Essential Content comprises the policies, procedures, templates, forms, standards, documentation, how-tos, and FAQs you need to run your AEC firm. Your corporate operating system, if you will.
Getting your essential content on the intranet is a huge feat and generally happens during your implementation process. Keeping your essential content up-to-date is just as important. It is critical that your end users can trust that the content on the intranet reflects the way your firm does business today, not how it did business at some point in the past. “Trust” is the operative word here. Building trust in the quality of your essential content will lay the foundation required to leverage the intranet for a multitude of strategic initiatives outlined on the Intranet Maturity Model.
In this Quick Reference Guide, we offer a systematic approach for ensuring your essential content is always relevant and up-to-date.
Step 1 - Pick Your Promise
You build trust in the intranet when you can confidently tell employees and leadership that the intranet’s content has been reviewed within the last 6 or 12 months. So, step one is to pick which promise you are making: 6 or 12 months?
Step 2 - Set a Rotation Schedule
Maintenance has to be sustainable. That is why the key to this program is pacing yourself. Instead of reviewing all content every 6 or 12 months, we recommend reviewing 1-2 content areas a month.
You may find it helpful to create a schedule by dividing the number of communities on your intranet by your promise. For example, if you promised that content will be reviewed within the last 6 months, and you have 6 communities, then you will review one community a month.
Note: If you have some communities with multiple content owners, you may want to review each content area individually. For example, your “Office Community” may have three content owners (HR, Accounting, and Safety), which means three spots on your rotation schedule.
You can quickly visualize your plan by completing a table like the one below:
Office: HR Content
Office: Accounting Content
Office: Safety Content
You may want to consider launching the program with one of your “lighter” communities. This approach allows you an opportunity to “beta” the program and work out any kinks before reaching out to some of your heftier communities.
Step 3 - Schedule Meetings for the Year
First, map out who you need to meet with in each community. Next, use the table above as your guide for scheduling recurring reminders for yourself regarding when to reach out to each content owner. If you intend to meet with your HR content owner in February, we recommend scheduling the meeting the month prior. Before you schedule the first meeting, it may be helpful to reach out to each content owner with a brief explanation of the program.
Step 4 - Essential Content Reviews
Before the Essential Content Review (ECR), you may want to email the content owner some relevant analytics. Providing analytics in advance gives the content owner time to digest some of the key material, which can lead to rich questions and conversation. You can use the agenda below as a guide for which analytics will best drive the conversation. One easy way to prepare analytics in advance is to compile screenshots from Synthesis’ analytics dashboards into a few powerpoint slides.
For the meeting itself, the objective is for the intranet champion to partner with the content owner in a fruitful conversation about the content owner’s vision. Analytics will enable you to ask probing questions and support you both in coming to new insights about what is working and where there is an opportunity to better serve the needs of your employees.
We recommend a 3-part agenda:
Agenda Item #1: Content
Start by reviewing Content Optimization. Some questions you may want to answer together include:
Which content should be deleted …?
… because the content is out of date (ex: 2017 Holiday List)
… because the content is not providing value (ex: a document that has zero views in the last 6 months)
Which content should updated …?
… because some of the content is out-of-date (ex: a wiki about a procedure that has been updated)
Which content should be created …?
… because the new content will replace the old (ex: creating the 2019 Holiday List)
… because new procedures and tools have been implemented (ex: create new wiki page about your new commuter benefit)
… because there are items on the essential content checklist that we would like to add
Which content needs a new strategy …?
… because the content is important, but is not getting enough traffic (ex: documents in the project management template library only has 2 views in the last 6 months)
… because the content is important, and is not getting the right traffic (ex: documents in the project management template library is being used by the Boston office, but not the Philadelphia office)
Now that you have a sense of usage, it is time to examine whether the community’s current wayfinding methods seem to be driving the right results. Some questions you may want to consider:
Are there too many options? Too few options? Or just the right amount?
Is the left navigation logically laid out? Do the titles resonate with what end users are looking for?
How are you using the right panel on the community’s homepage?
How are you using the right panel on the community’s wiki pages?
We have found a lot of success helping end users navigate within a community by using topic pages. Are you finding success with topic pages?
If you are not currently using topic pages, but you are interested, contact your Client Success Manager at email@example.com to get set up with our page templates.
Are there search terms that are relevant to this community? How are those search terms performing?
Should any Best Bets or Synonyms be added to improve the performance of those search terms?
Agenda Item #2: Posts
Start by reviewing Post Analytics. Some questions you may want to answer together include:
Given this community’s audience, are the performance statistics at, above, or below expectations?
Are there any posts that performed exceptionally high? Exceptionally low?
What attributes may have contributed to the post’s performance?
How are #hashtag campaigns performing?
Are there any old posts with outdated/inaccurate information that should be deleted or edited?
What are your internal communication goals for the coming period?
If you are interested in learning more about best practices for internal communications, we invite you to reach out to your Client Success Manager at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Agenda Item #3: Action Items
As you work through the agenda, we recommend that you build a list of action items in real-time. When assigning ownership to the action items, the general rule of thumb is that anything content related should be owned by the content owner, whereas you should own anything related to intranet administration.
Before you close, schedule an ECR follow-up meeting with the content owner.
Step 5 - ECR Follow-Up
The ECR Follow-Up meeting serves two purposes:
It is an opportunity for you to report back to the content owner that your tasks are complete, and
It is an opportunity for the content owner to share what action items s/he has completed and collaborate with you real-time on any obstacles encountered.
If the content owner has not completed his/her tasks, just having the meeting serves as a gentle reminder of what is outstanding.
We hope this process will support you in keeping a systematic approach to essential content maintenance. If you are following this process (or have your own), we would love to hear how it is going for you. You can reach out to your dedicated Client Success Manager by emailing email@example.com.
The Essential Content Review was first crafted at AKF Group and then beta tested by fellow community members. We would like to extend our gratitude to: Shannon Kaplan, AKF Group; Shelly VandeWege, GMB; Tony Balistreri, GRAEF; Laurie Anderson, HGA; Devin Campbell, OZ Architecture; Krystal Modigell, RS&H; Zirah McGrath, RS&H.