Some Do’s and Don’ts of Effective Intranet Writing
As with any effective content, the key is to understand your audience. Who are you writing for? What type of writing/content will they respond to? With Intranet content, especially, you know that your colleagues and fellow workers are most likely in a bit of a time crunch and consequently, are probably just scanning your piece, pulling out relevant information and moving on. The trick to Intranet writing is thus to understand this and work within the parameters of a concise, interesting and engaging frame.
Short but Catchy Headlines
As we tend to scan our screens rather than meticulously pour through them as we might a novel, it is critical to understand how the human eye and mind behave. We look for quick, we look for that which stands out. Headlines and subheads play a key role in this respect. Breaking text up into bite-sized paragraphs, each emblazoned with a succinct, to-the-point headline is a fairly effective way to visually grab a user’s attention. You don’t want to ramble on in a headline statement, but you do want to make sure you capture the essence of that section and/or paragraph. This way if it’s of particular interest to someone, they instantly know.
Speaking of Grabbing Someone’s Attention…Images are Key
Reinforcing your message and adding more depth and dimension to your content, images and photos certainly play well in postings. Pictures that are direct representations of your company featuring co-workers and/or building components, certainly draw users’ attention and help create another level of engagement within the content. It’s easy however to utilize images incorrectly. Make sure they are formatted properly and placed within the text so as not to distract from the writing but instead make the reading experience a more efficient one.
How to format the message itself
When writing for the Intranet, understand that, as you are in a workplace environment, time is money. Reading is not generally leisurely, but fast. You must think like a news reporter. And what that means basically is your style of writing should be top down—the good old inverted pyramid. The most important, a.k.a. ‘newsworthy’ material comes first, and so on and so forth. Usually by the time the user gets to the ‘so forth’ part, they’ve probably stopped reading because more than likely they have already gained from the article what they needed.
Engage, Engage, Engage…
If your reader doesn’t in some way connect with your content, than the writing isn’t really doing its job. This is where knowing and more importantly, empathizing with your audience comes into play. Keep the content formal enough to emphasize and underline the points you wish to make; however, as they are peers and co-workers, the overall tone and voice could have some more casual inflections—depending on the topic of course. Regardless of how you approach the subject matter, you want to ensure that the interaction is a meaningful one. This is where “content-as-conversation” could also be a helpful approach. Encouraging comments and feedback certainly engenders a more interactive platform than an article which may be more static in nature. Social sharing of pieces is a great way to promote further content engagement as well.
You should also, in regard to this topic of creating engaging content, consider the channels that you are employing. Relying on the diversity and multi-channel ability of your digital platform, you should make an attempt to promote your content on more than just the home page. Integrate it where most relevant. Perhaps use a blog format to engage your audience on a conversational level. Reaching out via Intranet chat connections is certainly a useful strategy. Content subscription alert messages along with RSS content are excellent strategies for pushing content when people are out of the office and still want status updates and intermittent news reports too. Whatever the venue, the point is to create a bond with the user for the duration of the reading experience. Understanding how to effect this connection is essential when trying to maximize the potential of your Intranet content.
HospitalPortal.net is a hospital Intranet and policy management software company that makes it easy for your organization to communicate between staff, physicians, and board members. It allows you distribute vital information, news and announcements, and create bi-directional engagement opportunities. Our solution also helps you to keep track of all policies and maintain HIPPA, CMS and Joint Commission compliance with ease. We can happily help guide you through some best practices in Intranet content management as well as take on updating your content as part of our many value-added services. Call us at 866-580-7700 or email us at Sales@HospitalPortal.net to discuss our software and to see how well it will work with your hospital.