Where Are They Now? #1: Making Sense Of Cents!

In effort to bring the best of the best in blogging to our readers, we are starting an interview series with Plutus Awards winners to highlight their efforts as well as share tips and tricks of theirs to the blogging community they serve. Since winning a Plutus Award takes a lot of hard work, these bloggers may share some insight that could inspire you to win your very own!

The first blogger we are highlighting today is Michelle from Making Sense Of Cents. (more…)

Combating ‘Oh-No-Not-Again Syndrome’

Former print journalist Donna Freedman has made a living as a writer for 30 years, the last eight of them online (for companies like MSN Money, Get Rich Slowly, Wise Bread, Money Talks News, H&R Block, Women & Co., Ally Bank and Experian). Recently she combined what she knows about the print and digital worlds to create an online course called Write A Blog People Will Read and to offer personal and professional blog coaching. Donna lives in a startling midlife romance in Anchorage, Alaska, and writes about money and midlife at DonnaFreedman.com.

df_sm_400x400What is an evergreen?

It’s the walking dead of story topics, i.e., one that you cannot escape and that will never, ever die. I spent 18 years as a newspaper reporter (Anchorage Daily News, Chicago Tribune) and certain articles had to be done every year – topics like holiday shopping, the Taste of Chicago, the Alaska State Fair, summer camps, the Fur Rendezvous, the beach scene along Lake Michigan, college applications, the king salmon run, “The Nutcracker” and the arrival of Permanent Fund Dividend checks.

How in the world do you make the state fair fresh? It’s the same damn giant cabbage every year! And – spoiler alert! – the Mouse King always gets vanquished. The only thing to be done was to find a new way to look at 100-pound crucifers or those cute kids in ballet shoes. Year after year, we did it.

Before the digital era, how did publishers use evergreens?

Certain topics needed annual coverage for three reasons: (more…)

FinCon Keynote Speaker Carl Richards Discusses Publishing and Art

Carl Richards was my guest on the latest episode of the Consumerism Commentary Podcast today. (Subscribe to the podcast here.)

Carl Richards is a columnist for The New York Times and the author of The Behavior Gap and his latest book, The One-Page Financial Plan. Carl will also be a keynote speaker at the FinCon Expo in Charlotte, North Carolina in September 2015.

Carl Richards

In our discussion, recorded recently, we discuss topics from Carl’s latest book. Carl and I also talk about his experiences as an independent writer getting an opportunity to write for the New York Times and getting a call from Penguin Books. What can bloggers do if they want to take the traditional publishing route, and what happens next?

Other topics include Carl’s sketch art and experiences in gallery exhibitions, and at the end of the episode, listeners will hear a preview of Carl’s planned keynote address at FinCon. (more…)

The Centsible Life: Expanding Your Blog to Work With Brands

Kelly Whalen is a writer, consultant, and “debt slayer” living in the suburbs of Philadelphia with my four spirited kids, fluffy dog, and superhero husband. She blogs at The Centsible Life, a website devoted to the helping readers live the life of their dreams on a budget, and the winner of the Third Annual Plutus Award for Best Frugality-Focused Personal Finance Blog.


Why did you create The Centsible Life?

I created The Centsible Life to share the money advice and information I was sharing with friends and family on my own journey to get out of debt. As a stay at home parent at the time it was a creative outlet for me, too.

What is a brand ambassador and what does he or she do? Are there any differences between being a brand ambassador and working with a sponsor within a sponsored posts campaign?

A brand ambassador is hired by a company to personalize the brand’s message and represent the brand. The brand also sees value in connecting with the audience the ambassador has built, whether that’s on a blog or social media platform.

As far as expectations for ambassadors, roles vary greatly. Generally, there is a component of representing the brand beyond just writing about it. An ambassador may attend events on behalf of the brand, speak on their behalf, film videos or commercials, or appear in advertising for the brand.

How can publishers move beyond the “low hanging fruit” of the endless pitches for reviews of mediocre products to get to the better, stronger brands? (more…)