Nov
07

Marcie Hill Interview

Marcie Hill, author, professional blogger

This article was updated 11/20/2014

Last week I had the privilege of interviewing Marcie Hill, author, freelance writer and professional blogger. Marcie shared that she loves words and in our conversation she demonstrates how she is using her written word to contribute to the progress of women and technology and respecting diversity.

My conversation with Marcie covered professional blogging, growing the confidence to be authentic in your work and practicing resilience to reach your goals. The words I use to describe Marcie are creative and resourceful. I had a great time talking with her and my intention is that this information expands your knowledge regarding reaching your goals and the blogging industry.

 
Electra: It took us a while, but I am glad we are here today to have this discussion. Thank you for taking the time to talk with me today.

Marcie: Thank you for thinking of me.

Electra: Absolutely, since we last talked you have published two books, which are, How to Write Powerful Professional Bios and 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block.

Marcie: Actually, I published the 62 Blog Posts first which is how we met on Twitter and then I published How to Write Powerful Professional Bios this year.

Electra: Yes, I remember your post on Twitter doing research for your book is how we met.

Marcie: Yes, the electronic version of Overcoming Blogger’s Block is available on Amazon and it will be published this year so a hard copy will be available by December.

Electra: Congratulations! I know you have been receiving excellent reviews on your books which we will discuss when we talk about social media promotion in our conversation.

Most recently I read one of your blog posts where you shared ways to attend conferences for free. Reading the article, I noticed how you didn’t let your budget limitations at that time or their conference officials’ responses stop you from attending the BlogHer conference. In the article, you explained that you could volunteer but wasn’t able to pay the registration fee even when they offered it at a discount. Sometimes people let their financial bottom line or fees stop them from what they want to do or experience, but I found it refreshing that you pursued your goal. Did you feel confident that continuing the conversation would lead to a way to the conference?

Marcie: Yes. I was determined to be at conference because it was here in Chicago.

First, I submitted a volunteer application and was rejected. I kept getting updates about the conference and really wanted to be there. So I emailed the conference coordinator asking if there were volunteer opportunities. She responded by offering me discounts to conference events. I told her that I was unable to pay anything at that time. She forwarded my message to the volunteer coordinator who offered me opportunity to work in the writer’s lab.

Since I am a writer, this was the perfect opportunity for me. I mainly directed attendees to the right sessions and sat in on a few sessions.
Electra: That’s an excellent demonstration that you know you are your greatest asset. What was your largest take away from the BlogHer conference?

Marcie:

  1. I had the opportunity to connect with other women offline.
  2. I learned it’s important to be ready for where your success takes you. At the conference, I met several bloggers I wanted to interview but they felt that they were not prepared. These women were very shy and the idea of being interviewed was out of the comfort zone.

Electra: I can understand that can happen. How has blogging take you out of your comfort zone?

Marcie: I am more confident in sharing my thoughts. Although I still have moments where I wonder if sharing my opinion will make others label me as an angry black woman or deter me from other writing opportunities.

Electra: I understand that definitely. One of my first mentors explained that it would be beneficial to add my picture to my website when I was starting out. She shared a story with me on how she mentored another African-American woman that felt like adding her picture on her website would block her opportunities. My mentor told her if she had to hide in order to work for someone then that’s not a client you want. I agreed. If someone needs you to dishonor yourself in order to work with them then, you do not want that contract.

Marcie: Yes, that’s true. I know I want to write more about women and diversity and technology. However, I will gladly write product reviews for Cannon and HP if they want to send me a camera or computer.

Electra: (smile) I agree you have to put the energy out there and see what comes back to you.

More people are aware that fresh consistent content is required to engage with prospective clients and current customers and for that reason they are looking for more blog writers. Have you seen an increase in requests for blogging from companies or on the directories where you have a presence?

Marcie: Yes, there is an increase in work but the issue now is payment. Problogger Darren Rowse has a job board but some of the rates are low. Brands are posting jobs, but they often offer exposure in lieu of payment.

Electra: I understand because in the virtual assistant community we also meet prospects that are unaware of our value.

Marcie: Brands understand the value bloggers bring, but some do not want to pay; they will offer you exposure instead. For example, a blogger should be paid at least $250.00 for a 500 word blog post.

There are different rates for freelance writer positions as compared to blogging, but it still comes down to brands paying for the value of the work. At some point, we have to say that exposure doesn’t pay bills. You can get exposure from writing on your own blog or from guest blogging.

Magazine writers can be paid $1.00 per word but in the blogging community the rates are lower. A blogger may write a 500 word blog post or product review for $100 because that money is enough to pay some bills. That is the current dilemma in the professional blogging community.

