How the USO’s Internal Blog Superseded its Newsletter

How the USO’s Internal Blog Superseded its Newsletter

For years, the USO’s internal communications network was comprised of a periodic newsletter that was written and edited by one person and distributed to all the centers via email. Printed out, the newsletter was about 30 pages long, explained Em Hall, currently Marketing Manager for Zipcar, but she used to work for the USO.
At the USO, Hall helped remove that one person internal communications bottleneck and convert it into a WordPress blog. Now members from USO’s 65 centers around the world can submit their stories directly to the internal blog, and see their content immediately, instead of having to send it to a single editor who only could publish a limited amount of material.
To juice participation, Hall produced some basic video tutorials, and wrote up one-page instructions for simple things like how to insert a video into a blog post.
The results were fantastic. People who had never submitted anything to the internal newsletter were all of a sudden submitting personal essays and videos to the internal blog. The USO was getting content that they had never before seen. This content was then used for other external purposes like PSA and fundraising campaigns.
How to make the internal newsletter-to-blog conversion
Hall offers the three following points of advice for any organization looking to create a socially engaged internal communications platform.
1. Have someone technical take the lead: Whether you’re creating an internal blog, Sharepoint site, or launch Yammer, you need someone who is comfortable working with these tools to spearhead the project.
2. Mine existing resources: Don’t try to start from scratch. Chances are you’ve already got a lot of content. See what you have already in terms of stories, pictures, and videos.
3. Let contributors know that leadership is watching: That may require you to actually alert leadership as to what’s happening on the blog. If they’re not checking out the site, email them to let them know about significant updates.
“Giving recognition internally is often more important than any accolades one could receive outside,” Hall said.