The well-established and freshly redesigned Canadian Securities Law, from Stikeman Elliott, is a great example of how a traditional newsletter can evolve, via blogging, into something much more valuable.

Steered by the securities and knowledge management lawyers at the firm, the blog focuses on Canadian securities law relating to corporate finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. While they initially wanted to be able to share the same information conveyed in newsletters on a more timely basis, the firm soon realized that blogging opened up options previously unavailable.

"What we have found interesting is that the blog platform has changed both the information we publish and the frequency with which share the information with clients," says Toronto knowledge management lawyer Alex Colangelo, one of the blog’s managers. "The ease with which we can post to a blog has allowed us to publish short pieces of content more frequently then we did in the past while at the same time allowing us to continue publishing our longer analytical pieces."

In other words, the blog has become a source for news, analysis and updates, where their clients can visit or subscribe to stay informed on developments they care about.

We caught up with Alex for this LexBlog Q&A to learn more about what the firm has learned since starting a blog and what advice they’d have for other firms.

See our email exchange with Alex, after the jump.

Lisa Kennelly: Describe the blog’s focus and target audience.

Alex Colangelo: Our blog focuses on Canadian securities law relating to corporate finance, capital markets, mergers and acquisitions and corporate governance. We have always been leaders in communicating new developments to clients with respect to securities regulation and we intended the blog to reach that core constituency, while making it easier for others to find our material as well.

Lisa Kennelly: What were the firm’s goals with this blog starting out, and have they changed over time?

Alex Colangelo: Our goals at the outset were relatively modest. We thought that publishing on a blog would enable us to distribute information that we were publishing in newsletter form out to our clients on a timelier basis. The blog also gave our clients additional options for receiving information from us by providing an RSS feed in addition to traditional email notifications.

What we have found interesting is that the blog platform has changed both the information we publish and the frequency with which share the information with clients. The ease with which we can post to a blog has allowed us to publish short pieces of content more frequently then we did in the past while at the same time allowing us to continue publishing our longer analytical pieces. The blog platform has also enabled us to leverage work we were doing to monitor new developments in securities laws for our lawyers internally and share that with our clients.

Lisa Kennelly: Unlike some blogs, which are more opinion-based, yours serves as more of a news resource. What do you see as both the benefits and challenges of this approach?

Alex Colangelo: Essentially, we see our blog as the logical evolution from our traditional newsletter. That is, anything we publish is intended to alert our readers to important new developments and, where appropriate, provide some thoughtful analysis. We try to ensure that our blog is relatively comprehensive in what we cover, as we provide information on developments occurring in jurisdictions across Canada as well as particularly relevant international developments.

Essentially, our goal is to ensure that those reading our blog regularly are informed as to any significant new developments relating to securities regulation in Canada. Analysis of the issues continues to be important to us and while we may not necessarily provide opinions with respect to every post, analysis is provided where a major development occurs. Ultimately, we’ve tried to provide a balance for those not only looking for a comprehensive resource on securities regulatory developments in Canada, but also those wanting to know what these developments mean and how it will affect them.

Lisa Kennelly: What advice would you give to a firm thinking about starting up a blog?

Alex Colangelo: I think it is important to understand your audience and their needs and expectations as well as your own internal strengths and weaknesses. You need commitment and buy-in from the practice group and lawyers who will be providing the content once you’re up and running and if at all possible, try to leverage existing content and publishing processes.

Lisa Kennelly: What have you learned about blogging that you didn’t expect?

Alex Colangelo: There were a number of things that became apparent once we begin blogging. First, we’ve been happily surprised with the regularity of our posts. We’ve also realized that our readers value the ease with which they can receive updates and find information on the blog.

Interested in hearing more? Recent LexBlog Q & A posts:

Or, see our full list of legal blog interviews.