Building Great Content for Your Intranet
Building a new Intranet from scratch, doing a major uplift introducing a significant adjustment, or want to fill out one of those awesome look book designs with your own content - but struggling for ideas and possible sources of content to include? This article will go through the possible sources of content, content patterns and ideas to get you started.
Content Sources and Ideas
Quite often, in projects we've been part of, we ask clients to consider news, events, department pages, and areas of relevance as this aligns to the structure and page templates proposed in initial design when building a new intranet. You might be asking yourself, what does this mean, what kinds of content can be considered news or events, department or special pages? What other content can I include? Where would I look?
News content provides a focus point for higher frequency content creation and updates to keep the organization informed and engaged. This location presents a massive opportunity to keep communication flowing, build community and culture, and keep people informed about what is happening.
But what kind of information would that possibly be:
- Organization Changes and Leadership Messages - Keep everyone up to date with organization changes, strategies, areas of improvement, or deprecated offerings. This can be quite broad and content of this type is likely to come from organization, department, or team leaders.
- Positive Wins - Promote positivity from company or people successes, client success stories (if shared on website, link them internally), contract or new customer wins. Showcase stories from people working with customers to show the effect they have on the world.
- Welcome New People - Make new people feel welcomed by promoting them in news articles. This not only makes them feel like they are being introduced but people are also more aware of that person and their role, providing opportunities to contact and build relationships.
- Quotes or Day in the Life - Show people what it is like to be in the field working with customers, giving that deeper connection and understanding of their role with people inside and outside the organization.
- Promoting Services - Highlight services or existence of service catalogues to show people what you offer as an organization. When they engage with customers they can promote services beyond their own areas.
- Event Highlights - Build up excitement for events, conferences, and encourage groups of people to meet.
- Lessons Learned - Not necessarily the most positive subject but if a project didn't go well, describe what went wrong and how to improve in future projects. You may have to redact the people and project name to avoid starting a blame game and impacting their internal reputation.
- Internal Events or Schemes - Have internal events, use the news feature as a way to promote and build that excitement for the event, describe when this is happening, what to expect, who may be attending e.g. broad groups, even consider embedding a Yammer web part to stir up cross-team meet-ups and engagement.
- Internal Post-Event Write Ups - Don't let the end of the event be the end, consider collecting statements from people to help those that didn't attend get a feel what it was like, the best parts, worst parts (but keep it light), and when the next event is likely to happen.
- External Events Post-Event Write Ups - For those companies actively involved with running external events, conferences, meet-ups, promotions - let people know about them, how they can participate in future events, what it was like, who attends, success stories, quotes from attendees, and photos to form a great examples of content.
- Business Process Changes - Employees are navigating to the intranet to follow routine business processes. When there are changes to this process, posting the updates on the intranet will ensure there is one place to look.
There far more examples of types of news content you can promote, once you start creating news content and publishing it all, keep it flowing, and encourage for people to suggest articles to help keep it fresh, informative, and exciting.
Events can come in many forms, some of the examples include:
- Town Halls - Company-wide events that are intended for the whole company to either attend or participate. List these to promote their time.
- Lunch and Learns - Small events designed to knowledge share in either a team or company side around the lunch period. Bring that social aspect to learning something together and asking questions.
- External Events - List external events the organization is hosting will invite those internally to contribute or attend in support.
- Days That Are In Support of a Cause - Bring specific days of importance in awareness, promote what the organization is doing to support them, and the meaning of the event serving as a promotion of the event and bringing awareness to the organization. E.g. World Soil Day, World Braille Day or National Spaghetti Day.
- Training Days - Days in which you are training people or running learning events. This gives people the opportunity to subscribe and learn about a technology to further their skills.
- Informal Events - Events that people run that the company promotes e.g. Christmas party, socials, clubs, conferences where the company is not present but maybe of interest. Consider giving people some guidelines on what can be promoted.
This type of content has a focus on people. There are many types of content that could be classed as related to people so here are a few examples:
- New Starters, Leavers, and Movers - Listing out the changes in the organization to let people know who they can contact and collaborate with.
- Health and Wellbeing - Providing information about the resources and support that people can receive, organizational initiatives, programs, contact points, and documentation of the support they can use.
