Blogging in 2016: community, how to explainers, and personal stuff

Lessons from the most popular content on my blog in 2016 and looking forward to 2017.

More than 50,000 individuals have visited my blog in 2016. Many came back more than once.

The benefit of blogging in 2016 is the opportunity to think out loud, share ideas and meet new people. It has become a personal shop window for media comment and speaking opportunities.

I’ve three lessons from reviewing the most popular content by traffic.

  1. A blog is a beautiful community. It’s my community built via comments, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.We’ve debated the future of media, public relations, the US election and the European Union. Guest writers have written about the Middle East, mental health and SnapChat.We’ve raised money for the Sunshine Fund and supported the We, North Tyneside foodbank project.
  1. How-to and learning and development articles continue to be found by search long after posting. 30% of traffic to my blog comes via organic SEO. Six of the top ten posts are more than 12 months old and have an average read time of several minutes.
  2. My middle age post (see #4 below) continues to be one of the most popular thing I’ve ever written, books included. Writing more personal, first person content was a goal for 2015. I’ve failed. It’s hard.

I started writing contrarian content about marketing and public relations for The Drum this year. It’s enabled me to reach a much wider audience.

I’m going to try and open source more content in 2017. What would you like me to write about? Please add notes and comments to this Google document.

Here are my top ten posts for 2016.

#1 Public relations in 2016: 16 areas of change

The issues and people that will make a difference to public relations in 2016. Here are 16 areas that I’m thinking about in my day job in marketing, public relations and social media at Ketchum.

#2 Public relations

A description of modern public relations practice and a vision for the future.

#3 Grunig revisited: digital communication and the Four Models of Public Relations

A blog post from 2012 exploring how digital communication fits with Grunig’s Four Models of Public Relations.

#4 Wisdom of middle age: 45 lessons at age 45

Lessons from the first 45 years of my life written on my birthday in 2015.

#5 Marketing vs public relations vs human resources: what’s the difference?

The lines between marketing, public relations and human resources may be blurring but the fundamentals remain constant.

#6 UK government agency spotlights disclosure in online ads and sponsored content

Advertisers that breach consumer protection law online when working with influencers are under greater scrutiny than ever.

#7 My mobile phone knows more about me than my family

Your phone knows your every move. It almost certainly knows your whereabouts better than your partner or family.

#8 Guest post: 10 essential skills for the future PR practitioner

Recent graduate Jarrod Williams shares his view of 10 skills for anyone looking to make their mark in public relations.

#9 How to modernise a public relations agency or communication team

A blog post and paper tackles the opportunities and challenges for our profession as we face up to modernity and the role of public relations in organisational management leadership.

#10 Vexed by vexatious Freedom of Information (FOI) requests

The Freedom of Information Act is being tested in the small village of Rothbury in Northumberland.

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Stephen Waddington

Partner and Chief Engagement Officer, Ketchum and Visiting Professor in Practice, Newcastle University.

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