Content is everywhere, I mean everywhere. You may have heard Eric Schmidt from Google say back in 2010 that every two days we now create as much information as we did from the dawn of civilization up until 2003. And guess what, that pace has only intensified.
The driving force behind this is ‘user generated’ or ‘social’ content, content that people like you and I create to share with others. Of course this has had a huge impact on intranets and the information they now contain. But before we get too deep in this, let’s go back to basics.
What does your business want from your intranet?
Fundamentally the intranet needs to underpin the objectives of your business. Intranets stop being useful when they cease to serve a purpose, content needs to exist that reinforces this.
Does your intranet need to?
- Help connect and engage with staff
- Share knowledge and understanding
- Centralise information storage
- Streamline business processes
If your organisations has a lot of distributed workers then the content requirements may be different from a business run from a single location. Your intranet may be supporting the merger of two organisations or departments, in which case content that reinforces branding and product information needs to be readily available.
What intranet content is available?
Intranet content can be broken down into three types:
- Content that is produced by colleagues
- Content that is produced by the business
- Content that is automatically produced by links to other business or external systems
Content that is produced by colleagues is often referred to as user generated or social. Intranets are usually a great repository for this information which could be blog posts, videos, status updates even comments people make on content. Social content needs to be governed, and how much exists on your intranet will be based on your organisation’s culture and the objectives of your intranet.
Content that is produced by the business could be seen as ‘traditional’ intranet content. We shouldn’t make the mistake that this content doesn’t matter or isn’t relevant any more. Company documents, business news, events, videos (of company activities, latest promotions and client interviews), policies and procedures can be useful to your audience. The intranet provides a central place to store this and for people to access it.
Finally content could also come in through links to other business systems. KPIs (key performance indicators) are one example of this but equally so are RSS feeds, weather or traffic information. This information is usually automatically updated outside the intranet, with the intranet used as a central hub for users to view it.
What content shouldn’t go on my intranet?
Just as much as some content should be on your intranet there is also content that definitely shouldn’t. Content that is out of date or not relevant any more are prime examples of this. Relevance is really the key.
Content audits are great exercises to assess this. During the content audit you will note what content you have, what content you are missing and what content is simply not relevant any more. You will also identify who owns what, who is responsible for either keeping content up to date or curating it.
Ultimately, intranet content continuously evolves. It changes with the needs of your colleagues and with the requirements of your business. Content can be the lifeblood of your intranet but if mismanaged it can also be its ultimate downfall.
If you are struggling with your intranet content, get in touch through our intranet consultancy page. We often run content audit and card sorting events to help you create a content plan for your intranet.