Blogging anniversary: distilling 8 years of posts

A retrospective

When Lise Bissonnette Janody emailed to see if I’d be game to join a panel she is organizing with IABC France next month on “how to share your knowledge to position yourself in your field and get customers”, I said sure! Why not? Lise would like me to talk about blogging, “because you’ve been at it for a long time”.

I don’t think of myself as any sort of expert on blogging, and replied:

I’ll admit (hindsight is 20/20) when I started blogging a long time ago, I was following an impulse, a yearning, without having set a clear strategy and objective: I love to write and like to share. Thus the variety of topics covered and the fact I write, depending on mood, in one language or another. It’s actually worked for me, but “experts” typically recommend to choose a language, an audience, a clear theme and so on. Là, j’ai tout faux, it’s more “welcome to my house, here’s what simmering on the stove today, sit a while, have a cup of tea!

We chatted, and Lise wasn’t looking for a professional blogger (you know, the type who publishes 3 times a week, goes for Google ranking, monetizes their blog and so on). As independent professionals, who has time to keep up that rythm?

8th anniversary

“Since when HAVE you been blogging?” asked Lise. I drew a blank — guessed about five years. Curious, I googled my old blog address at Blogspot, wondering if it would still show up. Ah, yes, Google lets nothing be forgotten.

I started the blog in September 2006. Oh my! Eight years — time does fly…

Before I could send Lise a blurb on what I plan to say, I needed to look back to see the road travelled. Great topic excuse for a post.

A blog is a promise to readers (and to yourself)

Did I fulfill what I set out to do? Euh, what had I set out to do, beyond giving in to a yearning?

Thankfully (for me), my very first post introduced the blog and it’s objectives (oh, I did have some!):

  1. To create a bridge between Lokahi Interactive and Franco-American Quill, my two business activities / identities (I’ve still not found a way to merge the two brands, other than via my social media handle @lokahiandquill, without some sort of fallout…suggestions welcome)
  2. To help and start providing some answers to those who confront some sort of (oral or written) intercultural communications challenge in their professional lives

I never made any promises as to publication schedules and warned that I’d be writing in either French or English, depending on my mood and the topic I felt inspired to write about.

So, readers, have I stuck with what I set out to do? You tell me!

A few statistics

Let’s set the context. According to InternetLiveStats.com, in 2006, there were approximately 85.5 million websites (unique host name that can be resolved into an IP address, which includes blogs). Today, there are over 673 million; it’s expected there will be one billion by year’s end. Maybe that means I was a fairly early adopter.

Eight years in numbers:

  • 150 posts (72 in English, 78 in French)
  • That’s an average of 18.75 per year, or better than once a month (a closer look shows a totally erratic publication pattern!)
  • 449 comments since September 2009 (could not export 3 years of comments from Blogspot to WordPress)
  • My (still) messy categories notwithstanding and recognizing the overlaps, the posts show my main areas of interest:
    • 48 posts in business development
    • 59 posts in translation and 14 in transcreation
    • 23 posts on writing
    • 22 posts on intercultural communications and management
    • 21 posts on marketing
    • 31 op-ed posts
    • 12 off-topic posts (maybe 13 if that’s where I file this one too?)

Benefits

When you love to write and earn a living (at least in part) from it, blogging forces you to work at it.  As Ray Bradbury put it,

Quantity produces quality. If you only write a few things, you’re doomed.

Feeding this blog has pushed me to devote some of my time to more creative writing instead of just thinking about it. Playing with different voices, registers, languages, and formats helps me thrive.

What about the professional ROI?

I’d have to review my notes, but off the top of my head, the blog has led to about a half-dozen interviews (print and web), several IC consulting gigs, teaching at INALCO, a good dollop of copywriting/translation clients who found me because of the blog, and about a dozen others who accepted a proposal *after* checking out my prose.

What I’ve found particularly rewarding are the comments or emails from colleagues, students, or those setting out on their own who join in some of the op-ed battles (“Le feuillet à 1 euro” having collected the most fervent responses!), say they liked a particular post, or that another helped them in some way.

That’s what gives meaning, for me, to the time invested in keeping up a blog, whether once a week or once a quarter.

What about you? Why do you blog? What does it bring you?

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