Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Blogger Interview: Ellen from Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Today I am going to try something new here at Book Tours and More. Author interviews aren't unusual, but I got to thinking that maybe I should be interviewing bloggers too. It will certainly help everyone find some great blogs to check out. In addition, many blogs run giveaways, so you could be saving money when you visit these blogs too.

Now, who else better to start with than Ellen from Confessions of an Overworked Mom, a blog I visit almost as often as my own. I've won some terrific stuff from the numerous giveaways Ellen runs each week. Let's get to know her and her blog better.

Our readers know I spend a great deal of time browsing your blog, Confessions of an Overworked Mom, for awesome giveaways. Why don’t you tell us how you got started in blogging?

I started blogging to chronicle our journey toward self-sufficiency. I began sharing great deals I found that helped us make it month to month and found that my readers really wanted to know more about the products we liked using and the great deals I found. The blog you see today sort of grew into what it is right now.

Your blog features many great products, but it must have been tough at first finding companies who would be willing to send you products. How did you go about it?

When I first started blogging, I shared information on products we had purchased that I really liked. My goal wasn't to have anyone send me anything. I just wanted to let other people know what our experiences were with products. I was totally flabbergasted the first time a company offered me something to review. Once I understood this was possible, I began searching for companies whose values matched my own to ask if they wanted me to promote their products.

Confessions of an Overworked Mom now has over 570 followers through Goggle Friends Connect. How did you gain such a large following?

I ask myself that all the time,LOL. I think people really like the contests I post and in order to enter the contests, they need to be followers. Honestly though, it's not all that many people in the world of mommy bloggers. I know several bloggers who have followers in excess of 3000 people. I'd love to reach that size.

Your blog also offers companies a place in your sidebar to advertise. What is the cost and why should a company choose Confessions of an Overworked Mom as their place in the blogosphere to advertise?

I have a few different reasons I put company info on my blog. Ads in the upper right hand corner of my blog are $5/month. For the most part these are companies that have approached me to place their ads. Ads in other places are generally companies that I have a long term relationship with as either an affiliate or simply because I love their products so much. Some are bartered for. Some are purchased. Some I just place for free. It really depends on the situation. I won't place an ad for a company I don't feel a good connection with.

As far as why companies should choose me, I get a lot of traffic from moms searching for contests to enter and great deals to take advantage of. I have a Google Page Rank of 4 and I work daily on making my blog a better place for people to visit. I think I offer good exposure opportunities for businesses looking for new customers.

In addition to book, product, and movie reviews, you frequently share more personal items at your blog: your weight loss goals, homesteading, your family life. What do you think these posts add to your blog? How have your readers responded to them?

Personally I like blogs that let me get to know the blogger as a whole person. I don't classify myself as simply a "review blog" because for me it's not all about reviews. Just about anyone can write a fluff piece promoting company X's products. I want to know when I read a review that the person who wrote it really does like the product. I can't know that if I don't know them as more than a reviewer. By sharing my life in general, I hope that I give people insight into who I am and what kinds of products I support. I won't review every product or book or DVD that's offered to me. I won't promote a company that I don't believe in. I think by sharing information on my life, I let people know that the products I write about really are what I say they are and I'm not just writing something positive because someone gave me a free widget.

You’re a busy wife and mother. In addition to blogging, you also hold down a job and run a homestead. How do you juggle your various roles?

I have no idea. Seriously. There are days I ask myself that a lot. I drink a lot of coffee. I multi-task constantly. I don't get a lot of sleep and I'm not the type of person who sits still easily. My goal is to not work outside the home, o I'd love to remove that one from my list but,for now it needs to stay there. Other than that, I really love what I do.

What are some of the great giveaways you are running right now?

I have a bunch of great giveaways going on right now including candles from Mountain Mama Kitchen Company, a Seventh Generation Starter Kit, sunglasses from Sunglass Warehouse & lots more. You can find all my contests here:


Do you have any tips for our readers who might be interested in starting their own product review blog?

Don't give up and don't try to be who you aren't. People can tell the difference between someone who writes from the heart and someone who is simply promoting the next product on their list. Go with what you love and products/companies that fit in with your lifestyle. If you honestly would never buy/support Company X then don't promote them on your blog. I'm all about honesty and transparency.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I'd like to invite your readers to also take a look at my fashion blog, The Socialite's Closet. It's my place to talk specifically about fashion including clothes, jewelry, perfume, etc. It's still small and I'd love it to grow!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Ellen. It was great to learn more about Confessions of an Overworked Mom and how it all started. We wish you continued success.

Thanks, Cheryl. I appreciate you having me!

Ellen is a 43 year old mother of two children, ages 12 (boy) and 17 (girl). She works part time outside of the home and runs several home based businesses. She lives in rural Vermont on a small, two acre homestead where she is passionate about eco-friendly and green living. She and her family care for gardens, a small orchard and a flock of ducks and chickens.

Her blogs include Confessions of an Overworked Mom where she focusses on living an eco friendly, gourmet life and products that support her goals and The Socialite's Closet where she writes about her love for designer fashions and products that appeal to her sense of style.


Ellen said...

Thanks so much for letting me stop by and visit your readers, Cheryl!

April said...

Great interview, Cheryl and Ellen!!! Ellen you have such a fabulous blog and I am amazed how you keep up with everything, lol!

Paul and Karen said...

Hi Ellen, I love your blog, too. Thanks for spending the time on it. Great interview, Cheryl!

Beverly Stowe McClure said...

What a neat idea to interview a blogger, Cheryl. I enjoyed reading your "confessions," Ellen, overworked mom. :)

Tribute Books said...

Ellen is one of my all-time favorite bloggers - I love the quote "our journey toward self-sufficiency" - something we should all strive for. Great interview!