Featured Blogger: Sara Patterson – MommaFindings.com
Latina Mom Bloggers welcomes Sara Patterson, Founder and Editor of Momma Findings. Momma Findings is a Website/Blog that reviews products for parents. Sara Patterson was born and raised on the Texas Gulf Coast. She is a Mother of three. The products showcased on her website are always family friendly.
Sara started blogging as a simple prayer journal, but quickly fell in love with the social media behind it. Companies working together, through campaigns with bloggers, create a whole other level of awareness that is unlimited!
This interview features Sara’s life, blog, blogging experience and blogging tips:
1. Tell us about three people that you admire and why?
Wow. There are so many people I admire, but if I had to narrow it down to three they would be:
- My Parents: I celebrated 10 years of marriage this year and, it isn’t until now, that I fully appreciate how difficult it is to have a successful and meaningful reltationship with my spouse. I look up to my parents because they’ve trudged through the same things we have yet, they stand together in a their marriage and are remarkable role models for my children.
- My Husband: He’s not afraid. He’s not fearful to admit when he’s wrong. He’s not so set in stone that he doesn’t realize when a change needs to be made. He’s my rock.
- My Friend: His name is Kevin and I met him my freshman year of High School. He’s been there for both my husband and I for the last 10 years. As a younth minister in his Church he leads our community by teaching young teenagers how to walk in Christ and, let’s all face it, that’s a hard job.
2. What is your favorite life or business quote?
This applies to both my life and business I’ve done throughout the years. Whenever I’m worried. Whenever I’m stressed. Whenever I feel the world is crashing down upon me, I’m encouraged by this Beth More Quote:
“Beloved, let this one sink in deeply: if God allowed you to be thrown into a pit, you weren’t picked ON; you were picked OUT. God entrusted that suffering to you because He has faith in you. Live up to it. All the way up.”
I refer to this quote when I minister to friends going through rough situations.
3. If you wouldn’t be a full time blogger, what other field can you see yourself working in?
Being a full time blogger definitely crept up and surprised me. I tell my children all the time, “God gave me this very important job. He entrusted me to take care of you every day so Daddy can go to work and so you can have someone there for you at home whenever you need it. It’s a job I can’t believe I so lucky to have.”
So, if I wasn’t a full time blogger, I’d still be a full time Mom. A job that a lot of people look down upon, but a job that fulfills both me and my family. One day, my kids will grow older and then I’d like to see myself working in a marketing position or social media manager.
4. What advice would you have for a mother who is thinking about starting a blog but may not know where/how to begin? What can you tell them about maintaining balance between home and work?
The first thing I’d ask is the reason she wants to start a blog. I think, especially here lately, that rumor has it that you can make GOBS AND GOBS of money with a blog. So, the first thing I’d do or say is that the rumor is false. Yes, you can make money. Yes, you can get tons of cool products. Yes, you may even have fun opportunities, but those are not reasons to start a blog. If those are your sole reasons, then stop. Stop right now. Being a full time blogger is hard work. Like up at 5:00am. Like strict schedule organization. Like passion.
5. What tips would you suggest for first year of blogging?
- Pick your passion. If you love what you write about now, you’ll love it five years from now.
- Develop a Tribe: Not an indian tribe, a blog community tribe. Find other blogs that write about the same things you do. Comment on those blogs. Every day. I promise you, they’ll comment back. Within a year, you’ll have your own little tribe that you can lean on and trust.
- Schedule your time: This is the hardest thing to help someone understand. Friends of mine will state, “Why can’t you go to lunch? Don’t you work from home? You can set your own hours.” Exactly. I set my own hours so I can make time for my family and I’m keep our household structured. If you have to, set a timer. Blog for an hour. Clean for an hour. Blog for 30 minutes. Do laundry for 30 minutes. Whatever works best for you, but make sure it’s planned.
6. Do you find it therapeutic to blog? That is, sometimes being a mom can be overwhelming, do you find some sort of escape or stress relieve through blogging? Or does it actually add more stress to your already busy schedule?
Believe it or not. Blogging used to be therapeutic. A lot of bloggers will say it’s cheaper than a shrink. In fact, I started blogging because I lived 900 miles away from family, with no friends, and three kids under the age of 5. It was insane. When I blogged, I left a little of my heart in each post and that was therapeutic. Now, however, my children are older. One has actually asked that I don’t blog about him or take his picture and ESPECIALLY don’t take a video. They want privacy and that’s when I turned my blog into a family blog about products, events, music, and charitable initatives. I can still talk about my family, but not like I used to.
Being that it’s more of a business to me, it’s a teeny tiny bit more stressful with deadlines, conference calls, events, and business trips.
7. What is the most important business habit you have?
Clear communication. Whether it’s a buisness partnership, a 6 month long campaign, or a product review… communication is key. I’m not perfect. I get busy. I get side tracked. I’m running a business and a home, so I’m not always able to meet a deadline or I have to bow out of a campaign I thought I could do. Things happen. Kids get sick. For the most part, companies and Brands have been exceptionally understanding when I communicate my plans with them.
