Our First Year of Blogging

Yesterday was the first anniversary of the first post on this blog so it seems like a good moment to reflect on how it has gone.

At the time we saw it very much as an experiment although now it feels like just another part of the service.  I have to give credit to the team – everyone contributes and this keeps things ticking over even though individual contributions are about one a month.   In fact this is our 50th post so it has worked out at about one a week – this feels about right in terms of the time we want to spend on it and because we only want to highlight the bigger, more interesting items that the Boards are working on.

As a communication and awareness raising tool I think it has worked particularly well – I just checked our stats and found that over the last 12 months we had:

  • 2,347 visits
  • 5, 381 page views
  • 1,216 different people visiting

Most of our posts get read by between 50-100 different people and whilst we may not be an internet sensation it is a vast improvement on the dozen or so who downloaded the PDF newsletter we used to produce before. 

There have been other benefits as well:

  • It has acted as a useful notepad for the team and for the councillors who lead on the different aspects of scrutiny work 
  • Instead of explaining ‘long hand’ about various pieces of work when we email people about them we can simply add links to the relevant post thereby saving time
  • We can easily share presentations – handy for those unable to attend and it brings the topics to life in way that reports and minutes never can

Looking forward we will keep reviewing our use of this blog as part of our wider social media plan.  If you are interested you can find details of that here.

If I have one wish for what we might achieve over the next 12 months it is that we move from pure communication to more conversation.  We have been light on comments so I hope we can improve in that area – I’m particularly impressed by Ask Bristol and would love to have the same level of public input that they get – I will be looking to steal their secrets in the near future!

As far as I know we are still the only scrutiny team in the UK who promote their service in this way – it will be interesting to see if there are any others one year from now!

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