Electra: Yes, that is the entrepreneur’s job requirement – thinking of ways to generate work and demonstrate your professional skills.

What are some of your biggest lessons when you transitioned from employee to employer?

Marcie: My biggest challenges were:

  • Knowing my target marketing
  • Making my ownopportunities
  • Learning when I have to go outside of my network to reach some of my goals

For example, I have an idea for the local Walmart, but there is no one in my network that can help me make this connection. I was talking to my mom about ideas and she helped me with unique strategies to deliver my proposal. To reach this goal I am going to go outside of my network and social media is helping me. LinkedIn is a site where I can meet and make connections that I am not able to locally.

Electra: How have you been able to continue to generate work and engage to grow your business?

Marcie: Business writing for organizations is something that I have been doing for a while and these connections, I make within my network. I am also a contributor for the Chicago Independent Bulletin. I do freelance writing for publications and I want to do more paid opportunities for magazines.

In making my own opportunities, Forbes published one of my articles, How to Write Captivating Professional Bios. I also continue to pitch stories to publications where I aim to be published.

Electra: Yes, as long as you put your work out there the investment of your energy is going to come back to you.

When you consider accepting a project from a client, do you specialize in certain subjects or are you open to various topics?

Marcie: I am open to various topics, but I mainly write about blogging, business, diversity, women and technology. I would like to write app reviews for payment. Interviewing is also a freelance writing opportunity. I enjoy interviewing people and allowing them to tell their stories and heir history.

Electra: Earlier you mentioned that LinkedIn helped with projects when you needed to venture outside of your network. How has social media and online marketing helped you connect with clients?

Marcie: Social media marketing has not connected me with clients yet, but it has helped to build relationships indirectly. You and I met when I was researching my first book. I use:

  • LinkedIn to connect with my industryprofessionals
  • Twitter to connect with otherindustriesand my targetmarket
  • My blog, Marcie Writes, is my portfoliosite. It helps me to connect with prospectiveclients as well as promote my work.

Using social media allows me to share more of myself and connect directly with people.

Electra: I remember that soon after meeting you on Twitter I learned about Ms. Ileane and saw your picture as a guest writer on her blog. Do you gain more exposure online or offline?

Marcie: Online, because I can connect with my target market better. I do have a community blog, Shorty, Your Chicago Southside Resource, where I connect with my actually community online and offline.

Electra: Yes, I remember reading on your blog that after your eBook, How to Write Powerful Professional Bios, received a positive review, sales increased. How can you be found online?

Marcie: In addition to my portfolio site, Marcie writes, and my community site, Shorty: Your Chicago South Side Resource, I can be found often on:

  • Twitter
  • Overcoming Blogger’s Block, the website for my book 62 Blog Posts to Overcome Blogger’s Block. The published version will be available in December.
  • My fun site is Real Skate Stories. I created it because it links two of my favorite things – skating and history. As I mentioned I love listening to people’s stories and this website give me an opportunity to record some artistic and roller derby skating history.

Electra: I definitely will look forward the printed version of your book in December. I know you will include the images and one of those images is of my website, the virtualofficecenter.net. What do you see yourself doing in five years as a freelance writer?

Marcie: My current goals are to:

  • Monetize my Blogsite
  • Develop an eCourse
  • Create a Writer’s retreat. I’m considering Wisconsin in September 2015.
  • Continue to research and information for my publication pitches

Electra: Wow! That’s a busy year already planned. I like that. I have learned as an entrepreneur it is important to have goals to continue to progress forward and prepare for expansion.

Thank you for sharing with the readers where they can find you online. What is one suggestion that you can leave them with that they can start using today?

Marcie: I love lists. Make a list with at least three tasks to complete weekly.

Electra: That’s great because that is not an overwhelming number when you consider there are generally 5 work days and 7 days in a week. Three actions to complete do seem achievable.

Marcie, it has been my pleasure and inspirational for me to interview you today, thank you for giving your time today.

Marcie: Thank you for thinking of me.

Electra: I will get this posted and my intention is that others will gain insight on ways to achieve their blogging goals. Or, they will read something here that will help them start or continue their progress toward their professional or personal goals.

Comments

  1. ClaraNo Gravatar says:

    Truly enjoyed this interview with Marcie. Thanks!
    Clara recently posted..Are You Brave Enough?

  2. Electra FordNo Gravatar says:

    Hi Clara,

    I’m glad you found this information useful.

  3. […] had the pleasure of interviewing with Ms. Electra Ford a couple weeks ago. Check our interview when you get a […]

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