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Why Intranets Fail Reason #6: Intranet becomes a content dumping ground

Written by

Simpplr Research


March 6, 2019


We’re continuing our Why Intranets Fail series. For more information about this extensive research project, read this post.

Too much of anything is never good, especially if it consists of stale and outdated intranet content. Imagine if you used a search engine and it only returned you a slew of useless and irrelevant content. Would you ever use it again? We surely wouldn’t.

Many intranets eventually reach a tipping point where the system houses so much irrelevant and outdated content that employees stop using it as a crucial source of information. In fact, employees will stop using it altogether. Intranets, when designed properly, should be the central source of important news and announcements that management uses to deliver critical information to employees.

How to prevent your intranet from becoming a content dumping ground:

Clearly define what kind of content should be housed in an intranet

First and foremost, content on the intranet should be necessary and helpful to all employees. Challenge your site managers to limit content to the top five most-demanded materials. For example, HR would focus on the most demand materials, (e.g., onboarding checklist, benefits overviews, travel and expense policies) but they wouldn’t post every obscure procedure that they have documented.

Read 16 essentials for your intranet for content ideas you can use today.

Distinguish your news strategy from your knowledge document strategy

Understand the difference between news and knowledge will help you run a cleaner intranet.

Knowledge Documents
Knowledge documents are the documents that employees need from time to time. Just as noted above, these are the most important benefits, policies, how to’s, etc. The key here is: less is more. Use your intranet’s analytics to guide which documents belong in your intranet based on employee searches.

News Content
In large part, these are the engaging articles that keep people coming back to the intranet. News content needs to be timely and frequent. You’d never check your CNN app if there wasn’t current news. A big part of the internal communications manager’s job is to develop a content calendar that drives engagement and adoption. News content should be frequent and plentiful, and mix in fun and strategic content. However, you should also use your intranet’s archiving abilities to remove content once your news is outdated.

Quick tip: Clarify expectations and explain the difference between the two to your governance team and site managers!

Understand where technology can help your intranet from becoming a content dumping ground

Part of the solution can be solved by better technology. How? Technology has evolved to make our lives easier by relieving much of the manual work required to keep content fresh.

Here are some ways technology can help you with content:

Auto-archiving: Set the duration of content can stay up before archiving
Personalization: Only show relevant content to employees based on their profile, location, role, and tenure
Versioning documents: Update and auto-archive older versions of content
Sync with cloud-based document management systems: Automatically sync your files between your intranet software and Box, Dropbox, GoogleDrive, O365, or whichever you use.
Encourage updates: Get alerts to create, update or remove a piece of content or site
Optimize content: Use analytics to objectively show what’s in demand, what’s used, and what is deemed as clutter

But know where technology can’t solve everything

While recent technological advancements have made content management much easier, there are still things administrators need to do themselves, namely:

Enforce ownership: Encourage site managers and domain experts to review their content and ensure that it’s up-to-date
Monitor usage: Understand both which content is being used and which content is demanded
Challenge criticality: Embrace the philosophy that less is more and encourage users to limit their content

Content is king, but less is more

Many times when we deploy intranets, the misconception is that all content is king. Yes, it’s vital to have content in your intranet, but it’s more important to be selective in choosing what kind of content to house in your intranet. To mitigate this misconception, consciously focus on the most critical information for most of your employees, and use the intranet to connect them to other applications. A modern intranet manager’s job is to champion a “less is more” mindset toward content from initial launch through every review.

Looking for more content ideas to drive an engaging intranet? Follow our Content Engagement series on Simpplr’s #connect blog.

Avoid intranet failure! Read our Why Intranet Fails blog series:

Why Intranets Fail Reason #1: The purpose isn’t clear or purposeful
Why Intranets Fail Reason #2: Unclear ownership and governance
Why Intranets Fail Reason #3: Executives aren’t engaged in the process
Why Intranets Fail Reason #4: Build or buy your intranet to avoid deployment failure
Why Intranets Fail Reason #5: The intranet gatekeeper’s approach
Why Intranets Fail Reason #7: Multiple sources of truth
Why Intranets Fail Reason #8: Users complain that content simply isn’t relevant
Why Intranets Fail Reason #9: Poor user interface and information architecture

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