Kimberly Vetrano SheScribes An Interview
Kimberly is a writer who also has a blog. When you read her posts you can tell that she is an author. Her review posts are written in her voice and include information that is important to those who read them. She supplies information that answers questions and that is why readers are drawn to her blog.
Tell me about your Blog?
My blog is called She Scribes. Years ago I had an idea of creating a web site that would feature articles by women writers. I wanted to give writers such as myself a place to gain exposure and showcase their writing. Since I wanted to help promote women (sorry guys) I thought having “She” in the title would be interesting. A friend of mine came up with the words “Scribes”. A scribe is someone who writes. I put them together and She Scribes was born. Sadly my web site idea never panned out. Since I owned the domain www.SheScribes.com I figured that some day I would find something to do with it.
I have a home business (www.Everyday-occasions.com). Other business people have told me that blogging was a great way to market and promote your business. So I created a blog for my business. It was a boring! I honestly couldn’t think of stuff to write about to promote my very own business. But what I did find is that l loved blogging. So I decided to start another blog. Since I owned the domain www.SheScribes.com I figured that was the ideal name to use.
I am a mother, wife, business owner, freelance writer and photographer and a mini-zoo keep (I have four cats and a dog). I blog about my life in general, current events and whatever is on my mind. I also love to laugh and post funny pictures or videos when I stumble across them.
I love doing reviews. I actually think they are fun. It’s a great way to learn about products and services I might not otherwise ever know about. My readers love it when I host giveaways. Do you blame them? Who wouldn’t want to opportunity to win some fun stuff.
My tag line is “A little bit of this and a little bit of that“. That is because I really don’t blog about just one type of thing. I blog about everything and anything. I mix it up a lot so you never know from one day to the next what I am going to blog about. Some days I might just post once. Other days I might post five times or more. Every day is a surprise with me and my blog.
What was your first blog?
My business blog was my first blog but that only lasted a month. She Scribes is my first REAL blog. I created two other blogs after I started She Scribes but I quickly lost interest in them. One was a blog I created to share digital scrapbook graphics I created. The other blog I used to “showcase” articles that I have written over the years. The other blogs, even combined, never could compare to She Scribes. She Scribes is my passion. My blog means the world to me and I work very hard at it on a daily basis.
What is the biggest tip you would give to product reviewers?
BE HONEST! I know that it’s hard to point out the negatives of a product or service. Most people will only write about the positives and skip over the negatives because they worry that the sponsor won’t want to work with you ever again if you say anything bad about a product. I felt that way too in the beginning. I was so worried that I would say something that would be seen as negative and that the company would write me off.
When I first started doing reviews I received a toy to do a review on. I found about a six flaws with the product. Out of courtesy I contacted the sponsor ahead of time and told them that I honestly felt that the toy was not worth purchasing unless improvements were made. I was shocked when she told me to post it anyway. That is when it hit me, regardless of what a sponsor thinks I needed to post the good, the bad and the ugly about a product or service. That is what reviews are all about – giving others your HONEST opinion.
If a sponsor opts not to work with you ever again because you posted a negative review about a product then you should look at it as THEIR LOSS, not yours. You were being honest and doing the review like you were supposed to. If a sponsor can’t handle honest feedback then you shouldn’t work with them anyway.Are you contacted by advertisers or do you contact them or both?
I would have to say that 75% of the pitches come to me (I pitch to companies about 25% of the time, give or take). I usually received several e-mails a day from companies and pubic relations firms promoting their products and services (pitches). I consider each pitch. I do take my reader demographics to heart. I know about my readers (age, employment, children…) so I try and work with companies that have something my readers would be interested in. I wouldn’t want to post about air compressors since my readers would have no interest in something like that.
I try and contact companies that I think has a product or service that would be most interesting to my readers, as well as myself.
I still have a hard time making pitches. I tend to write too much (can’t you tell?) so making pitches “short and sweet” is still a challenge for me. I want to come across as authentic and professional but I tend to write as if I am talking to someone which I worry is not professional enough. What is your favorite product that you have reviewed?
Do I have to give you ONE? I love my Keurig, Tassimo, Casio Camera, DXG Video Camera and Vado. One of the very first products I reviewed was a salt lamp. I love that lamp! I turn it on every day. I love how it looks. It’s so cool! To be honest with you I enjoy doing reviews. Very rarely have I reviewed something that I was not overly keen on.
