The process of conducting a Content Inventory for a new or existing Intranet can be an incredibly tedious task. However, this activity is an essential step for Content Strategy and producing relevant content for an Intranet that is meaningful and useful for employees. A Content Inventory may be one of the most important spreadsheets / databases that catalogues Intranet content and these are the reasons why…
What Content do you have?
A Content Inventory is a list of all the content on your Intranet or the content you are planning to include on your Intranet. Before you begin to decide what content is needed, you need to understand what content you already have. Before you decide where you can focus your continuous improvement efforts, you need to understand what content needs to improve and why.
Improved Project Planning.
When developing a new Intranet, starting with a Content Inventory is a fundamental step for determining how much work will be involved with the design and development. When redesigning or maintaining an Intranet, the Content Inventory will again assist to determine the content to be removed, the content to be revised and the content to be created. All of these activities can carry an estimated time frame to aid project planning.
Improved Search Capability
A Forrester research study revealed only 44% of Intranet keyword search results are successful in finding relevant content. In contrast, a study by Pew Internet & American life revealed that 87% of Internet keyword searches resulted in relevant content. The vast difference between Intranet vs Internet search results is largely based around search engine optimisation (SEO) activities that occur for Internet websites. SEO is generally not a consideration for internal Intranets. However, an Intranet Content Inventory can assist with determining keywords to assign to important content for internal search tools.
Meaningful Navigation / Information Architecture
A Content Inventory can be used as a source document for card sorting activities. Card sorting is a usability technique used to create an overall structure for content providing suggestions to guide the development of navigation, menus and possible taxonomies in collaboration with employee end users.
Accurate Information for Employees
Content Inventories assist to quickly determine if the content is inaccurate or out of date. Inaccurate information can mislead employees that may result in loss of productivity, exposure to legal risks or simply embarrassing situations.
Useful Information for Employees
Content Inventories allow the qualitative assessment of content based on two important factors:
- Value to the content owner / business line – Is the content fulfilling the goals and objectives of the content owner or line of business?
- Value to the employee audience – Does the cotent assist employees to achieve their goals?
If the content fails to fulfill business objectives and employee goals, it is wasted content.
Effective Information for Employees
A Content Inventory can be mapped to web analytics reports for Intranets to determine how many employees are visiting and reacting to the content. This is a useful activity to assess the effectiveness of search or information architectures.
Understanding the types of content, its relationships and patterns also assists with developing a governance framework around how the content is managed and updated appropriately. Intranet content can be created inhouse by content owners, by content partners via newsfeeds, articles and blog posts or by the employees themselves. Content Inventories expose these relationships and sources of content allowing an efficient governance model to be established.
Ease of Content Maintenance
A Content Inventory should be a dynamic document that is constantly updated as the content evolves and changes. When managed appropriately, a Content Inventory greatly assists with the maintenance and constant evolution of Intranet content.
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