What has happened in the world of internal communication over the past decade? Well if you’re a regular reader, you’ll know, as I’m celebrating my blog’s 10th birthday this week.

I’ve written a million words about internal communication since creating my blog in March 2009, which equates to 10 books!

Whether this is the first time you’ve stopped by or you’ve lost count of the number of articles you’ve read here, thank you. Thank you to everyone who has read, shared and commented on my blog since its launch. It’s been quite a journey.

The numbers bit

I decided to dig into the stats in the backend of my website to analyse them and reflect on what a decade of writing about internal communication reveals about the industry. They show how the conversations have changed over the years and an increased demand for longer content.

You can see them collated visually below, I’ve extracted the number of posts, how many words, average length and hot topics.

The million words consists of 930,988 published words to date and the rest are in draft form.

I’ve written over a million words, but why haven’t I published them all? My drafts (72 at current count) are usually left in that folder when I’ve changed my mind about publishing something, I’m waiting for the best time to make it live or they contain half-formed ideas and notes. I regularly check in and publish/update/delete as appropriate.

After reviewing the stats this week, I predict I’ll probably hit the million words published mark in Autumn 2019 as I’ve already published 29,329 words this year. Thank you to Ste Davies, who I shared my visual findings with, for realising I’ve nearly hit a million words. It feels like a significant milestone.

The beginning

If I look at the screen grab of my original WordPress site and see Life through a 2.0 lens, I’m proud of it. It’s not how I would write or present articles today, but it represents the evolution of how I’ve seen the world and my knowledge of internal communication.

It also documents nearly a quarter of my life and existed way before my children and business did.

I created my blog in 2009 to share interesting information I found, give my views and provide a space to document what I discovered.

Now, in March 2019, its purpose largely remains the same. But hearing from readers and featuring their views as guest posts has been an important evolution.

Tip: It is ok to evolve your style, topics and branding and not have it totally nailed at launch.

How many words?

My average word count has gone up drastically, it was 350 in 2009 and my posts regularly tip 1000+words now, my average this year for example is 1128 words per post.

This wasn’t done with SEO in mind (although it undoubtedly helps with search rankings to have so many articles focusing on the niche of internal comms!). I know my blog is recommended reading for students who are studying IC, which I’m proud of.

What IC pros are interested in

Topics have ranged from social media and social business to change comms, employee engagement, strategic IC and wellbeing.

The first few years were focused on how to use social media for internal communication, which coincided with the launch of Yammer (which began in 2008) and the research I was doing for my post-graduate diploma in Internal Comms Management. I regularly go back to the course as a guest speaker, which I enjoy doing. I’m looking forward to meeting the Masters level cohort in London next week to lead the module on knowledge management.

Registrations are open for the 2019/20 qualification, delivered in partnership between the Institute of Internal Communication and Solent University.

Nowadays I write about everything IC related and what impacts organisations, from trust and mental health and wellbeing in the workplace, to strategic internal comms, change comms and employer branding.

Here’s a glimpse at the lifespan of my blog…

Who’s reading?

Starting a blog is one of the best decisions I’ve made and it has brought the world of internal communication closer to me as visitors from around the globe have got in touch, shared their stories and contributed to the body of work on the site.

Did I think I’d still be writing it 10 years later?

Yes. I’m not surprised as I love writing, but the iteration of the site’s name, content and look and feel charts a chapter of my life I’m proud of.

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to my blog over the past decade, I love sharing this platform with the IC pros who are making waves in their workplace and giving your efforts a boost through the popularity of my site.

Don’t forget to download your badge to add to your own site or LinkedIn profile. Have you got a story to share? Please read my guidelines first before getting in touch with your idea.

How to know if blogging is for you

In my 1000th blog post back in 2017 I shared my top 10 lessons about blogging:

Here are my top 10 lessons:

  1. Give yourself time to evolve
  2. Find your niche
  3. Be picky
  4. Write evergreen content
  5. Reuse your thoughts
  6. Overcome writer’s block
  7. Find content ideas
  8. Ask for feedback
  9. Promote your work
  10. Enjoy it.

If you are thinking about starting a blog, it’s never been easier. The platforms are designed to make it super easy. You don’t even need to create a website, you could use the publishing function on LinkedIn. Just go to your profile and choose write an article.

My blog has a virtual trophy cabinet of its own as it has been recognised through various awards, which I’m proud of.

 

What has writing a million words about internal communication taught me? 

So much! But the main thing is that this is the right topic for me.

When you write about something you are truly passionate about – and I mean truly – then you will never run out of ideas. 

I can honestly say I have never sat staring at a blank screen feeling unable to write. Sometimes along the way I’ve lost my blogging mojo, particularly when struggling with mental health concerns when I’ve needed to retreat, but it has also been an avenue and outlet for me to connect with the world.

How to know what to write

I use the search terms on my blog, conversations with clients and Masterclass attendees and keyword tools to help me know what to write.

For example, when researching this article I ran some test topics through answerthepublic,com, which you can see below.

Further reading: How can internal communication be improved? – I’ve shared how I use the site here.

 

Digital Download
I shared the stats with Paul Sutton this week. Regular readers will know I appeared on his Digital Download podcast last year. We were comparing stats and years and I was interested to note that when I had two newborn twins and a two-year-old toddler in the house, my rate of blogging didn’t dip. I joked with him that writing kept me sane.

Writing has always been my outlet and way of making sense of the world. When I had three young children and was on maternity leave, it was my way of keeping connected with the IC world on my terms.

Further reading: Paul is hosting his Digital Download Live event again this year, I went a couple of years ago and recommend it.

If you are thinking about blogging, go for it.

How to know if your blog topic is right for you…

Write 10 headlines about your chosen topic or niche.

Then 10 more.

Then 10 more.

Stuck? It’s not the right topic. Try again. Keep going until you have oodles of ideas. Only when you find the right topic will the writing flow. It’s how to avoid writer’s block.

Or you can do as I have done and have a name or area which is broad enough (@AllthingsIC existed as my Twitter handle before becoming my blog’s name or my business name. Why? Because my married name was already taken on Twitter when I tried to update it in 2010). This has meant as the industry has ebbed and flowed, I’ve been able to evolve the topics I write about that fit under that niche, which reflects the field of IC today.

I mean I could still be writing about how to use Yammer for internal comms, and sometimes I still do, but as we’ve matured in our understanding of digital channels in the world of organisational communication, it’s been right to keep up.

Further reading: Three technology megatrends you need to know now.

Golden rules
I have stuck to my principles and never accepted payment to blog or had adverts (apart from my Jobs board for industry vacancies).

Thank you to everyone who has been sharing their feedback about how my blog has helped them over the past 10 years. I’ve shared some of them below, I’ve read each one and feel proud to hear how my blog has played a part in your success.

As ever, I’m open to your ideas, do let me know your feedback to help me constantly improve. What would you like to see more of on my blog? Do find me on Twitter @AllthingsIC or feel free to comment below.

Don’t forget to sign up to my monthly newsletter The Water Cooler to receive my monthly digest of the latest goings on in internal comms, including a collation of the blog posts I publish each month.

Thank you for stopping by, here’s to the next decade!

Rachel

First published on the All Things IC blog 21 March 2019.

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