these Community Members!
1. What originally attracted you to the IZEA Community, and how did you find out about it? Several months ago, I became “PR friendly.” But to me, that doesn’t mean, “Let companies walk all over me,” or, “offer free advertising to anyone who offers me a sample worth $5.” Let’s face it. My time is valuable, and my readers trust me to also value their time. So I write about things I’m actually interested in and think they might be interested in. I write honest reviews of products that may (or may not, as the case may be) fit into my Joyful Abode, and host giveaways so they may also directly benefit. And I expect worthwhile compensation for my time, thoughtful opinions, engaging writing, and for my readers’ attention. IZEA gives me all of that, the flexibility to say no or to negotiate payment, and respects me as a writer and as a person.
I’m so thankful to my Twitter friend who told me about Social Spark, and told me, “I’ve seen the building and they’re legit.” I may not have seen the building, but my email correspondence with Anthony, Crystal, Veronique, Rhia, Ashley, and the rest of the IZEA staff tells me that not only are they legit, they’re also genuine.
2. Why “Joyful Abode”? I started my blog as a place to document my “trials and errors into the domestic domain.” When I began to think of a URL and blog title, I knew I wanted something that would grow with me as I learned new skills, dabbled in different crafts, got married, and established a family. It also needed to express my attitude that no matter where you are (since moving frequently is such a huge aspect of my life as a Navy wife), you can create a happy household with a positive outlook. “Joyful Abode” was perfect, and it is where I talk about all the tiny components that make up my happy home.
3. What inspires you to blog? I think this is definitely covered in the answer above!
4. What’s been your favorite SocialSpark campaign? I have to tell you, I LOVED the Pier One Holiday Décor Review. I’m a huge fan of Pier One, and it was so much fun to make the hike (an hour away) to the store with my family, look at all the awesome holiday décor, tweet some photos of too-cute stuff (elephant measuring cups, sparkly octopus ornaments), then come home and write about the goodies I bought.
5. What do you most enjoy about SocialSpark v2? I really can’t speak to the differences between Social Spark v1 and Social Spark v2 because I became a member during the transition. I really like the organized dashboard, how easy it is to accept or decline leads (or negotiate), and the fact that it only takes a second to make a withdrawal from my “points.” But the thing I love the most is those personal emails I find in my inbox from the folks at IZEA.
6. Being a somewhat new wife and mother, you must not have much free time. How do you manage to balance that along with blogging? I used to try to be far more regimented about posting frequently, making sure no category was TOO neglected, editing photos so that they were perfect, and weighing each word carefully before clicking “publish.” During pregnancy, I was often exhausted and nauseated, and published a lot of posts from my phone, full of grainy photos and iPhone-induced typos. My readers didn’t care; they still followed along, commenting and sharing their stories. It was a period of time that taught me flexibility is key, and to toss perfectionism out the window.
I take photos throughout the day and often think of ideas for blog posts or recipes that I’d like to share. Sometimes I jot them down, and other times I forget. Of the ones I make note of, some never make it to my blog. I tend to keep it organic and after a while, if I haven’t finished a draft, I delete it without much guilt.
Lately it seems as though a lot of my blogging time is in the evening after my baby goes to bed. She generally falls asleep several hours before my “bedtime,” which leaves time for my husband to study or prepare for a flight, for me to blog, both of us to iron, fold laundry, or whatever, often while watching an episode of Bones, House, or 30 Rock. Some serious multi-tasking goes on in the evenings when she is asleep, but we keep it laid-back.
7. You have over 8,000 Followers on Twitter. How do you make it easy to stay connected with that many people? Twitter got a lot more fun when I started having conversations (note: if you never type an @, or if you never RT, you’re doing it wrong), but for a little while it overwhelmed me. I would open the Echofon app on my phone and try to catch up on EVERYthing I had missed. After I started following a few hundred people, I realized that was ridiculous.
Now I use TweetDeck, and it only shows me the last 20 minutes or so, which makes Twitter so much more manageable (I think it will show you more time if you have fewer people you follow). I have columns for certain hashtags I follow, a list of people who are great conversationalists, and a very small list of my twitterBFFs. Those are the ones I skim and reply to (besides replying to mentions and DMs), and if I get bored or have more time – like if Anneliese is having a marathon nursing session – I’ll glance through the “All Friends” column and see if anything interesting or worthwhile is going on, and start more conversations there.
