I first came across I think it was after a few months of “chatting” that Cendrine told me that English wasn’t her first language and that she often had to stop and think about how to write it in English. I was shocked as throughout all our online chats and reading her posts I noticed they are word perfect….in English. This, of course, made me fascinated in how she wrote in, what is to her, a foreign language. After all, many of us struggle to write in our native language, never mind a foreign one. Cendrine explains this to me plus who her social media idols are and lots more, including some brilliant tips for blogging.
You are French born but now reside in Canada – how did that come about and when did you move?
At the beginning of 2003, after almost six years of university, I needed a change of scenery. I wanted to travel and experience new cultures.
My best friend, who is Canadian, was a few months away from leaving France, where she had spent an entire year. She mentioned that Canada would be a good start for me and offered to accommodate me if need be.
I was only supposed to stay there for a few months. However, within a few days of my landing in Winnipeg, Manitoba, I knew I had found a new home. I have never looked back since then.
What is your background relating to Journalism and writing?
I am a former English major and hold a bachelor’s degree in English to French translation. My favourite subjects were linguistics and phonetics.
I had no real background in journalism when I started in 2010. But, it worked out well because I have an inquisitive mind and love doing research. Plus, I enjoy unbiased reporting.
How did you get into the Social Media scene?
I have had several incarnations in my career. One of them is as an independent artist. I was a poet for a few years, and after releasing my first three collections, I realized that the path to good exposure was paved with challenges.
At the time (2006), I had no one to help me. First, I joined Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, and spent some time observing how successful people leveraged the sites. This led me into reading a lot of articles on social media and “meeting” professionals involved in the field.
When I had acquired sufficient knowledge, I began sharing through discussions with people. They advised me to start blogging, which I did. And that’s how I got into the social media scene. I have been involved in it full time for four years now.
As French is your first language how do you adapt to writing in English?
In my mid-teens, when I developed a passion for the English language, I decided to train my brain to switch between tongues whenever I needed it. The challenge quickly turned into a game, which allowed me to learn quickly and effectively.
When I write in English, I think in English. Of course, a French word may pop up in my mind occasionally, but that’s about it.
Do you use any special translation tools to make it easier?
I only use a bilingual dictionary or do some research on the Internet. I also know I can count on a couple of friends who have a very good knowledge of grammar to help me if I really need it.
Who are your Social Media idols and why?
When it comes to marketing, Seth is the best. He says it like it is and the tips he shares on his blog work for every industry.
The same goes for Chris, who coined the phrase “human business”. With him, it’s all about using social media to communicate and build relationships with audiences. It is something on which I strongly focus in my work as well.
For anyone getting into blogging and Social Media what would be your top 5 tips?
- Start by asking yourself the right questions. For example: “What do I want to achieve?”, “Who is my audience?”, “What are my audience’s needs?”, “What are my strengths and weaknesses?”, “Where do I see myself in five years?”… Your answers will allow you to create a strategy.
- The next step is to establish your expertise. Provide content that is useful to your audience – and in your own voice. Build a community of advocates.
- Do not post everything you write on social media sites. Instead, share teasers and invite people to read the rest on your blog. That’s always where traffic should end up.
- Don’t forget to treat others the way you would like to be treated. Be approachable and human, and most importantly, practice gratitude as often as you can. Acknowledging the little things others do for you will always go a very long way.
- Finally, be consistent AND patient. Things do not happen overnight – not even in six months. There is a lot of competition out there!
What is next on the agenda for Cendrine?
I have been working on an eBook on social media strategies, which I hope to release in 2013. Earlier this year, I asked readers of Creative Ramblings, to share their best tips for a successful social media strategy. The responses were so overwhelming that I decided to include my favourites in the book. There will be one quote (with full attribution) at the end of each chapter. For those interested in following my progress, you can check out Creative Ramblings.
I also have a ton of social media workshops lined up for 2013. And if time permits, I would like to organize a few webinars in both English and French for my audience.
I hope you enjoyed this interview and for me it just goes to show if you work hard you can be successful and in any language that you choose. I’m sure Cendrine would be happy to answer any questions you wish to ask below.