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Meet the Blogger: Miriam Gomberg, A Customer Experience Connoisseur

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Meet the Blogger is a feature here at the BlogWorld blog where we introduce you to some of newest bloggers in various niches. Today, we’re talking with Miriam Gomberg, who blogs at MiriamGomberg.wordpress.com about her experiences as a “customer experience connoisseur.” Check out his interview below, as well as the full list of Meet the Blogger interviews (including instructions for participating).

Allison: Thanks for the interview, Miriam! Tell us a little about you and your blog.

Miriam: I have either owned, operated or worked in retail since I was 16 for my parents and through the years, have gained a healthy perspective of what creates a superior customer experience. In my late 30’s I closed my business of 15 years went back to school and finished a degree. Now I am working on an MBA to add to my list of accomplishments. My blog’s tagline is “a customer experience connoisseur.”

What initially attracted you to blogging and why did you choose to blog about customer service?

I started blogging when my friends took a class on personal branding in the MBA program and loved it so I decided to try it as well. I have learned tons about social media since beginning the class and I expect to continue blogging well after the class is over. I chose my topic (customer service) by really taking some time to think about what I do that makes me unique and how can I contribute knowledge and opinions about a topic that I am passionate about. I am still narrowing my niche because blogging is still new to me.
I think it’s great that you started blogging as part of a college class. Do you think blogging/social media is a topic area that colleges need to cover in more detail? Or is too much focus being taking away from more traditional branding and marketing topics?

The personal branding class (that I just finished) was my favorite class throughout my tenure as an MBA student. There is value in this class for anyone trying to set herself apart in a competitive market. During the last 3 classes, each student presented his or her brand to the class, and the talent and diversity was astounding. One girl branded herself as a vitamin expert because her family owns a vitamin production factory, and a guy in class branded himself as an expert in a very specific application for SAP. I think that more colleges and universities should offer a class like this. In an MBA program, plenty of classes are dedicated to more traditional marketing/branding topics. Dr Simmons was innovative in his approach and as a result, I plan to continue fine tuning my brand.

What are some of the challenges you’re facing as someone who’s new to blogging?

Like other bloggers, my challenges include: traffic (reaching a desired audience), topic inspiration, and time.

What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a blogger?

Be myself. Over and above any of my skills, this is what makes me  unique.

I love how you use stories from your personal life to illustrate lessons in customer service! Is this something you planned from the beginning or did it just evolve naturally as you continued to blog? Why did you chose this style over the less personable style that is common in the business niche?

Thank you for saying that you enjoy the story telling as that is how I communicate best. My communication style is very personal and It was a natural extension to write in the same manner as I speak. In reading other blogs, I am drawn in by a bloggers voice. If  he or she is too impersonal and dry, I quickly lose interest.

You mentioned that you chose to blog about customer service in part because you’re passionate about that topic. How important is it, in your opinion, for a blogger to be passionate about there topic? Do you think it is more or less important than expertise or experience in the niche?

Passion for your topic is imperative to a good blog. As an ESFJ personality, if I don’t feel the passion, it is hard to fake it. Topic expertise is important but by itself can be boring. Why are you an expert in a subject if you don’t feel anything for it? Passion has made me into an effective leader, student, etc.

What blogging topics do you hope to learn more about in the coming months?

I want to hear about how others also got started and why they continue to blog.

Thanks for the great interview, Miriam! Readers, make sure you check out her customer service blog, and you can also follow her on Twitter @miriamgomberg.

Meet the Blogger: Tara Wright, Cheapskate Mama

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Meet the Blogger is a feature here at the BlogWorld blog where we introduce you to some of newest bloggers in various niches. Today, we’re talking with Tara Wright, who blogs at Cheapskate Mama. Check out her interview below, as well as the full list of Meet the Blogger interviews (including instructions for participating).

Allison: Thanks for talking with us, Tara! Tell us a little about you and your blog.

My name is Tara Wright and I started a deal blog in November of 2010 called Cheapskate Mama. I am a stay at home mom of two young boys with an unused elementary teaching credential, a flaming passion for writing and research, and an incredibly supportive husband and family. Cheapskate Mama is a resource for people like me. By that statement I mean people with children, financial struggles, bills up to their ears, or even just a desire to scale back without complete deprivation. I have readers who are moms and dads, grandparents, aunts and uncles, college students, and others who are none of the above. I strive to make all of my deals as simple as possible by refusing to make a reader jump through ten hoops to save 50 cents. Therefore, most of my deals are retail buys with directions for replication online or in-stores as opposed to coupon match-ups and grocery deals. I love to save at the grocery store as much as the next person, but grocery couponing is not my area of expertise and it requires more “hoops” at times. My tagline is Full Price Makes Me Angry. I am not kidding–it really ticks me off. That anger acts as fuel to help me find a solution for myself and others like me.

