7 valuable tips to keep content on your intranet updated and relevant.
Most intranets have grown organically over time, leading to thousands or tens of thousands of pages of content, maintained by multiple authors across the organisation.
There is no magical solution that will guarantee quality intranet content, but there are practical ways to improve and maintain the quality of your intranet content gradually. This article gives you 7 steps to start improving your intranet content.
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When users log on to the intranet, they expect to see the latest news and the content most relevant to them. Therefore, content should be relevant and up-to-date.
One thing is to write new and relevant content; another is to maintain the existing content. You might have outdated or irrelevant content on your intranet that draws attention away from the new content that you publish. Or, perhaps there are no rules for adding new content, which results in content chaos on the intranet.
Taking time away from your usual tasks can be frustrating. So, how do you optimise the content that you already have, and keep the intranet manageable and relevant for your organisation or department?
The 7 steps for optimising intranet content are outlined here:
- Create an overview of the intranet
- Prioritise the content on the intranet
- Old content: throw it out or pass it along
- Update outdated content
- Categorise content
- Create a new hierarchy for the intranet
- Devise a strategy for future maintenance of the intranet
1. Create an overview of the intranet
Start by making an overview of all of your content. Review pages, folders, and documents. You can type the file names in an excel sheet to get a picture of what kind of content you have. An overview will make it easier to handle the content, while also prioritising and structuring it.
2. Prioritise the content on the intranet
Once you have an overview, assign managers from each department or business unit to join you in the process of optimising the intranet. Ask them to define what is important for their department in their workday. Ask them to point out documents and files that make sense to their department or business unit.
If you have a mature intranet with a lot of content, having each department manager or business unit decide what needs to go and what needs to stay will make the prioritisation task easier. Assigned department managers are responsible for maintaining their designated areas of the site, instead of one person maintaining the entire company intranet. This way, you make sure that the users of the content are the ones who are responsible for evaluating it.
Prioritisation will make it easier for you to order the content and keep everyone updated on what content is available.
Including department managers will inspire you as to what type of content you should focus on in the future. Assigning the task of optimising the intranet to each business unit makes it possible to look through all of the content and define what content is important, what is not important, and what needs an update.
Start with the content of highest importance to most staff, and you can quickly see the benefits. This way, you can allocate resources to prioritised tasks and work your way through the intranet masses, instead of trying to fix the whole intranet at once.
Information that is central to the organisation and the intranet, including key resources for staff and core corporate information, includes:
- Corporate policies and procedures
- Front-line support materials
- Corporate communications
- Contact information for all employees
Since the entire organisation uses this information, it needs to be accurate, carefully written, and well-structured. It should be kept up-to-date and in sync with organisational changes. Unlike the content that should be updated by each department, assign one central colleague the responsibility of updating corporate information regularly, to make sure that the information is always up-to-date and accurate. The reason is that employees have to be able to trust the information they see on the intranet.
3. Old content: Throw it out or pass it along
All of the content that you have marked as not important should either be deleted, archived, or moved to another department that might use it. Start by removing everything that is not supposed to stay. Make sure that you do not delete anything if you are not sure what should be deleted. Pass content along to relevant employees who will be able to decide if they can use the content, or if they can find it a new place to stay. Perhaps something in your marketing department can be used by HR, who knows?
Besides evaluating content, make policies for who and when to delete intranet content that is no longer in use. When it comes to keeping your intranet useful and fresh, it is crucial to identify content that is outdated.
To avoid intranets from clogging up from unused content, you need to set up criteria for evaluating content. The criteria can be:
- The expiration date - to notify the content author that their content is old and that they need to act, either by repurposing the content, updating it, archiving it, or deleting it if the content is of no use.
- Last use data - to ascertain when the content was last accessed. Last use data gives an idea of whether the content is, in fact, being used or not. However, do not rely solely on data, because some content might not be used as often for a reason.
4. Update inadequate or outdated contentYou have probably encountered pieces of content that were once relevant, but are now outdated. It can also be content that needs rewriting before it makes sense to you. Mark all content that has some potential and assign a colleague to give it a "makeover."
Ask your colleagues to improve the content by making the copy better.
The best practice for making content easier to read and locate is:
- Keep your title short and relevant
- Add a summary of key points from the content
- Add visuals (picture or video)
- Avoid jargon, as not all employees understand it
5. Categorise contentWhen you have removed all redundant content, look at what is left. Can you identify any patterns that you can use as categories, which also make sense for your department? Be aware that there can be big differences in content.
You might have dynamic content that covers your news, posts, comments, and activities. Further, there is the static content that covers reports, templates, policies, and guides. Categorise your intranet, so that the two types of content do not get mixed up.
Workshop for intranet content:
Each business unit should invite key employees to this this workshop, where they discuss the content and structure on the intranet. Write all current content on Post-Its: documents, folders, pages.
- Ask your key employees to prioritise the content and stick them on a wall or whiteboard.
- Ask key employees to rename content if the name does not make sense in its current form.
- Bring blank Post-Its if there is content (pages, files, folders) missing on the intranet.
- Structure the Post-Its to make the best possible hierarchy
Once you have this set, you hopefully have a well-defined structure with relevant content that is useful for your business unit.