How to create engaging content that keeps users coming back for more!

No...not this type of engagement!
Earlier today I took part in a webinar hosted by Interact Intranet on the topic of creating content that keeps users engaged and as the title of the blog posts says...coming back for more.

Both content and content engagement are extremely important topics for intranet managers to have a good understanding of. Not just when they're running an already well established intranet but perhaps more importantly when they're about to launch a new intranet.

The reason I would argue that it's more important when you're about to roll out a new intranet is because getting users excited about content should start before your intranet is launched, so that when your intranet does launch users will be full of enthusiasm about it.

There are several ways you can get your users excited about your intranet and the content that is going to be published to it, they include:

  • Holding a contest to decide on the name of the intranet
  • Identifying content managers (this is really important and should be done early)
  • Sending teaser emails - showing screenshots and sneak previews of new functionality
  • Creating pre-launch guides
  • Posters
  • Thinking about a soft launch

Of course engaging with your users in relation to your new intranet and the content that's on it should continue post launch and could involve any of the following:

  • A survey post launch to gather feedback
  • An area (forum) where users can suggest new content
  • Creating "exclusive" content that can only be found on the intranet
  • Lunch and Learn and similar style sessions to explain how to use new features on the site

Building relationships with content providers.

This is essential to ensure your intranet content remains up-to-date. So there are several groups of users you'll need to build effective relationships with. Again you should start talking to these groups of users early in the process of rolling out a new intranet, not just before it is launched.

They groups include the following:

  • (Senior) Management Team
  • IT
  • HR
  • Marketing
  • Sales
  • Thought leaders
  • Engaging authors (these are the  people who are creating the most content within your site, and can usually be identified through site statistics) This group may include people who you weren't aware were creating a lot of content in the first place.

Types of engaging content

To keep employees engaged you need to have different types of content, not just "boring" company news, although of course this does need to be featured, in addition to this you should aim to have the following types of content:

  • Special features
  • Company news
  • New hires
  • Featured Teams
  • Awards & Recognitions
  • Event photos
  • Customer wins and best practices

Anything that features an individual is generally considered a great morale builder, as people like to read about people, it gives them a sense of wellbeing and feels nice :-)

Integrating your content with other channels

This is about integrating content from other platforms and includes the following types of content:

  • Newsletters
  • E-blasts
  • Social media
  • Blogs
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies
  • Webinars

Twitter and RSS are great examples of two channels that can be easily integrated on intranet homepages.

Creating great content

This is a very important area, as writing content for the intranet is very different from other media.

  • Put conclusions at the beginning, get to the point in the first paragraph, then expand upon it
  • Proofread you work, typos and spelling errors will send people away from your pages
  • Use headings and sub-headings effectively - these make the text more scan-able
  • Be sure that it makes business sense - it meets organizational content objectives
  • Keep content visually consistent, this makes a users experience more consistent

There were some great hints and tips contained within this webinar. If  you're interested in learning more about creating engaging content then I highly recommend "Creating intranet content" on the Clearbox Consulting website. This is an excellent guide to doing just that!