Communication. It’s the ONE habit I work hard at.
8. What is the best book you’ve recently read and why?
I’m reading The Help right now and LOVE it. Telling the story of “The Help” through a journalists eyes has really empowered and encouraged me.
9. What do you believe helps differentiate your blog/websites from others?
Well, all blogs are different. I strongly believe that my site is amazing to one person and not so amazing to another. It’s all about the reader and what they like, but what differentiates me from other bloggers is steadiness. I try really hard to schedule 2 blog posts a day during the work week. I don’t usually post over the weekends, however, that may change over the Summer. I give my readers a steady idea of what to expect from my site. Two blog posts a day.
Oh. And my coolness factor. J
10. Do you ever refuse to review products you don’t actually use or believe in?
Yes, I refused to review products on a daily basis. Most of the time it’s because I know I can’t schedule them into my editorial calender, but if I don’t believe in the company or product, I won’t review it. If I’m not going to use it? Well, you won’t see me reviewing it. For instance, I don’t have a baby anymore. My baby is 4 years old, so you probably won’t see me reviewing baby products unless it’s a Brand I’ve used and trusted with my own children in the past. We’re working to recruit other Mom Bloggers to become contributors so we can cover all age groups.
11. Do you promote events or support through your blog any particular charity or non-profit organization?
Yes we do. In fact, every Christmas we do a blog series about how you, as a reader, can help families in need by highlighting different local charity organizations. We also, just finished a tour of the Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and talked to them about how we, in Social Media, can help spread the word about the need for blood in our region. You can find our post and our plans to partner with the Blood Center here.
Other organizations we’re passionate about include: Special Olympics, Mercy House, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center and One laptop Per Child
12. Something interesting about your blog is that although you are Latina, you don’t really blog in Spanish or position yourself as a “Latina” mom blogger. On that note, what is the biggest Hispanic marketing cliché you would love to see go away?
You’re right. I don’t’ market myself as a Latina Mom, because I started blogging almost five years ago prior to the Latina Blogger boom. I learned to position myself with high profile mainstream bloggers. Since I’ve made it known that I’m passionate about my Hispanic culture, I’ve come across Hispanic marketing trends that are quite bothersome.
As you mentioned, I’m positioned as a General Market blogger and I’ve found that a lot of brands recruit Latina Bloggers to work on Hispanic specific campaigns. While this is great for the campaign and blogger, I’’ve also found that Brands exclude Latinas in bigger and broader scale campaign programs that we can greatly influence.
I’d love to see that go away. I’d love to see more Latina Bloggers involved in mainstream campaigns and iniatitives, if only the marketers can see the power behind the culture.
13. From your blog, I can tell you are a Texas girl and love your state! How does being from Texas inspire you? Were you born in Texas? Where is your family from?
Yes. I am a Southern Texas girl for sure. In fact, when we moved to Memphis 8 years ago, there was a welcome sign that said, “Welcome to the South.” I turned to my husband and said, “Well, why did I have to drive 9 hours NORTH to get to the South?” I’m very proud to be a Texan and tell everyone I meet that we’re our own little country. There’s nothing quite like the community togetherness that the lonestar state brings to it’s people.
I was born in a small town right outside of Houston called Baytown. We like to call it the Capital of Exxon. Everyone here works for the chemical giant and everyone is proud to work a company. It means security for the community and the families involved. My parents, however, aren’t from here. They lived in a small town in the Rio Grande Valley called Raymonville (close to Harlingen). They moved here to find work. Once my Dad found it, he recruited all his brothers to follow. Now 95% of my Dad’s family live here in town and have successfully moved up in each company they work for while raising a beautiful family in the process.
When I think of Texas. I think of country life. I think of High School football. I think of State festivals and Bar B Que. I think of family. When we were deciding to stay in Memphis or move back home I couldn’t quite see my family anywhere else beside Texas. It’s my home. It’s my culture. It’s a way of life I don’t ever want to leave.
14. Who is the target audience of your blog and what data can you provide us about the size of your audience?
My target audience is, of course, Moms. I don’t cater to Latina Moms or Afican American Moms. My site is for any Mom of any color. I also target Dads, Grandparents, and Educators as I hope to build a community involvement with the companies that cater to them.
Momma Findings is your average blog with your not so average Blogger. Our site reaps, on average, 35,000 page views a month with the community comments growing on Facebook and Twitter.
15. Do you have any accompanying Twitter, Facebook or other social media contact information you would like to share?
Of course I do! I’d love for all of you to join me on my Social Media Channels that include: Find me on Twitter @Sarann, Momma Findings Facebook, Sara Patterson on Linked In, Momma Findings on YouTube
Do you have an interesting story to tell? Sign up for Latina Mom Bloggers Featured Blogger Program and feel free to contact me at eva [at] latinamombloggers.com.