Photo Credit: Rose Riot
Ellen Eldridge embodies the characteristics of a contemporary Renaissance woman by successfully juggling many enterprises with both seeming ease and finesse. She’s a journalist, Editor-in-Chief at Target Audience Magazine (check out the May Issue here ) brand ambassador, writer, a wonderful mother to two small children, a wife, et cetera! To learn more about her and her work, or to contact her, visit her LinkedIn site here and TAM’s Facebook page here. Besides interviewing and reviewing bands, visual artists, authors, etc., “Target Audience Magazine is a resource for creative entrepreneurs to manage their businesses” (TAM Facebook).
Besides being the founder (and EIC) of Target Audience Magazine, you’re also EIC at Talon Magazine and the Lifestyle Writer at Cherokee Tribune! Awesome accomplishments! *tips hat* How would you like to see each of these publications grow in the next few years?
I’ve been building Target Audience Magazine as a marketing magazine for artistic entrepreneurs since 2007, but in 2012 I went back to school for a second bachelor’s degree. I earned a bachelor’s in psychology, but wanted to hone my journalism skills so I started working toward a journalism degree at Kennesaw State University, and I got involved with student media. Talon is the university’s student feature magazine. Additionally, I picked up an internship at Marietta Daily Journal, one of the biggest newspapers in Georgia, for the summer of 2014. So, my vision for TAM remains to continue to service the niche community of artists not only worldwide via the Internet but also to those in north Georgia.
How do you manage being a professional powerhouse AND a great mother?
I wouldn’t call myself a “professional powerhouse,” but I balance everything carefully and constantly re-evaluate my decisions concerning my priorities. I didn’t have children to have someone else raise them, so the balance between working to provide for their future and their current needs is a constant struggle. The easiest way to answer this question is to make it widely known that without my husband I would be nothing. He works as a guitar teacher in private music stores so his hours involve working in the afternoons to late evenings (and weekends). I generally get the mornings to attend classes. My mother has been helping with the kids more now that I’m working about 32 hours a week at the newspaper. Everything else (writing, running TAM and such) must get done while the kids are with me, so writing can be done, but it’s tough. I often feel like I’m not a great mother, but I do my best.
How has the ‘advanced social media management’ of HootSuite helped you?
HootSuite is great because I can use it to not only schedule posts but also track campaigns for clients as well as my various accounts. I made great use of HootSuite University, and its lessons helped me become more knowledgeable as a social media manager for private clients. More marketing strategy goes into social media (when done properly) than many people realize. HootSuite recognized my efforts in teaching social media after I won a grant for Society of Professional Journalists to teach social media using HootSuite University, so I am now a “brand ambassador,” meaning I advocate publicly on behalf of the brand.
I know that I like running my blog as a ‘Variety Show’ of sorts—by showcasing artistic works (of all kinds) which I’m naturally attracted to. It seems to me that TAM does much of the same with great musicians, writers and visual artists interviewed, reviewed, et cetera. And, you and your crew also attend and cover many live events, too. Are they live events in and around Atlanta only?
Target Audience Magazine seeks to help artists both by featuring them and by helping writers and photographers build their resumes. We cover live events mostly in Atlanta, but have covered events nationwide. The issues that we publish contain articles focused on the marketing aspects of being in business as an artist, musician, writer etc. So, yes, we cover all things artistic globally, but seek to inspire locally and grow communities of artists who can network and increase sales.
Where did your appreciation for music, the ‘indie movement’, visual art, literature, etc. begin?
I’ve been a writer since I was able to hold a pen upright. I’ve been writing stories and learning about the things that make us human as I studied psychology and business. My sister is an illustrator and my husband teaches and plays guitar professionally so I’ve just always been inspired by the arts. My friends have always been artistic. Music, art and literature have gotten me through the darkest of times—both through indulging in music and through writing—I want to inspire artists everywhere to be successful at the business side of being artistic so generations to come will pursue the arts.
I had the pleasure of reviewing your book of poetry titled “Beyond the Eyes” here. Have you had any time to work on your own writing recently? Any future books planned?
I’ve recently remembered how much I love writing. I’ve been unable to write much of the creative nonfiction genre works that I mean to. I hope now that my kids are a bit older (3 and 1), I can let them play more on their own with legos, crayons and blocks so that I can get back to writing. We’ll see how it goes. I plan to try to get more essay work published rather than attempt books. If I work with poetry again, it will be a children’s book, where I will invite my sister, Cyan Jenkins, to illustrate.
What’s on the horizon for the rest of 2014?
During the summer, my internship writing for Marietta Daily Journal takes most of the week, but I have a private client for whom I manage a blog and social media. I also plan to publish issues of Target Audience Magazine June 1, August 1 and October 1 this year (we are as of June slowing to once every two months). In addition to that, I plan to publish Talon Magazine mid-July, early August and in October. So, I have a ton on my plate. Not to mention, I’m campaigning for a campus representative position on the national board of Society of Professional Journalists. The election occurs during our Excellence in Journalism conference in Nashville Sept. 4-6. Wish me luck, and if you’re a member of SPJ, please vote for me digitally (you don’t have to be at the conference to vote)!