If you’re a communicator, you’ll already have guidelines for article writing, but how do you review existing content on your intranet after years of publishing? The archive is bursting with past events, project sites become out-dated, and company-wide initiative communications become stale. What do you do to root out the rotting content?
ROT is a good acronym – Redundant, Out-dated, Trivial. If performing a robust content audit, or a perfunctory review of a project site, ‘ROT’ can help you categorise the content that needs updating or pruning.
Another way of looking at content is as an asset that needs maintaining, and that needs to work hard and provide a return on the investment that created it. Here’s our catchy content tactic guidance to help you remember to get maximum value from your existing material.
Reduce – publish less, delete some
How bloated is your intranet? You’re publishing news every day, your intranet contributors, project managers, bloggers, team leaders, and change managers are publishing news every day of every week. So your intranet is growing, and only growing. Do you have any policy, and supporting mechanism, to unpublish material?
The first ‘R’ of our mantra is to refrain from publishing material that could be better communicated in another manner. Perhaps that news update about the cycle to work policy could just be bundled into this month’s Team Meeting agenda, and the relevant cycling page could be updated. Reduce the amount you publish – check the urgency and importance of every comms request that comes across your desk. Be a good editor, understand what people need to know, rather than what certain managers want people to know…
Now, review the content already on your intranet, and delete or archive anything that is redundant or trivial. Be aware that other pages may link to this content, so be sure to do something clever to redirect visitors – we do not want to present a ‘page not found’ error. Check out our review of SharePoint 2016 to find out about a neat feature that can do this for you in the latest SharePoint version.
Reuse – copy n paste is your friend
Great comms move people to action – good content is also modular and reusable. Save yourself time, effort, and money by reusing chunks of content. Why write fresh joining instructions for every event when you can reuse the same text (if the process is identical)?
When writing, think about how others can use your paragraphs. Chunk topics together, use sub-headings throughout your article, and write short sentences.
The same paragraphs can be used on the intranet, in an email newsletter, in the quarterly print newsletter, and on slides. Even if the article itself seems unique, written in a different tone and for slightly different audiences, you can still reuse paragraphs to help maintain consistency of message and reduce your workload.
Recycle – format shift to reach a new audience
Similar to ‘Reuse’ the third ‘R’ in our mantra is really about upcycling – the customising of a thing in such a way as to create something of higher quality or value.
Quotes from employee interviews (perhaps including exit interviews, but also those ‘getting to know you’ articles) can be used in change management presentations to show current culture and expectations.
PowerPoint presentations can be recycled into narrative articles for the intranet or newsletter, to explain in plain English what’s going on. Survey results can form the basis of a suite of engagement articles. Even meeting minutes can be spun into news articles and status reports.
Rihanna – does it sparkle?
Ahem. The bottom line is, what’s the value of your content, whether it’s old or fresh? Does your content drive action, bolster engagement, and support your organisations’ objectives? Is it truly relevant? Further, is it really interesting? The Health & Safety Manual is relevant, but is it interesting? H&S reports and news can be interesting, but only if you make the effort. Same goes for financial reports. Even change programmes need a bit of Rihanna’s sparkle to cut through the noise. Whatever you think of Rihanna, she’s not dull, and your content needn’t be either.
Icons by Milton Raposo C. Rêgo Jr. from the Noun Project.
Photo by DoD News Feature / EJ Hersom.