Labor and employment law firm Ford & Harrison always is seeking new ways to reach its audience, primarily HR directors at employment companies.
Interested in using a different medium to offer a unique take on relevant topics, it decided to begin a blog focused on NBC's The Office.
"We didn't want something that would just be another voice saying the same thing," says John Hellerman, president of Hellerman Baretz Communications, the firm that handled the campaign.
One of the main concerns was the general clutter of the market, particularly legal blogs, many of which weren't known as very riveting or high-traffic reads. Knowing that placing a blog on the firm's Web site would yield few readers, Hellerman Baretz made the strategic decision to ask a popular HR publisher, M. Lee Smith, to host the blog on Web site HRHero.com. "We just thought this was another way to communicate the importance of some of the HR issues that are highlighted in The Office, but keeping it lighthearted and fun, " says Lynne Donaghy, director of marketing at Ford & Harrison.
Looking for a hook that would drive readership, the team chose to run a weekly feature that put a litigation dollar amount on the actions of the episode's characters. Preparing for the launch, Hellerman Baretz knew its host site already guaranteed an HR industry readership, so beyond a traditional media campaign, it reached to other blogs for links.
The blog took off like wildfire, garnering more than 100 press mentions from such outlets as The New York Times and BusinessWeek. Following a mention on NBC's The Office blog message boards, the site now averages 12,000 unique hits a day.
Though the show is now on hiatus, Ford & Harrison intends to keep up the blog, combining rerun write-ups with guest blogging from some of its lawyers.
Ford & Harrison
PR team: Ford & Harrison (Atlanta) and Hellerman Baretz Communications (Washington)
Campaign: Must Sue TV
Duration: November 2006 to February 2007
Budget: About $40,000