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July 23, 2015

Interview with Julien Goy – Blogger


In our third interview, we’re continuing to focus on blogging and content strategy.

Now it’s the turn of Julien Goy, corporate social responsibility consultant, to answer our questions.

Since creating his blog Responsabilité sociale in 2011, Julien has been publishing 2 to 3 articles a month on average. His blog is a good reference point, not just because of the quality of the content offered, but also because of its consistency in terms of posting. 

In this interview, Julien talks to us about his job and his blogging debut, but also tells us which tools he uses on a daily basis, as well as making some suggestions for bloggers of the future.

Happy reading!

  • Hi Julien! Before we dive right into the topic, could you briefly explain what your role as corporate social responsibility consultant involves, for those who aren’t familiar with this job?

Corporate social responsibility can be defined as the responsibility that businesses have in terms of their impact on society. Whether it’s concerning sustainable development or ethics, there are many things that can be understood by ‘doing well by doing good’. So I try to help companies give meaning to what they do. To take two recent examples, I helped some eco-companies to identify how they could have maximum impact with their products and services, and now I’m working with a company to identify the values that lie at the heart of what they do, in the hope that this will help them to make the right decisions in the years to come. It’s an exciting job, and I try to keep networking to a minimum, which allows me to form real connections with great people!

  • Thanks! In 2011, you decided to create a blog about this. So what was your aim? Was niche blogging really a thing when you got started?

I’d just quit my job (which was already in social responsibility), but didn’t really have another in mind. So I had a double aim, really: to force myself to stay up to date with the idea of social responsibility, and to make connections with other people with a similar interest, in order to exchange ideas.

I think niche blogging was a thing back then… and still is today! There aren’t loads of francophone blogs which address social responsibility. I get the impression that Francophones are less likely to like, share, comment… especially not on a serious subject like mine!

  • In your ‘about’ section, you say “The articles are purposely short. This is for the simple reason that personally, I don’t like having to read more than one A4 page on a screen!” Do you think that people interact more with short articles than with more in-depth articles?

That’s my feeling, yes, but it really is based on my own impression, which isn’t especially scientific. On Medium, they give the estimated reading time for each article, and I think that’s reflective of this. I think it’s important to be concise.

That being said, I absolutely don’t think that people are stupid and incapable of concentrating for longer than 4 minutes. It’s more that I’m looking to make an impact by launching an idea that’s open to discussion, or by talking about a fact but by adding my own opinion. I hope to provoke reactions by doing this. If you say all there is to say in an article, there’s nothing else to add in the comments!

  • When we look through the posts on your blog, it’s striking to see how consistent you are with your posts (Julien publishes two to three articles a month, and has been doing so from the start – ed.). And, most of your articles are posted on Mondays – is there a reason for this?

As far as Mondays are concerned, there’s no particular reason for that. Maybe I’m just keen to see how people will react to my articles, which I often write at the weekend!

As for consistency, I think it’s important to ‘meet’ with your readers. It’s like an unspoken contract: if you subscribe to a blog, I’m committing to providing you with food for thought, several times a month. I feel like I owe my audience something, but that doesn’t prevent me from feeling free and from only posting when I actually have something to say.

  • Your blog now has more than 2800 subscribers and you have more than 2000 followers on Twitter. How did you go about building and maintaining your subscriber base?

I did what seemed most logical. I try to publish quality content. On Twitter, I retweet things that interest me; I try to interact with other social responsibility professionals. And then, you alluded to this above – I’m starting to get old! I created my Twitter account over 5 years ago, and my blog over 4 years ago. Which is a pretty long time ago, by the internet’s standards!

  • We did some research to see how your blog is positioned (all part of the job, isn’t it?). You were the first result when we searched ‘social responsibility blog’. How important is organic traffic when it comes to the traffic you generate?

Well I actually just had to Google the term ‘organic traffic’, so that tells you that I haven’t worried about it until now! Almost 85% of my visitors come from search engines, so I imagine it is important! But even then, I have to emphasise the fact that I’m in a niche market. My longevity and (I hope) the quality of my articles mean that I’m referenced well. So I try to do my best to stay in the top spot, and I know that, the day I lose my position, it’ll be because I’m not as good, and not because my SEO strategy etc. don’t hold up!

  • Which social media platforms do you use to diffuse your posts other than Twitter?

I’m lucky to have Christina Andreou to translate and edit my articles in English, and then I publish them on LinkedIn. I also publish my French articles on LinkedIn. I’ve also used platforms which specialise in social responsibility (2degrees, CSRWire). The advantage is that they publicise your articles for you, and I appreciate this form of ‘external approval’ of my articles.

In any case, I think the right approach is to target professional networks, given the nature of the articles I post.

  • Technology watch is a big part of a blogger’s work. Which tools do you use to gather articles and subjects which interest you?

I find my information on Twitter, through 3 lists I’ve created. If you follow the right people, you really can get quality content! But of course, it takes a while to identify who the right people are.

Once I’ve found a good article, if I don’t read it straight away then I use Evernote Clipper to save it, and then read it later. And if it’s really very good, I take notes in a Moleskine, pencil and paper, old school style! I rely on my Moleskine a lot when writing my articles. I find it also helps to take notes by hand when I want to get my ideas in order.

  • Can you tell us an amazing anecdote about something that’s happened to you thanks to your blog or Twitter?

A few months ago, a famous hip-hop artist contacted me on Twitter! He wanted me to help him to ‘connect the dots’ for a project he’s doing. It was pretty surreal to have a Skype conversation with someone who’s been nominated for several Grammy Awards!

Generally, I quite often receive invitations from big companies who want to present their social responsibility initiatives. Which is, in itself, pretty extraordinary when I think that I started just over 4 years ago, with no real big ambitions or strategy!

  • You published your first article on 11th March 2011. Now we’re in July 2015. What’s your challenge for the coming years?

First of all, to stay on track and to maintain my momentum! I’ve realised that it wouldn’t take much for me to stop publishing articles. I can see it happening right now, what with the holidays coming up!

Above all, I’d like to establish a clear editorial policy. At the moment, I write what I want when I want… I think I should better define the identity of my blog. That would certainly help me to position myself better as a consultant, but also, and most of all, to refine my skills in certain areas. That’s what I’m currently working on!

  • Finally, do you have a tip or tips for anyone looking to start a blog in 2015?

You just have to go for it! People often say that they wanted to start a blog, but didn’t know what to write about, or how, etc. I can even remember a young man telling me he’d been thinking about starting a blog for two years! You have to go for it, write about something you’re passionate about, and see what happens! Having also worked in the academic world, I can see that writing blog articles is something that can be done freely, without restrictions, compared to what’s possible in other areas… and you can easily make changes along the way!

A big thank you to Julien for answering our questions! You can follow him on his blog, or on Linkedin and Twitter