Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Interview with Fatima of ShoppingQueen.com

This week's BlogCoach Interview is with Fatima Mehdikarimi of ShoppingQueen.com. In addition to running a successful website and blog, Fatima has appeared on local and national television (Good Morning America!) and in the pages of national newspapers and magazines. Here's what she had to say about blogging and building your brand:

You have an MBA in marketing. So much of growing a readership is about getting your name out there, essentially marketing yourself. What tips do you have for novice bloggers looking to gain readers?

Many novice bloggers want to blog about a wide range of topics, so they attempt to gain a wide range of readers. However, growing a readership is about getting your name out in front of the right people. To find the right people, you must first have the right content. You have to decide what your blog consistently offers to people. Readers want consistency. The more focus you have, the more of a loyal readership you will attract. Just think about your blog as a post. If you had to assign tags to your blog, what would they be? The goal is to have no more than three to four words. For example ShoppingQueen.com’s tags would be shopping coupons and advice. I don’t offer fashion news, market updates or comments on the latest celebrity must have. Baby Cheapskate’s gained such a loyal audience because it's even more focused on babies and kids. Once you have decided what you offer to readers you can go find those readers in places where they hang out online and offline.
You've done a wonderful job of self branding. Besides your website, ShoppingQueen.com, you regularly appear on local television and have been interviewed for national magazines. What's next? What do you see yourself doing in five years?
As corny as it may sound, I love helping people save money. While I enjoy helping everyone, I particularly enjoy educating high school and college graduates on money matters. They tend to make many money mistakes and some of those mistakes can follow them for many years to come. It would be great to help them avoid these mistakes and start their adult lives on the right financial path. I currently speak at a few college campuses but am working on developing a national platform.
What has been the biggest challenge for you during the process of growing your website readership and developing a successful personal brand? How have you met this challenge?
The biggest challenge is developing and maintaining a brand. When I first created ShoppingQueen.com, it had a local focus and now as I have gained a national readership it is a constant struggle to juggle the local vs. national focus. I believe the national focus has won for the moment, but I would still like to offer some local options. So if there are any Shopping Queens in other major cities, I’d love to hear from you.
What's your advice to a blogger looking to expand her career beyond blogging and into other media?
The most important thing she needs to do is to establish herself as an expert in a particular field. You must stay on top of national and local news relating to your expert field. Once you are established as an expert, media may contact you directly or you can take advantage of related news stories and approach the media yourself. You must also learn to work with various types of media. Television has a fast turn around time. Magazines on the other hand take months. For example, to get featured in a Smart Money magazine article in the April 2008 issue, I actually began working with the reporter in November 2007.

Read previous BlogCoach interviews.

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