- Education, Learning and Growth - Building people by describing the resources available to them, opportunities to learn, more detail around training services, events, and ways they can participate with others in community learning.
- Community Resources - describe ways to connect with other people, the communities available, technology to connect others in hybrid working like Teams and Yammer. Communities can extend externally, connecting with other groups of like minded people around the world e.g. Patterns and Practices, Partner Communities, and Champions Networks.
- People Stories - Bring those stories of success, challenges overcome, or bring that human life to your content with people stories. Let people get to know each other, their story to share with everyone, learn how other people tackle issues, challenges, and their wins.
- Behavior Management - Provide guidance in what is acceptable and professional behaviors setup those inclusive and cultural expectations. Share how to report inappropriate behaviors, policies, and support frameworks to allow people to feel like they have a voice.
- Leadership Blog - Give leadership a space to provide their stories, plans, goals for the organization, get to know those who run the organization, and highlight company-wide success.
- Performance - Describe how the company manages performance, goals, areas that require improvement, measurements, and reports.
- Inclusion and Equality - Area to promote, give guidance, support, and foster a healthy environment including all staff.
The topic is very broad but look for that content that people value, ask in surveys and get feedback, to include ideas from around the organization.
Static and Library Content
There are times in which you need to provide people with reference material (content that remains fairly static and does not change often but is important for people to be aware of) to know that these resources exist and they are published internally for use.
- Policies - These are your corporate policies and outlined processes for core principles, business operations, and functions e.g. privacy, expenses, holiday, IT, data handling, social media, client engagement, escalation processes, exception handling.
- Public People Profiles - For those organizations that have people meeting customers, a summary profile about that person.
- Public People Pictures - Images of employees for brochures, literature, newsletters, articles, highlighting that person.
- Brochure and Marketing Content - Content you provide your customers when people meet them, this would be accessible to all people in your organization to have access to approved content to share with customers.
- Service Descriptions and Offerings - Content related to what you offer as an organization, to promote your services, easily accessible for employees to share with customers. In some cases, these are on a website, so the content would best as links in your intranet to share with employees highlighting that resource.
- Technical Manuals or Procedures - Resources related to technical information or procedural information, standard operating procedures, as an open resource for employees to utilize and reference. This content may also list out areas of subscriptions to third-party or external resources that your organization subscribes to.
- Reference Resources - Central library of references and resources that people can refer to, useful in reducing duplicate costs for similar subscriptions as well as useful resource of what is available to use.
Consider the landing pages of your sites (e.g. homepages, section and sub-sections) that may be represented as home pages in sites. These are your sign-posts for resources in that topic, area, or department that are most prominent, important for staff to be aware of. If, for example, you are looking for suggestions for a department, like Information Technology, here is some content you could write about:
- Describe the Department - What does that area of the business do, this is your front door, what would you say.
- Provide Links - The most important resources that people should be aware of, e.g. FAQs, links to external resources, policies, documents or guidance.
- Business Owner or Representative - Talk about how they lead that department, a quote or a phrase to introduce themselves, and the goals of the department.
- Get to Know the Team - Describe who the leaders are in this area, contacts, engagement points for how to contact people.
- Events - Listing out relevant events for the area of the business e.g. Cyber Security Training, Ask Me Anything events, Genius Bar style drop-in events.
- Surface Related Content - Let people know there is new content or pages to perform specific tasks or functions.
Consider this as your shop window to your team. How can you help your readers?
Finally, external sources of information, where this may be a variety of content on the internet such as:
- Professional Bodies - Listing out the organizational relevant content
- External News - This may include your website, if you directly publish content. Internalizing it will promote this to people.
- External Websites and References - Listing out those common areas of reference to external content, consider providing a way for people to search, suggest new references, remove old ones if links break (although this could be automated).
- Partners - Describe the partnerships you have with other organizations, how to engage with them, what types of services or products can they offer.
These resources are ideas and suggestions to use if you struggle with thinking about what to write about. They are potential ideas to grow your content and keep it fresh for staff.
You can help
This article is intended as a guide, however if you have suggestions or content ideas that you would like to add, consider submitting a pull request to include your insights into this article.
Principal author: Paul Bullock