8. Complete this thought: If I could I would ____. Live abroad. And with a husband in the Navy, it’s very possible that we might someday! I have a lot of girlfriends who have lived in Japan, and every one of them has loved it. I’ve only done a little bit of international travel, but my favorite parts weren’t the tourist attractions; I loved meeting the local people, shopping in dumpy convenience stores and open-air markets, and getting to know the culture and customs. If I lived in another country, it would be like that, multiplied by 1000.
9. My favorite word right now is ____. Ridiculous. I probably tweet “ridiculous” about 20 times a day.
10. What advice do you have on helping other bloggers market and brand themselves? Be yourself. If you try to be anyone else, you might keep up the façade for a while, but eventually you’ll burn out. Write about what you know, and be up front about what you don’t know. Ask questions. Share your opinions, experiences, lessons learned, and mistakes. Once people get to know you, you’ll find they recognize your “brand.” If you’re witty, let your quick tongue shine. If you’re more thoughtful, write pensive posts. If you’re sarcastic, your readers will love your facetiousness. You’ll attract the audience that is perfect for YOUR blog, if you’re genuine. If you fake it, you’ll end up hating blogging because you’ll be trying to cater to a readership that doesn’t mesh with you.
An example of branding:
11. What’s one word of advice you’d give to bloggers who are looking to increase the quality of their content? Write. Have you heard of the 10,000 hour rule? Psychologist Anders Ericsson found that the most successful and talented violinists were the ones who spent the most time practicing and playing. The idea is that you don’t have to be born a prodigy, guru, or expert, but that if you put in the time, you’ll get there.
So to become one of the most excellent writers in 10 years, you’ll need to put in a thousand hours a year. That’s roughly 4 hours per weekday, if you take a couple days off. I definitely don’t spend 4 hours each day writing, so I know it will take me much longer than 10 years to earn my 10,000 hour badge. But I’ve got almost 4 years under my belt at Joyful Abode (and longer if you add in my previous website), so I’m surely on my way.
And even if you’ve only been writing for a week, you’re on your way too.
Just keep writing.
Emily’s blog can be found here.
2. What has been one of your favorite campaigns to participate in? ZenniOptical. Having a place to buy affordable RX glasses is a must for frugal families
3. What do you love most about Twitter? Being able to connect with others quickly, meaningfully. Its easy to grow followers and reach a wider audience. I’ve been able to connect with “brands” who want to work with me!
4. Finish this: Without Twitter I would____. “not be where I am today.”
5. How do you get creative with your Tweets? Being limited to 140 characters means I have to abbreviate, use #s and omit spaces
6. What do you do to market yourself, and get new Followers? Network, offer following me on Twitter as a giveaway entry or Tweeting about my giveaway as an entry, utilizing #FF (Follow Friday!).
7. Any advice to other Tweeters on how to get more Sponsored Tweets Opportunities? Grow your following and take advantage of the pay per click opportunities. You don’t make as much money but at least you’re active.
8. A Tweet a Day___. “keeps me in the play!”
9. What’s your favorite bird (tweet, tweet!)? Don’t have a favorite. But I think the Grey Titmouse is beautiful! Looks kind of like a young Cardinal, but grey instead of red.
Follow Tracy’s Tweets at @tzdelar.
2. What device do you claim rewards from? The iPhone 4, iOS 4.2.1.
3. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you hear WeReward? Get paid!
4. Where have you checked-in the most? Probably a tie between Target and Starbucks.
5. What’s been your favorite WeReward reward claim so far? All the promotional check-ins have been my favorite (i.e. Chili’s 1,000-point check-in, Reese’s Halloween Costume promotion, etc.)
6. What other mobile social applications do you actively use? Foursquare!
7. Sky’s the limit – what company would you love to see using WeReward? Banana Republic/Gap/Old Navy, H&M, Express, Century Theatres.
8. Tell one thing about yourself nobody knows. I keep extra sets of clothes slightly larger than what I normally wear in case my weight fluctuates UP! Haha!
9. If Chops were to have a girlfriend, what would you name her? Chop-sui!
10. Most importantly, what’s your favorite way to eat bacon? Cooked and crispy! With ranch dressing and onion rings =)
11. Have you purchased anything interesting with the money you’ve earned from WeReward? Nah–just more groceries!
12. Finish this: …SMILE! (We like that answer!)