What do advertisers do that you wish they wouldn’t/ do that you like?
I really wish that companies would take the time to read my blog to get an idea of the types of things I write about before sending a pitch. Sadly I get many pitches for products and services that clearly do not fit my blog. I totally understand that it’s easier and less time consuming to send out mass pitches, but I think you should also take a few minutes and look over a site to see if what you are pitching would be a good fit.
I also wish companies would understand that most bloggers don’t sit at their computer 24/7. We all have lives, families, jobs, businesses and so forth. If you have a deadline that you need something posted by you really need to communicate that up front so that the blogger can make allowances for that. Otherwise you need to understand that sometimes “life” prevents people from getting things posted right away. I make an honest effort to get things posted as soon as I can but sometimes life prevents me from doing so. It DOESN’T make me a “bad blogger”. It just means that people need to be more understanding and flexible.
What I really like is when companies take the time to get to know me as a person. I am on very friendly terms with several PR people and I am more then happy to work with them on just about anything because I value and appreciate our relationship. I’m not saying companies have to have a personal relationship with every bloggers, but it does help when you have a friendly rapport.
I love it when companies send me pitches that start off with something like “Hello Kimberly. How are you doing today?” rather then the generic form letter pitches where they just insert your name. I also love “out of the box” thinking. I love it when companies want to get creative with a campaign and make it fun for people.What do bloggers do that you wish they wouldn’t/do that you like?
Oh the drama! I truly dislike it when bloggers turn into major “Drama Queens”. Or worse yet, bloggers who are jealous of other bloggers and turn around and make up rumors and bad mouth people. I have seen a few bloggers who were hell bent on destroying other bloggers and I think that is totally ridiculous. There is MORE then enough room on the Internet for everyone. Everyone bring something different to the blogging world.
What I really like about the bloggers that I know is that many of them are very helpful and more the happy to help other bloggers. Whether it be help with HTML issues, doing guest posts when a blogger is away on vacation, or being there for each other to celebrate the good stuff and to be there to pick you up when you hit hard times.What advertiser would you like to work with given a chance?
I would love to work with Disney. Disney looks like it would be fun to work with. I’m a freelance photographer so working with a camera company would be interesting. I would also love to work with computer companies. I enjoy working with technology and gadgets that help make life easier.
I know it sounds odd but I would love to interview more people. I was given the opportunity to interview Kenny Loggins for my blog. It was an amazing experience! Although I have a lot to learn when it comes to interviewing (especially getting over being a nervous wreck!), I would LOVE to do more interviews with celebrities and popular sports players. If anyone from the Dallas Cowboys franchise would like to give an interview I’m your woman. Ha Ha.Where do you see growth in the blogging field?
I think that there is going to be a huge growth over all. I think more and more companies are going to see the value of bloggers and “word of mouth” advertising. I think working with bloggers is more effective then spending money on a newspaper or magazine ad that most people won’t look at or glance over. You can reach more people with quality content then with an ad (in my opinion anyway). For example, I usually pay no mind to ads in magazines or newspapers. I do however read several blogs on a daily basis and I put more value in what other bloggers say about a product then I do from an ad.
I truly believe that working with bloggers is going to be a top priority for many companies because they are begining to appreciate the influence that we have in our communities an on the Internet.
What is one thing about you that not many people know?
When I was in college I interned for a year as a “Peer Counselor” at a maximum security all-male prison in upstate New York. I grew up as a sheltered “country bumpkin” and working in the prison opened my eyes up to the world around me. I had the most amazing mentor who taught me so much about the criminal mind and how the prison system works. I ran a Domestic Violence group and taught “Safe Sex” practices to inmates. Interesting does not begin to describe the year I spent as an intern there.
I asked my husband how I should answer this question and he insisted that I answer that I have a way with words. He says he is always amazed how I can just write about anything and everything. A joke between us is that I could write a 1,000 word piece on “toilet paper” if the mood strikes.
My husband also thinks I should have been a lawyer. He says I am full of questions. Even after someone answers a question I have I still have a dozen more to ask.
I’m also going to be on a box of Honey Nut Cheerios coming out late January/early February. I was part of a blogging campaign to help fight hunger. The cereal will be available at Shop Rite stores in the North East. I’m very excited about this.
What’s your favorite book?
