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10 ideas for engaging intranet content

Here are some questions to help you determine types of content you may wish to publish prior to ikno going live within your organization. Keep in mind you are posting information that must also engage and strive to help employees better understand and perform their job function. 

Think about the following:

  1. What is the mission or function of your team? Blog about your team, their primary responsibilities and how they serve internal/external customers.
  2. What are your business-lines objectives? Blog about how your team’s work supports the organization's strategic plan, projects or initiatives.
  3. What common questions do you ask in the course of doing your job? Ask those responsible for answering your questions to post a blog with FAQs
  4. What common questions do colleagues and/or customers ask you? Post FAQs for your own area to cut down repeat questions.
  5. What information does your department/group need to best do its job? Ask those individuals who provide your group information to post all documents, forms, policies, procedures etc.
  6. What information does your department/group have that other departments rely on and need regular access/updates to? Your team should post all documents, forms, policies, procedures etc.
  7. What projects are you and your group currently working on? Publish Blog posts updating the progress of your projects.
  8. What recent accomplishments or major contributions to company goals has your group achieved?
  9. Recognize your team via Blog posts.
  10.  Identify every major document you touch/use during the course of your work and publish a Blog post for each with a brief description of its use and attaching the doc.

Best Practices for Making Your Intranet Posts Engaging

Now that you've written (and rewritten) and proofed what you've written, you want to structure your page so your points are formatted for the online environment. Remember, since it’s often more difficult to read on-screen, you have to take special care to make it easier for your readers to absorb your information.

Content and Style

  • Provide useful information
  • Most people use the web to find information that they can actually use. Make sure that your readers will find your information useful. This means useful for them... not just useful for you
  • Typically, the more specific, the more useful
  • General overview information is fine, and can be extremely helpful. But when people want to act on the information you provide don't just give them a hint, give them all the information they require in order to act, right at the top
  • If the reader can't figure it out immediately, chances are they'll go someplace else
  • It's best to do this at the top of the page, so people can see what they'll get without scrolling
  • People will scroll, but only if they think there's something of interest to them below
  • Make it personal and write conversationally
  • To make it more personal, your tone and writing style should be more casual, more conversational - Not only is this friendlier, but it's also easier to read.

Formatting

  • Always start with the headline—everyone reads them. Condense your most important point down to a one or two-line headline
  • Give 'em the gist of it in the opening paragraph. Distill longer documents down to their most important facts by creating a "summary" at the start of each article/post
  • Use ‘Subheads’ because readers skim headings looking for specific topics If you started by creating an outline, your outline headings will automatically become subheads.
  • Format headings as separate lines—or as a lead-in sentence to a paragraph. Bold text stands out. It's best to use it sparingly, such as for lead-in headings at the start of a paragraph. Bold words scattered inside the text can be confusing.
  • Use italics for emphasis – but not too often. Italics help your reader “hear” the same emphasis you intended. Italics can help make your text sound more conversational. For example, when you read the previous sentence, you emphasized the word "sound" because it was in italics. That can make a big difference in the meaning of what you write. While they can be overused, in general they help ensure that people read things the way you intended.
  • Here are the same words in the same sentence, but italics give each different meanings:
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
    • I said I liked it.
  • People read bulleted text. Condense important points to bulleted lists. Repeat your most important info using “call outs” or “pull quotes” - quotes set larger and often in a different typeface

Best Practices for Writing Posts on Your Intranet

Your computer screen is a far different medium than printed- paper. As such, we read web pages in a different way than we do a newspaper or other paper document.

Rather than reading every word, people tend to scan web pages. A recent study by the Nielsen Norman Group found that “79 percent of test users always scanned any new page they came across; only 16 percent read word-by-word.”

Users also read information displayed on screens 25% slower than they read paper-based documents. Consequently, information on web pages should be condensed by 50% of their print counterparts.

While there are many things to keep in mind, for most web writers, there are certain areas in particular that deserve attention. More than the printed page, web pages need to be designed to be scanned quickly, with frequent rest stops for the eye – after all, you want to ensure people read what you’ve taken the trouble to write.

