Photos de Harry Potter, Ron Weasley et Hermione Granger (film)

How my command of English help me learn

Ever since the age of five – or maybe that day in nursery school when I believe I learned the names of the colors is just a dream – I have always loved English.

So much so that, many years later in 2003, I spent the best part of my spare time taking a course in French English translation with the British Institute in Paris. Just because I liked it. I passed the exam, I got the certificate… and never practised as a professional (nor otherwise) translater of course.

Anyway, it has been a while since I started reading novels in English on a regular basis (The latest Harry Potter as soon as it came out…). Now I also read articles and listen to podcasts. I have started subscribing to MOOCs in English too : I am currently trying to catch up on this one on New energy technologies while considering taking that upcoming one about smart cities (edited 18.01.21 : I did, but dropped it).

And, shortly before Trump’s election, as it happened, I signed up for a paid subscription to the New York Times, which I have kept ever since as a way of support (did you known it only costs $4/month ?). Not that I read it thoroughly every day, of course. Actually I am not so fond of their often lengthy articles (edited 18.01.21 : I unsubscribed. Now I listen to podcasts on NPR instead).

No need to spend a year abroad. Just by practising at home have I come to now effortlessly understand spoken and written English. And this is great. This skill not only gives me access to a lot of information, tips and insights from overseas, but it comes with the pleasure of exploring an ever extending realm of linguistic knowledge.

But enough of this. I just wanted to share a few of the websites and podcasts that I regularly visit or listen to.
On getting clients

Blue Penguin Development. This is Michael Katz’s website, a solopreneur in Hopkinton near Boston I’ve been following since 2006. He taught me a lot about newsletters, helped me come up with the monthly Parlons Commerce Newsletter in 2010, which has now reached its 73rd issue (June 2017). His own newsletter today is called The Likeable Expert’s Gazette : « a twice-monthly newsletter on getting better clients more easily ». It also comes as a podcast. It is often quite funny.

High-income business writing. This one is Ed Gandia’s, my new marketing mentor, from Georgia, USA. He too is on this niche of helping freelancers develop their business, with courses like How to get better clients and Warm emailing. He has devised smart techniques which he shares step by step  on audio files and pdf.

On marketing

PNR withThis Old Marketing. This podcast is hosted by Joe Pulizzi, founder of the Content Marketing Institute (lots of resources there), and Robert Rose, chief content strategist. Every week, Joe and Robert discuss the latest content marketing news, also sharing their « Rants and Raves ». You’ll hear a lot about Facebook, Google, Netflix, the New York Times and major US firms (edited 18.01.21 : they ended the podcast a few weeks ago).

Content Inc. This one is Joe Pulizzi’s solo podcast. It’s a weekly 5-minute podcast designed to teach you one key lesson each episode. Very clear and concise, and sort of obvious even if he sets the bar high. Always ends with « Good luck ! »

The story of telling. That’s Bernadette Jiwa’s website. An authority in the global world of marketing, she helps companies big and small to succeed by building story-driven brands. She’s brilliant. Don’t miss her short and insightful stories on her blog.

On copywriting

Hot Copy Podcast: Secrets of successful copywriters. Hosted by Belinda Weaver and Kate Toon, two copywriters in Sydney. Very hands-on, with themes like « Expert tips on writing e-mail subject lines that get opened fast ». Just the right dose of girlishness to make it fun.

Confessions of a Pink-Haired Marketer has now stopped but you can still listen to Sonia Simone’s mix of monologues, interviews, and answers to content marketing questions. She now has a new podcast called Copyblogger FM that to me is about the same. Sonia Simone sounds a little motherly, but she’s an artist at analyzing problems and delivering advice and I like her soothing tone of voice.

Copyblogger is not only a podcast but an education company for copywriters and content marketers, with a lot of free material too. They give you « instant access to nearly 100,000 words of proven marketing training in [their] ebooks », as they put it. I haven’t counted the words, but I think they may be right.

Rough Drafts is a collection of 102 episodes created by Demian Farnworth on how to write, mainly for marketing purposes. He goes through every trick used by writers to make their stories captivating and their copywriting selling and he does it in a very personal story telling way. An addictive « daily dose of essentiel writing », 6 to 12 minutes each.


The Recipe for SEO Success. Clear and friendly advice by humorous copywriter and SEO expert Kate Toon. It might even make me want to take care of my own website’s SEO (I mean really take care), but I have kept it to listening to the podcast so far.

On management

HBR Ideacast. This podcast is produced by the Harvard Business Review and hosted by Sarah Green Carmichael, and excellent interviewer who clearly does her homework. Every week for 30 minutes or so she interviews the author of a recent article of the review. They may be professors, researchers, HR executives, managers… and they talk about their research or their job. Always interesting and informative.

Photo by Karen Roe on Flickr