In June, Hicks Morley launched its first external blog, “Human Resources Legislative Update”. The blog replaces a monthly newsletter on legislative changes in human resources law that was sent to clients by email and posted on our website. The downside of the newsletter format was that by the time it was published, it was often already out of date due to the frequency of legislative changes and updates. We needed a time-sensitive solution that was accessible 24/7 to our legislative writers, provided a quick and easy publishing solution and gave readers the ability to ask questions or leave comments. The Knowledge Management Group had already successfully launched an internal blog that had similar features, so we proposed an external blog to our Executive.
As I was writing this column, a blog entry by Sean D’Souza entitled “5 Reasons Why No One Is Reading Your Email Newsletter” appeared on Twitter and LinkedIn. The five reasons included: content which was not useful and involved self promotion; using a voice that is not compelling; lack of structure; lack of communication regarding certain actions; and lack of frequency.
Our blog business case addressed many of the same issues, including the structure and content of blog entries, target audience, frequency of updates, the proposed bloggers, the accessibility of the blog platform and the ability to moderate and respond to readers’ comments. It also included a recommendation to outsource the blog design to a vendor that specializes in developing and hosting legal blogs.
The content was ideal for the firm’s first foray into the blogging sphere because it was factual and authoritative. Each blog entry would be a short, succinct summary of the legal change and its impact on our readers. Blog posts would be targeted to a niche audience interested in specific legislative developments that could also be found through topics and tags. The postings would be frequent due to constant legislative changes at both the federal and provincial levels.
The proposed bloggers were Knowledge Management lawyers who are subject matter experts, and authors of both the legislative newsletter and the internal blog. They were already familiar with wikis and blogs and excited about a blog platform that would expedite the publishing process and be available after hours and outside the office.
We launched in June, with content dating back to April, and have added entries at least once a week since the launch (even though the federal and provincial governments are not sitting through the summer!).
Two months after the launch, we have found the blog to be a perfect alternative to the legislative newsletter. It is a live, instantaneous forum for internal and external stakeholders interested in legislative developments. The short summaries on our blog complement the in-depth analysis and commentary in the publications that are emailed to clients and posted on our website. Readers have the flexibility of receiving blog updates through RSS feeds, email notifications or by visiting the site. Blogs are the perfect platform for niche audiences, for content that is constantly changing and for facilitating a greater opportunity for dialogue with readers.