1. What do you do for a living (company you work for, official title, daily responsibilities, etc.)?
In May I became an independent writer/consultant. My most recent position was director of integrated communications at Elizabethtown College, and I was there for five years. Prior to that, I worked for eCommerce company Solid Cactus, first in sales then in the corporate marketing department. I also worked in radio for a number of years.
2. Can you tell us a little more about the beginnings of your blog, when/why did you start it and what have been your biggest ah-ha moments?
I had many iterations of my blog/blogs. I first had a Blogger blog, then switched to WordPress; I think my first blog was in the early 2000s. (I made updates about myself on my old Geocities page, so I was blogging before there was a term for it!) But for official blogs, I began with Daily Dose o’ Donna which featured my observations of daily life. Then, as I wanted to get more professional, I started to blog about industry-related things at my main website. I also had several random blog ideas, for which I bought domain names but later abandoned the project. So my aha moment was really that I should focus on one blog for personal branding purposes, and that I could find other venues for my life observations.
3. Where do you pull your inspiration from (in relation to your blog)?
I look to industry trends to comment on or add my own spin to, but, most often, but blog posts deal with something that happened to me professionally (like a recap), or a discovery I made that I want to share with others.
4. What (offline) hobbies do you like to do in your spare time?
I love road trips, visiting national parks and quirky roadside attractions, reading and word games.
5. If your blog was an animal, what animal would it be?
I’m not saying this because it’s BlogCon’s logo, but a squirrel. Why? As my blog became more of a professional outlet and as search engines made it easier to find people and things and as social media became more prevalent (meaning things were being shared more often in more places), I went and buried (hid!) lots of older, way older, posts. So I have a nice cache of posts hidden in the blogosphere’s underground.
6. Briefly describe your session “Words. Words. Words.” for us.
In the blogging and Internet marketing world, we talk about content. A LOT. But what about the actual words? This session is all about finessing your wordsmith skills, no matter what the medium. In this practical, interactive session, we’ll cover, among other things:
Why brevity rules – how you can make that academic report of a webpage into a lively, user-geared paragraph. And how you can turn that stuffy paragraph into a compelling sentence.
How re-purposing works – re-purposing content is key to efficient web/marketing operations, especially when you’re short staffed. But re-purposing does not mean slapping up a PDF onto a web page. You’ll leave this session with tips on how to effectively tweak existing content to fit various mediums.
How to add sizzle to your sentences – OK. So you weren’t an English major. You might not recall the terms, but you know when a headline is catchy or a story is compelling—we’ll look at the actual language and explore why that writing sounds so darn good. We will explore some tried and true literary elements and journalistic techniques that make content pop—repetition, alliteration, those sorts of things. Finally, we’ll talk about those sensory details that connect people to content.
In all, this session will help you, no matter what your skill level, become a better writer and self-editor for any medium.