1. Michael H

    Writing for the web is simply too far down the priority list.

    You can have all the tools skills you need to deliver content, but unless you know how to communicate effectivly then anything else you learn is utterly worthless.

    Too much intranet content is poorly written, badly designed, unstructured – and not fit for the intended purpose. Unless the how, why and structure of content is made Priority #1, this vicious cycle of useless content that undermines the mission of an intranet will continue.

  2. james

    Rebecca, I totally concur with you and Micheal on this topic. Too many times, content goes stale and “rotten”, forgive my words when authors do not know the whys, and the hows of creating and publishing content. This is where adequate support and direction is needed from the intranet team to ensure a more smooth and enjoyable process of creating and writing content for the end user. There are so many reasons why this needs to be top notch; SEO, system performance, readability, findability, usability, among others..

  3. My role covers both the internal and external realms. My focus for the future though will be primarily on the latter.

    Our web authors are basically a sub-set of our intranet authors, but step intermittently into that role.

    I want to provide the necessary training and support materials and a how-to guide specifically for writing for the web (as opposed to the intranet).

    Does anyone have any comments or experience in this regard?


    Online Comms Mgr
    Sydney Water

  4. Perhaps we can add learning how to use meta data and document properties such as using keywords to tag or identify content. How often have we seen an intranet with a lot of content but it is difficult to find anything? Too often it’s about ticking boxes to get content onto the intranet.
    The result is a dumping ground.

    As intranet managers too we can guilty of not providing ongoing support after the initial training burst at the start. Authors must be supported and continually trained.

  5. Rebecca Rodgers

    Thanks for your comments John and Andrew.
    John, a lot of the same principles apply but the style of writing (for the different audience) apply. Happy to discuss this offline if you would like to email me.

    Andrew, a great suggestion. I would see this as being part of the adding metadata section which is why it is so important for the intranet manager to work with the technical trainer to make sure they cover this off effectively with good examples. Totally agree on the ongoing training!


  6. Excellent article Rebecca – thanks for writing and sharing it.

    Among other things I provide vendor-based social intranet training. In these trainings I abide by the following guidelines:

    – Learn by doing
    – Practice using real-world content & scenarios
    – An initial training is about comfort more than know-how
    – Leave room for discovery
    – Get people interacting

    Some of these are more relevant to social intranets than traditional intranets. For example, getting people interacting may not be possible or interesting using a standard CMS. But on a social intranet it immediately piques interest.

    I’ve discovered that on a social intranet with lots of interactive features and at least a few broadly distributed authoring tools, the “comfort” and “discovery” aspects can be more important than anything else.

    If an employee is allowed to poke around a little in the training, go off the presenter’s script a bit, explore and discover, then she may be much more likely to develop comfort and even a sense of ownership. But it can be very tough to balance a training session’s objectives with this type of empowering and unpredictable flexibility.

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Published February 16, 2012

Rebecca Rodgers
Rebecca Rodgers is a senior member of the Step Two consulting team. Based in Brisbane, Rebecca brings over 12 years experience on a variety of large projects in the corporate world. Her focus is on intranets, usability and user centred design.