This is a tough one. I have many. I’m “addicted” to books. I think my book collection could rival that of our local library. Ha Ha. Some that come to mind are Tuesdays with Morrie, The Last Lecture and Success Principals. I like to read stories about true crime, biographies, non-fiction and comics. I have every Calvin and Hobbes book every published. I even kept about two dozen of my favorite books from when I was a child. I have a lot of books about serial killers and ghost stories too.
What is on your iPod?
I just got an iPod! It’s a hand-me-down from my son. Grandpa bought the kids iPod Nanos so I took my son’s iPod Shuffle since he has no use for it. Right now his music is still on it (Seether, Good Charlotte, Daughtry, Nickelback…). I might keep some of his music like Daughtry and Nickelback but I’m certainly getting rid of the rap stuff. I’m not into that. I enjoy a variety of music. My husband gave me the Three Tenors for Christmas to replace a CD I misplaced. I also plan on putting on Metallica, some 80’s stuff, and the soundtrack to a Sound of Music. I have a very eclectic taste in music. I can listen to opera one minute and then heavy metal the next, followed by dance music.
What are your contact details?
Since I work from home I’m almost always available via e-mail. My e-mail address is SheScribes@(nospam)Optonline.net. (Remove the NoSpam) My blog, She Scribes, can be found at www.SheScribes.com.
I belong to many business and blog forums. One forum for business related topics I visit frequently is Mom Pack (www.MomPack.com). For blogging I am usually found at Mom Dot (www.MomDot.com).
I belong to a lot of Blogging groups such as Mom Select, One 2 One Network, My Blog Spark, Mom Central, Team Mom, Role Mommy, Family Review Network and several others.
What events do you attend?
I would LOVE to attend BlogHer this year in NYC. I live outside NYC so I don’t need airfare. I just need to come up with funds for the ticket and a room. I am hoping to find a sponsor or sponsors but that hasn’t happened yet. Thanks to MSG Entertainment I have been able to attend events at Madison Square Garden and Radio City Music Hall. Most recently I was invited to take a backstage tour of Radio City along with some other bloggers. They also gave us tickets to see the Christmas Spectacular in November. It was AMAZING! I’m STILL on “Cloud 9” when I think about. The American Museum of Natural History has invited me to see exhibits before they open to the public including a show at the Hayden Panetarium.
I was invited to two toy expos. One I couldn’t attend because my son was home sick that day and the most recent one I couldn’t attend because my husband had to work and I had no one to watch the kids. I’m determined to go to a toy expo! I would love to attend other expos too if the opportunity arrives. I would LOVE to attend more events. I think it’s great to network with other bloggers and companies.
How do you prefer to communicate?
E-mail. Definintley e-mail. I’m a “phone-o-phobic”. I avoid using the phone at all costs. I don’t know why. I used to be a long distance/international telephone operator/in-charge many years ago. You would think I would love being on the phone. The truth is I don’t. I don’t mind getting “snail mail” either. I love getting mail that is not marked in big red letters “Due Now” or “You could be a winner”. Ha Ha.Who would you recommend, and why?
I subscribe to AT LEAST 30+ blogs! No kidding. Some I subscribe via RSS reader and others I subscribe to via e-mail. There is no way I can post them all so I just picked some random ones. Before you even read the list I want to preface it by saying if I don’t have a favorite listed here it was for lack of room and nothing else. Each and every one of these blogs has something unique and special about them. Some make me think, others make me laugh. Some offer great reviews and giveaways and others make me feel like I’m talking to a good friend over a cup of tea.
What is one thing people can do for you?
Stop by my blog and say “Hello”. Leave me comments on my posts. I appreciate what others have to say, both positive and negative. If I wrote something that you think was wonderful I would love it if you let me know. If I wrote something that just didn’t go over too well, I appreciate knowing that too. Even though I have been blogging since 2008 it’s all still a learning experience.
If you are a company, why not take a chance on me? Get to know me. See if I’m a good fit for a campaign you are working on. I know I might not be a “big time blogger” like others, and I might not pull in thousands of unique visitors daily, but that doesn’t mean for one moment that I don’t have potential. Remember, even the big bloggers were little bloggers once too.
I would love to have more subscribers and followers. How is that for a plug for my site? I get excited when I see I have new subscribers and followers.
Thank you so much for this wonderful opportunity to introduce myself.