What initially attracted you to blogging and why did you choose to blog about coupons and deals?

I have always been a shopaholic, but having children quickly made me realize that my frivolity could have an effect on the extent to which we are able to provide for them. With a strong desire for financial stability that did not depend on how many trips to Target I took that month, I knew I needed to make some changes and reprioritize. When I started to fuse my determination with a natural online research obsession, I realized that I knew so many other moms just trying to make ends meet that could truly benefit from my deal hunting tips but could never afford to dedicate the time to do it themselves. Anyone can do what I do, there is absolutely no “secret” involved, but who the heck can afford 8 hours a day to scour the web or has the ability to drop everything and jet to the store to confirm a huge deal rumor? Not many of the people I know. So I started to do it for them. I created a Facebook Fan Page right before Thanksgiving to expose my favorite Christmas shopping deals and hot tips and within a week or so, word had spread and I had a little cult following. After hearing good feedback and some success stories, I decided to jump on it and bought the domain name CheapskateMama.net to start a blog.

Most people start a blog and then move to building social media profiles, but it sounds like you started the other way around, by sharing deals on Facebook and then building a blog. One of my biggest problems with Facebook is that I find it difficult to move people from there to a blog. Can you share some tips with us – how did you get your Facebook readers to move to your blog?

I did do that, didn’t I! To be perfectly honest, I had no idea what the potential was for Cheapskate Mama when I first started. It really was to take it away from my personal profile so I wasn’t clogging the news feeds of my FB friends on one of my really good “hunting” days. Once I created the fan page, I was actually shocked to see people get as excited as I did for 75% off diapers and whatnot, so it really made me feel like I had something there. It was tough for the first few weeks to really pull people away from the familiarity of Facebook, but I had to learn not to “give the milk away for free” so to speak. Once I started posting teasers with a link to my site and kept the details solely on my blog, it got easier. In addition, I occasionally love to use bribery– I mean incentives 😉 A deal blog is the perfect spot for a giveaway or contest, and I try to have them regularly to thank my readers for their support and loyalty. Currently I am running a 1,000th post giveaway, and they have to visit my site for the entry link, but they can score additional entries for commenting on Facebook, retweeting, or reblogging VIA Tumblr.

I do seriously love the power of Facebook for my type of blog, because a hot deal can spread like fire when people can’t help but share with friends. Because that is where I started, I will always nurture the connection with Facebook fans. My blog is my home though, and Facebook and Twitter are like my vacation homes.

What made you decide to use Tumblr rather than WordPress, Blogger, Typad, or any of the other older content management systems from bloggers?

A couple of weeks ago, one of the mom bloggers I follow on Twitter stated that she was annoyed to have to write any more than 140 characters. And so it is in our new world–people want the info, they like it to the point, and as fast as possible. Everyone is looking for clean and uncomplicated, and as a “micro-blogging” platform, in my opinion, Tumblr is just that. With Tumblr, I can get a post out with a link and a pic in under 2 minutes if necessary–if a deal is hot, I don’t want to take ten steps to post it.

When I search through Tumblr, I find the most amazing, artistic, funky, and sometimes weird content. I consider myself to be a little kooky, artistic and “out there” sometimes, so I feel right at home. I am very happy with my choice, there are some fabulous Tumblr blogs and I hope to be at the top of them someday soon.

What’s the single most important lesson you’ve learned so far as a blogger?

I have to remind myself daily to stay true to my philosophy and not pay attention to what others are doing. I see the biggest coupon and deal bloggers throwing up 20 posts a day and it makes me doubt myself, my content, and whether I even belong. I am a little guppy in a wide sea! But then I remember something I learned from Gary Vaynerchuk. For it to really be your passion, you have to stay true to yourself–people can sense the BS a mile away.

What blogging topics do you hope to learn more about in the coming months?

I am currently playing around with some frugal grocery shopping with NO coupon tips and features plus budget recipes, and I would also like to start a regular “deal mission” post, where a reader can submit an idea for something they’d like to buy at a deep discount and I will exhaust my resources to help find the deal. One day soon, I will get up the courage to post a little vlog too. But it will have to be on a day that I actually get dressed and have good hair.

Thanks for the interview, Tara! Readers, make sure to check out Cheapskate Mama, like her Facebook page, and follow Tara on Twitter @cheapsk8mama.

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