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Communications

‘News’ is something that somebody doesn’t want you to know

What’s the front page of your intranet looking like right now? Are there a suitable number of news stories and business announcements? Is there a timely piece about continuous improvement, or an update from your CEO / CTO / General Manager?

Or are all your headlines about barbecues, sponsored walks, and what’s available for lunch?
Would you say that your front page is colleague and business focused, or people and community focussed?

It’s important to get the balance right, and in no way am I suggesting that the intranet can’t be used to promote people’s charitable ventures, but glancing at your front page, can you find enough business meat to help everyone recognise the overall vision and the everyday goals of your company?

Keep your pipeline varied

The intranet editor or the Internal Communications team should have a ‘publishing calendar‘ to plan the week’s and the month’s articles. Reviewing last month’s calendar against the month ahead should give you an overview of what your intranet communications flavour is. You can spot a heavy ‘business’ week, and you can spot a ‘light news’ week when each day’s story is related to fund raising for charity or social events.

A decent calendar should mix it up a bit, allowing flavours of business, colleague, people and community to be published along side enough, while remaining flexible enough to react to business critical announcements, such as change programmes and legal matters.

Measure the interest

The intangible benefits of good communications can be hard to measure, but the Internal Communications department must be tracking web hits for each story, to discover what the audience is interested in.

Surfers vote with their clicks, if they don’t care, they won’t click. Every intranet editor should have an overview of what story themes work and which don’t.

Different companies have different focuses; a company that provides training might well feature a lot of stories about individual’s achievements and clients, while a legal firm might publish notifications about ‘wins’, contracts and regulation change.

Whatever field your company is in, consider the balance needed to engage with your intranet audience and the subject matter that is needed to help your people do their job and feel like their part of a caring and active company.

Read all about it

Don’t bury your news under half a dozen community stories about school visits and fund raising (unless you’re an educational or charitable establishment!), keep a steady stream of business and work related articles coming, keep your constituents informed and ask for their input and support.

News gets hits. Promoting the canteen is not news. News is juicy, often sensitive, and may well be something that some people would rather no one knew. Consider how fast news spreads through the grapevine when a senior manager is fired. That’s news, get it published, keep people informed and let them know what’s going on during the ‘restructure’.

As an Internal Communications specialist, I’m focusing on intranets at the moment; you might like to consider my previous article, ‘Your intranet is not a channel for you to vent on‘ and I expect I’ll revisit intranet best-practice time and time again.

[Wedge]

About Wedge

I’m Wedge, and this is my website! I’ve worked within internal communications since 2004, managing intranets and digital comms. Now I’m a freelance comms and intranet specialist - I help organisations plan and improve their intranets. I work with other agencies, and write a lot of blog and magazine articles. I founded the Intranet Now conference. You can catch up with me on Twitter - I’m @Wedge.