“I am proof that good things come to those who wait.” -Elizabeth Flora Ross
Elizabeth is a wife, mom, writer & blogger; with a life magnified by her passions. Although her tale is still unwrapping, much can be learned from her love for life and people.
You can visit her online at her blog.
What was your first experience with the Internet & blogging?
Ha! Well, you’re interviewing an old lady here. So the Internet I first had experiences with was nothing like what we know today. Basically it was email to start out with. Then you began seeing “www” everywhere, but no one really got what that was. I remember being in business, and companies started to feel like they had to have a presence on the “Worldwide Web,” but had no idea what that meant or how to go about it. The learning curve was great. And if you were to look at some of those early websites, you would laugh heartily. Or be mortified.
As far as blogging goes, I did not understand it for the longest time. But, people who know told me I needed to jump out there for my writing career. So I slowly and reluctantly dipped my toes in the water. And to my great surprise, I loved it! I’ve gotten more out of it than I ever could have imagined.
What’s your background in marketing & communications? How has this translated to the “blogging” scene?
You know, this question makes me chuckle, because when I first started blogging, I floundered all over the place. My background did little to help me. It wasn’t until I started to connect with some successful bloggers that I got a clue and was able to make real progress. It was a strange new world for me, and I’m still learning.
Before I had my daughter, I spent over 15 years in business as a communications and marketing professional. Worked for some major Fortune 500 companies. But the companies I was with weren’t particularly progressive when it came to online marketing, so I’m not sure my experience there helps me much with my own efforts now.
How do you share with others your passions through writing?
Connecting with other writers has been one of my favorite things about social media and blogging. I can’t think of any other way I would be able to “meet” so many people I can learn from. It’s fantastic. I have joined virtual writing groups online, participated in forums and chats and writing prompts, and basically done everything I can to support others who share my craft. It’s a wonderful community.
What’s the best way to improve writing skills?
It’s been said a gazillion times, but it is true. Write a little bit every day. You can’t get better if you’re not practicing. True of any craft. Also, share your work with others for feedback. The insight you get is invaluable. You can’t write in a bubble. Sooner or later, you have to get your work out there. Doing so has helped me improve my writing greatly. Find people who have skills you’d like to emulate, and then pick their brains.
How will blogging and social media change most this year?
Authenticity is key. People recognize it and will be drawn to you for it. Try to be something you’re not, and you will fall short.
Like I’m an expert? LOL I think they will continue to grow and grow. The challenge for those of us out here is to be able make our mark amidst so many talented (and, let’s be honest, not so talented) people. I believe the way to do that is to find your niche, have a focus, and be real. Authenticity is key. People recognize it and will be drawn to you for it. Try to be something you’re not, and you will fall short. Go for the hard sales pitch, and people will see right through you and run away.
I think, too, we will see more efforts to monetize. I’m still trying to figure out how the heck Twitter makes any profit. There are a lot of opportunities out there for bloggers now, too. Companies have come to recognize the power of blogging, and those looking to earn an income through it should be successful.
What are your favorite tools; as a writer, blogger and marketer?
Hootsuite is my personal favorite. There are a lot of sites/services out there that help you manage your online presence, but I find Hootsuite to be easy to understand and use. It’s a great tool! You can manage all social media sites in one place, schedule posts/updates, and create lists/columns. AND, it has a feature called Hootlet. With one click, you can share a website/page using a shortened link. I do that all the time!
What’s your favorite part about being a Mother?
Oh gosh, I can’t pick just one thing! But I’ll try. I guess my favorite part is watching the life my husband and I created together growing and becoming her own little person. It’s fascinating! Our daughter just turned two, and she is changing at warp speed now. She’s learning so much. Developing a very distinct personality. Seeing that happen firsthand as a stay at home mom and being her main influence at this critical point in her life are wonderful gifts.
The experiences in life are many. Which have helped you grow most?
The tough ones. Taught me valuable lessons. And the ones that pushed me out of my comfort zone. Nobody grows from staying in the lines.
Tell us a little about your new book.
The impetus for my book was the decision I made to stay home with my daughter. I grew up during the 70s and 80s, and staying home was the last thing I ever envisioned wanting to do. It was life changing, and so I decided to explore how women make this decision and how they feel about it. Also, since this is an issue that causes a lot of tension between women, I wanted to explore the phenomenon known as the Mommy Wars and work to bring an end to it.
What advice would you give to new bloggers?
Make sure you know who your audience is, and remember that it’s not all about you and your goals. Your readers should take something away from your posts. And, they want to get to know you. Again, it comes back to being authentic. Make meaningful connections. Don’t just get out there and promote yourself, your site, your product, etc.
Building an audience does not happen overnight. There are ways out there to amass large numbers of followers in a short time, but the payoff will not be as great in the long run.
Recognize that the above takes time. Building an audience does not happen overnight. There are ways out there to amass large numbers of followers in a short time, but the payoff will not be as great in the long run. I’ve been working at it for months now, and have recently started to see it all come together.
Learn how each of the social media sites work and use them properly. They are very different. One approach does not work for all. I hate it when people don’t get that Twitter and Facebook are totally different, for example.
Have a focus, but be flexible. When I started out, I swore I was not going to be a Mommy Blogger. But you know what? Moms are the target audience for my book. If I want to build a platform and get published, I have to reach out to them. And because I made that shift, I have met so many fabulous people. I have developed a strong support system that helps me get through each and every day.
How do you want to be remembered in this life?
I fear anything I say here is going to sound cheesy! But here goes… I’d like to be remembered as someone who is honest and sincere. A good mom. A good wife. A good friend. Works to use my talents for good. Makes a contribution to the world and our society. Nothing major.
I have been writing professionally and personally for close to 20 years. As a communications and marketing professional from 1993-2009, I wrote for some of the biggest names in business.
I self-published my first book, Making Friends with Pain: Learning to Live Well with Chronic Illness, in 1999. From 2003-2006, I wrote a web column for the Florida Times Union. In 2005-2006, I wrote for Jacksonville Magazine as a freelance writer.