Writing style

  • Be succinct: text should be limited to 50% of the words you would write in print
  • Writing should follow the ‘inverted pyramid format’ with the most important content at the beginning
  • Use simple sentences and limit the use of metaphors
  • Use humor with caution
  • Use correct spelling and grammar
  • Use plain English when creating links, headings, site names, and forms
  • Avoid jargon

Page elements

  • All pages must include the writer/owner’s name (as an active email link at the bottom), accompanied by their company/department name
  • Each item should include the date at the top
  • Links to other pages should be referred to by name (do not use just the URL)
  • Each page must have clear titles/headlines for proper indexing and bookmarking

Format

  • Content should be left justified, except for callouts/pull quotes
  • Paragraphs should be separated by single spaces
  • Avoid long, continuous blocks of text -- and encourage scanning by breaking up text using short paragraphs, sub-headings, bullets, and call-outs
  • Headlines and listings should be limited to 75 characters including spaces
  • Sentences must be ‘tight’ and limited to 20 to 40 words per sentence (though complex topics may demand more)
  • Explain acronyms – always write out the proper name when it first appears with the acronym in brackets
  • Limit scrolling on a home page or section page – content should not run more than one or two screens
  • All links should be underlined and in blue when not activated and highlighted purple after visited
  • Do not underline text - underlining is reserved for links
  • Do not use ALL CAPS or italics for more than a few words as they are difficult to read

Checklist to complete before you launch ikno to your whole company

To ensure the best chances of 100% engagement, we recommend that all items must be completed prior to company-wide roll-out

  • All Content Admins have successfully logged on and completed the following:
    • Completed their Employee Profile
    • Completed the Survey
  • All Departments have published at least two News Posts with fresh/new content
  • All Departments have published at least three Blog Posts with fresh/new content
  • All Departments have published at least three FAQs Blogs about their functional area(s)
  • All Departments have migrated all prior intranet or Share Drive content to the ikno platform
  • Searched for another Admin using employee search function
    • Via letter of last name
    • Via advanced search
    • Used Site Search function to search for:
      • A News Post
      • A Blog Post
      • An FAQ
      • Commonly needed/used form or document
      • Reported any operational or technical issues found when completing the above

    Best practices for writing engaging intranet content

    Now that you've written (and rewritten) and proofed what you've written, you want to structure your page so your points are formatted for the online environment. Remember, since it’s often more difficult to read on-screen, you have to take special care to make it easier for your readers to absorb your information.

    Content and Style

    • Provide useful information
      • Most people use the web to find information that they can actually use. Make sure that your readers will find your information useful. This means useful for them... not just useful for you
    • Typically, the more specific, the more useful
      • General overview information is fine, and can be extremely helpful. But when people want to act on the information you provide don't just give them a hint, give them all the information they require in order to act, right at the top
    • If the reader can't figure it out immediately, chances are they'll go someplace else
      • It's best to do this at the top of the page, so people can see what they'll get without scrolling
      • People will scroll, but only if they think there's something of interest to them below
    • Make it personal and write conversationally
      • To make it more personal, your tone and writing style should be more casual, more conversational - Not only is this friendlier, but it's also easier to read.

    Formatting

    • Always start with the headline—everyone reads them. Condense your most important point down to a one or two-line headline
    • Give 'em the gist of it in the opening paragraph. Distill longer documents down to their most important facts by creating a "summary" at the start of each article/post
    • Use ‘Subheads’ because readers skim headings looking for specific topics If you started by creating an outline, your outline headings will automatically become subheads.
    • Format headings as separate lines—or as a lead-in sentence to a paragraph. Bold text stands out. It's best to use it sparingly, such as for lead-in headings at the start of a paragraph. Bold words scattered inside the text can be confusing.
    • Use italics for emphasis – but not too often. Italics help your reader “hear” the same emphasis you intended. Italics can help make your text sound more conversational. For example, when you read the previous sentence, you emphasized the word "sound" because t was in italics. That can make a big difference in the meaning of what you write. While they can be overused, in general they help ensure that people read things the way you intended.
    • Here are the same words in the same sentence, but italics give each different meanings:
      • I said I liked it.
      • I said I liked it.
      • I said I liked it.
      • I said I liked it.
      • I said I liked it.
         
    • People read bulleted text. Condense important points to bulleted lists. Repeat your most important info using “call outs” or “pull quotes” - quotes set larger and often in a different typeface your readers will find your information useful. This means useful for them... not just useful for you want to act on the information you provide don't just give them a hint, give them all the information they require in order to act, right at the top scrolling conversational - Not only is this friendlier, but it's also easier to read.

