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Communication and Collaboration

Five content mistakes you are making on your intranet

Good intranet copy is much more than impeccable grammar and spelling. It’s about being strategic, understanding your audience, and hopefully not committing one of these errors. 

7 minute read
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Why is no one reading my intranet content? It’s one of the biggest frustrations among intranet content creators. 

Whether it’s your primary responsibility, something you were tasked with,  or you just want to announce some exciting news, writing good content isn’t easy. It can be tedious, time consuming, and sometimes even demoralizing.  

But it doesn’t have to be this way. 

As many communications professionals have experienced, creating compelling intranet copy is much more than impeccable grammar and spelling. It’s about being strategic, understanding your audience, and hopefully not committing one of these five intranet content errors. 

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Intranet content mistakes

Mistake #1: Getting caught up in corporate speak

“Our best in class software reduces exponential strain on infrastructure with it’s enterprise-wide data driven solutions.” 

Confused? Us too. 

While no one intends to sound that boring, it can happen to the most skilled communicators. 

For example, consider an announcement about a new product release. You might be tempted to say “XYZ Industries announces release of 10.6.4.” 

Let’s be honest, apart from a few people working closely in the product department, those release numbers don’t mean much to the employees. To get the attention of your target audience you need to hit them with headlines that impact them. So, for example, you might try something like this, “Our latest release is gonna make our customers lives sooo much easier. Here’s how”.

Always remember that plain English defeats jargon. So if you are curious how jargon-y your content still is, don’t be afraid to ask a brand new employee how they perceive your content.

Also, don’t be afraid to play around with different headlines for different departments. By creating targeted and personalized newsfeeds, you can get really creative with headlines that serve specific interests.  

Mistake #2: Writing for the approver

I confess I stole this idea from employee communications guru Steve Cresenzo, but only because it was so relatable. 

This mistake refers to the act of writing to please the content approver, rather than your audience.

As Steve points out, “Communicators get so beaten down and abused by the approval process that they start creating copy that they know will make it through the process, rather than writing copy that someone might actually read.” 

Hopefully you don’t have a stringent review cycle, but if you do, remember that approvers aren’t writers. You are. So never write content solely to please others. It  won’t feel authentic, and you will end up frustrated.

Mistake # 3: Assuming one message is enough

It’s easy to assume that because you posted once about something like a security breach that you have done your job communicating. But have you really? 

We all know that no matter how clever we are at communicating, that there will inevitably be some employees who claim they never received the communication. Should they have read the announcement? Sure, but that doesn’t mean all the responsibility is on them. 

If you truly want to capture the attention of every single employee, you need to think outside the box. At ThoughtFarmer we have two features that solve this problem: Broadcast, and Required Reading. 

Broadcast relies on push notifications to alert employees about important news and alerts. The Required Reading feature, allows you to designate essential content on your intranet as a mandatory read.

Think of it as CYCB. Covering your communications behind. 

Mistake #4: Failing to empower other departments

Depending on the size of your organization, you may be tempted to take on the creation of intranet content for every department. While this is certainly admirable, it isn’t sustainable. At least not if your organization is growing. 

Modern intranet software makes it easy for anyone to create pages and edit content, which is why it’s more important than ever to empower content creators within your organization. For example, if you have a customer success department, why not trust them to share their own internal stories and expertise? Besides, do you really want to be creating content for every single department? 

Also don’t worry too much if the grammar isn’t exactly what you would write. Other departments likely know what works best to engage their crew—besides, you can always edit it later if necessary. 

Mistake #5: Focusing too much on corporate content

Another common mistake is assuming that employees want to read the latest corporate news or policy updates. Sorry to break it to you, but they probably don’t. 

You want to know what intranet content gets the most attention here at ThoughtFarmer? New employee announcements, photos of team activities, and our pet gallery. In other words, employees want to see updates about their colleagues—and their furry friends (see how our friends at PCI used an employee focused approach to their intranet content.)  

This doesn’t mean you cannot write about your product or service, but rather consider adding in human elements. So instead of saying, “Click here to see the latest features of our software update,” you can instead try, “Find out which new feature Product Manager Jeff is most excited about.”  

The more you sprinkle in stories about your people, the more readable your stories will be, and the more storytelling you can do.