7 valuable tips to keep content on your intranet updated and relevant
It can be difficult to keep an overview of the content on your intranet. This blog post helps you get an overview on how to improve your existing content.
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.
Let's get started!
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 You might have outdated or irrelevant content on your intranet that draws attention away from the new content that you publish.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.
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- Update outdated content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.
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.
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 content
You 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 content
When 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.
6. Create a hierarchy on the intranet
Look at the overall categories and then move on to making a hierarchy of the content, so that it relates to each other in the best possible way. Perhaps some of the content should be in certain folders, while some content should stay in sub-folders. To get an easy overview, try drawing the hierarchy on a piece of paper or whiteboard.
7. A strategy for future maintenance of the intranet
When everything has been cleaned up, thrown away, and optimised, the last step is to find a way to keep the intranet neat and tidy.
To avoid the annual spring cleaning and to save valuable time, you will need to develop a strategy for how, when, and where you publish content. You already have folders and sub-folders, but make sure that everyone knows the exact functions of the folders, and how to upload. Establish an authoring community, where a set of employees in each business unit is responsible for the content and keeps folders updated. You could also make a habit of checking for outdated content when you and your colleagues publish new content.
Finally, you should make sure that the content that you publish is relevant to you, the department, and your colleagues. Ask yourself who the recipients are, why it is relevant, and what value it will bring.
Invest in a all in-one software that will help you perfect your digital presence
This approach is what we call, the good old fashioned way. It is a manual process where you make sure to keep a close eye on each piece of content. However, there are many different solutions that can help you with the same matter. A lot of the Colibo customers use the Management tool, Siteimprove, which works for both websites and intranets. The tool helps keep track of what content performs the best, it detect dead links, spelling mistakes and helps optimize SEO.