Building a successful intranet is not just about designing an effective information architecture for your site.  Another recurring theme that stood out across the presentations and intranet examples that I saw at the Intranets for Corporate Communications Course was the importance of developing content specifically for the web.

Writing for the Intranet:

The content that gets posted on your site can greatly affect users’ perceptions of the intranet and can also affect intranet buy-in. People consume information online differently than they do in print so it is important to keep the following points in mind when developing content for your intranet:

  • Tone matters! Try a casual, light-hearted, conversational voice when writing content for your site
  • Drop the corporate speak and use plain language in your intranet content.  Employees will find it easier to quickly extract the information they need if you keep it simple
  • Remember that people scan, rather than read, online. Put important information at the top of the page and at the start of sentences. Use the classic ‘F’ pattern to layout content on intranet pages
  • Develop a regular publishing schedule for intranet content. Also make sure that content gets reviewed frequently so that information can be kept up to date and relevant
  • Teach your content contributors how to develop content that is appropriate for the intranet. Educate them about publishing standards, guidelines and best practices
  • Use narrative for your intranet content. Story-telling is a great way to draw people in
  • Provide high-quality content that is free of errors (factual or grammatical)

Above all, include content on the site that employees are interested in. Highlighting employee achievements, featuring employee interviews and photos of coworkers or company events are all examples of content that will help draw readers to your intranet.

Up next: Increasing Employee Engagement

Previously: User-Centric Design

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