I hope you had a fun and informative year following my blog, and I can’t tell you enough how much I appreciate your trust. To celebrate what we achieved in 2016, I’ve put together my year in review from A to Z. Thank you for reading my blog week after week. Thank you for commenting, and thank you for sharing my articles.
Celebrating 2 years of Blogging:
A is for Articles
I wrote 88 blog posts in 2016, averaging between one and two per week. Last September, I decided to focus on one article only per week, and in English only. Full disclosure: I work with an amazing proofreader who manages to polish my English and to keep my own style (Thank you Hannah).
My most-read articles ever are about laundry in the United States (the German version), Aldi’s development in the United States, and why Germans are a leader in organic food and eco-energy (the French version).
In 2016, my popular posts also looked at why a business lunch in France is not a waste of time (in English).
B is for Behind the Scene
I always try to keep my blog interesting, and I’m challenged every week to find a balance between ensuring a personal touch and incorporating real insights into my knowhow.
I have been asked frequently where my inspiration comes from. Honestly, I work with an editorial calendar but also react spontaneously to world news. For some weeks, I’m too busy completing a job or juggling my children are home. In order to keep publishing every week, I’ll sometimes write a shorter post about lighthearted topics or republish an older post, which is what I did last summer.
Another frequent question from readers is how much time it takes to maintain a blog. Believe me, it’ll take much more time than you think.
A blog is not only about writing. In my case, this blog was a tool to build a reputation in the States after I moved to Washington DC. Before moving, I ran a successful marketing consulting company in Germany, but my core business was all about French-German consultancy. I guess you can see my dilemma! A French-German focus was out, and there were plenty of native-speaker marketing consultants to hire.
Under those circumstances, I decided to develop a business blog around intercultural marketing. Over time, I have focused more and more on explaining the hows and whys of intercultural differences in business between France or Germany and the United States.
In addition to writing articles, I’ve also spent more time fine-tuning the blog’s purpose, sharing the posts through social media, and monitoring its success.
C is for Comments
A blog seems alive when people comment because it shows that they feel interested enough to interact with the author. Read: Any comments make my day! Since the beginning, this blog has received over 500 comments directly on the website, plus at least as much on LinkedIn and around 100 Facebook comments.
In 2016, the most commented articles were “Why Trump-like Overselling Doesn’t Work in France or Germany” and “Differences between Networking in France and Working Hard in the US.”
D is for Distracted
I’m a working mum of three, and my husband travels a lot for his job. Sometimes, I just get distracted and forget elementary double checks—sorry about that. If you see anything weird, please feel free to tell me. Thank you!
E is for Election Year
I follow a simple rule with family and friends: never talk about politics (or about religion). In that case, I should have kept my mouth closed about the latest presidential election in America. Obviously, I couldn’t. It started in February 2016 with a mild post, where I wondered about advertising money in “7 Examples of America’s Political-Advertising Craze,” but I ended up with 8 posts around election year! This was the most popular one.
F is for Family
Since I use my family regularly as examples to support my ideas, I just want to thank my beautiful children for their love and their support.
Jasmine will turn 17 in a few days. Although she didn’t write any guest posts in 2016, she is the one I observe closely when it comes to social media trends! Yann is 7 and the most American of my children. Pauline is 5 and everybody’s darling. Both are really impressed when Google ranks my blog high on the first page!
G is for German
Germany is a never-ending source of inspiration for my blog, even if I try to balance it with my French roots. I worked for over 20 years in Germany and see many parallels between American and German working styles. Of course there are differences (e.g. in terms of flexibility), but I’m glad to be known as German in my work.
H is for Home Office
On a blog post day, you’ll mostly find me at my home office, the best place during the day for inspiration and writing! I turn off my phone and the annoying “ding” of incoming emails and enjoy 3-4 hours of undisturbed time to focus on the blog.
I is for Infographic
This year, I’ve really tried to keep my blog interesting. Besides including a book review (The Black Presidency), I also illustrated the differences between immigration in the States and Germany with an infographic.
L is for Languages
For two years, I wrote in French, German, or English. My language choice depended on the topic. Most of the time, I published twice a week on the same subject, first in French or German, then a couple of days later in an adapted English version. After watching the statistics closely, I decided in September to write only in English. I now feel confident enough to express myself in a third language (the first one being French, the second one German), but this also provided me with more time for other assignments.
M is for Monitoring
As I stated before, a blog is not only about writing if you are a solo entrepreneur. I’ve been a marketing professional for over 20 years, so I know exactly what I have to monitor and how to do it. Of course, I don’t have enough time to conduct analysis as deeply as I would like to, but monitoring helps me to adjust my editorial calendar. For example, the book review was less successful, so I doubt I will repeat the experience.
O is for Opportunities
This blog has allowed me to do exactly what I wanted: provide me with a platform where I can demonstrate my knowhow. It has also opened doors that I hadn’t thought of before. I’ve been invited to talk about intercultural marketing as a guest speaker in Minneapolis. I’m a contributing writer to a French online media, and I’ve also trained expats on social media and intercultural skills.
P is for Pictures
R is for Readers
A third of my readers are based in the US, and many come from Germany (18%) or France (15%). The last third is split between 165 countries! I know also that the greater part of my audience is made up of young professional males.
S is for Setback
This year brought setbacks, like spam (but thanks to my Google Analytics filters, not so much lately!) However, setbacks are the most annoying and even depressing part of this blog.
I’m particularly aware that I don’t get enough subscribers relative to the number of visitors I attract month after month. I’ve been working on a relaunch of this blog since June, but for different reasons, the redesigned blog is still not live. This is soooooo frustrating because I can’t start working on the subscriptions issue until the relaunch is done.
T is for Tremendous
Thanks to President-elect Trump, I have learned two new words: tremendous and gerrymandering!
U is for U2
My favorite band ever!
V is for Visits
At the end of the year, I’ll have reached 30,000 visitors, each of whom spends up to seven minutes on the blog!
To date, my articles have been shared 2,207 times. Now that’s really awesome!
X is for X-Ray
This event has nothing to do with the blog, but it still created an unexpected setback. Pauline, my youngest, got sick and developed pneumonia. Instead of working, I spent a whole day at different doctor appointments and the hospital.
Y is for YouTube
Video is quickly becoming the future of marketing. Honestly, writing is easier for me than filming and editing, and don’t forget that I’m a consultant used to hiring specialists for clients. Nevertheless, I’ve started with video-blogging this month and intend to publish short films from time to time. Please let me know if you like this new addition!
Thank you for an amazing 2016! I’m happy to be kicking off 2017 and can’t wait to read your comments in the new year.