Discovery for intranet content strategy

Intranet content strategy initiatives: Common themes

  • By Team CSI
  • |
  • Nov 5 2018
  • |
  • Categories: Articles

We’ve done several intranet content strategy projects recently and, although every project is unique, we’ve come across some common themes. With this in mind, there are questions to ask and things to watch for that are particular to intranet content strategy discovery activities.

During discovery for external facing content strategies, we usually include these segments in our research:

  • Internal stakeholders
    • Executive and leadership
    • Content teams and contributors
  • External audiences

Discovery activities for intranet content strategies follow the same format:

  • Internal stakeholders
    • Executive and leadership
    • Intranet content authors, publishers, reviewers, etc
  • Internal audiences
    • Intranet users

We’ve written previously on conducting interviews, focus groups and surveys. Check those out for a reminder on how to make sure you’re getting valuable information from your research activities. If you’re thinking about developing a content strategy for your own intranet, here are some specific things to watch for during discovery.

Internal stakeholders: Executive team

This is the best place to start your intranet research. When you’re talking to the executive team, find out their level of commitment to an intranet content strategy project. Often, because the audience is internal, stakeholders will give less prioritization to the project. Talk to various levels of authority who will know what projects are coming up in the near future, and get alignment on where your initiative fits in with these other company priorities. This will give you a realistic view of available resources, both in terms of people-hours and money.

If you find there isn’t alignment, you might have to campaign for creating an intranet content strategy. Demonstrate the potential value of a useful, useable intranet: When employees can easily access the information they need, operations run more smoothly and efficiently. Before you move ahead, make sure you have a green light all across the board and an established budget and timeline.

Internal stakeholders: Intranet content teams

Content authors for intranets tend to be even more distributed than other content teams. There may be pockets of centralization, such as human resources, policies and procedures, or marketing and communications, but it’s rare for an intranet content team to be fully centralized.  With a more distributed model, intranet content authors are often given less support, and have less skills and training. Look for existing or potential pockets of centralization and determine their capacity, both in resources and ability, to provide oversight, standards, and support to content authors.

Also ask content authors standard questions about content creation processes: what they do, how they do it, what they’d love to offload and what they want to hold on to, and what training and support they’re lacking.

Intranet users

Employees often have a difficult time envisioning what an intranet could and should be. They just want it to “work like Google”.  Basically, intranet users want to be able access everything they need to support them in their job in one place, through a useful, useable system. Users don’t often think about the potential of the intranet to be a portal to other systems. Determine whether it’s reasonable to include everything employees need on the intranet itself, or whether it makes more sense to use additional systems in a way that seems seamless to the user.

Intranet content is often role- and permission based. Ask questions that help you determine which content and systems need to be available to which roles. This will have design, taxonomy, and organization implications, so keep that in mind when you make your recommendations for a content strategy.

While the discovery phase for an intranet content strategy initiative follows the same structure as those for external-facing content, there are common issues particular to intranets that you can watch for in your research activities.

Further reading

It’s all about the audience: From research to content tools

Content strategy toolkit

Our content strategy services