    Best practices for News and Blog posts

    The iKNO Intranet is a knowledge sharing platform - and as content creators we must look at our day-to-day job functions, and the information we create and touch, through that prism. Every day our teams create important and valuable information -- reports, evaluations, accomplishments, plans, policies, procedures, project updates, and much, much more. Let's share as much as we can!

    A knowledgeable workforce is a productive, successful, and motivated workforce. We want our iKNO Intranet to become a valued and valuable tool for ourselves and our employees, therefore we, Content Administrators and Developers, need to view all of the information in our department and make a determination as to how we can best make it available to the entire organization.

    Decisions to take before publishing a News or Blog Post

    • Should this information be accessible to ALL employees?
    • Is this information time sensitive?
    • Is this information a News Post? (Germane to All or Most Employees)
    • Is this information a Blog Post? (Germane or Affecting Only Some Employees)

    Creating a News or Blog Post

    • Does your headline clearly convey the topic of the News/Blog Post's subject matter?
    • Does your headline grab the attention of employees?
    • Did you follow the content, style and formatting guidelines provided you for “Writing for the online reader”
    • Is your News/Blog Post written concisely?
    • Did you incorporate appropriate and descriptive "Tag" words and/or phrases within the News/Blog Post to help the iKNO search engine find the information?

    If you have attached a document or inserted a link to a document:

    • Have you described the content of that document using appropriate and descriptive "Tag" words

    If you have incorporated a photo or graphic:

    • Have you described the content of the photo/art/graphic within your News/Blog Post?

     

    • Did you sign your News/Blog Post so readers know the source of the information?

    If you have followed all of the above, you are ready to publish your News/Blog Post!

    How should you categorize user permissions?

    The ikno Intranet platform operates under an open and accessible internal communications philosophy, the basis for which has been proven effective in organizations with up to 6,000 employees.

    There are three “Levels” of permissions within which your associates will interact with the ikno Intranet:

    Administrators, Editors and Users.

    Users

    All employees, members or associates within the organization are considered Users and they are able to:

    • View ALL Blog and News postings and comment on any of these if they so desire
    • Participate in Survey
    • Access the Events Calendar
    • Utilize the site search
    • Search the Directory
    • Create a professional profile page
    • Utilize the “What are you working on now” status update

    Content Editors

    Within each department or functional area designated, there may be one or more team members designated as “Content Developers.” In addition to the Permissions and Rights of Users listed above, they are also able to:

    • Create and publish Blogs and News postings
    • Monitor Comments
    • Upload and link documents,PDFs, Word, Excel, etc

    Administrators

    Within each department or functional area designated, there may be one or more team members designated as Content Administrators. In addition to the Permissions and Rights for Users & Developers listed above, they are also able to:

    • Edit or delete existing Blogs and News postings
    • Create Surveys
    • Add and edit Event Calendar items
    • Manage, edit, add or delete User profiles
    • Monitor, edit and delete comments to Blog or News postings

    How should you name Departments and Sub Departments?

    The ikno Intranet interface is designed to help Users easily locate information by mirroring the organization's existing internal structure through a system of Top Menu Tabs for each department, and Sub-Categories for smaller units or divisions within those departments.

    Departments

    Typical departments common to almost every organization would be: Human Resources, Marketing, IT, Facilities, etc. We refer to those as “Shared Services” and we often group them under a Department with that title.

    Yet every organization is unique and will likely have Departments specific to their industry. In addition to the Shared Services listed above, a bank might have departments for Retail Banking, Commercial Banking, Investments and Mortgages, etc. An ad agency might have departments like Creative, Media, and Account Services, etc. And a Law firm might be organized by practice area, such as; Litigation, Trademark, Patents, Employment, etc. with all other departments under a ‘Shared Services’ Tab.

    Sub-Departments

    Many organizations will also have subdivisions within certain departments. For example, a larger organization might have three or more divisions within a department such as:

    Human Resources

    • Benefits
    • Employment
    • Compensation

    Marketing

    • Training
    • Media
    • Creative
    • Research

    Sales

    • Products
    • Support
    • Customers

    Some ikno organizations have started out with Departments or Sub-Departments that they later found unnecessary. It’s easy to change these categories to evolve with your organization’s growth but we advise all clients to try to keep the total number to the minimum necessary.