Intranet Content Management

By Toby Ward, CEO, Prescient Digital Media


t used to be said that feeding the intranet was akin to feeding a monster - scary, insatiable, and growing at a rate exponentially faster than the biggest teenager. 

Today, particularly with the advent and popularity of social media and SharePoint Team Sites (or any vendor's equivalent to easily-created intranet sites for teams, departments, etc.), our ability to create content easily outstrips our ability to easily manage and retrieve it.

Content management is the means by which content is created, stored, accessed, and reused.

Effective content management requires:

  • Organizational processes and rules.
  • Motivated and active content providers, writers and editors.
  • Appropriate technology solutions to support the content process and workflow.
  • Users engaged with the site’s content.

A Content Management Plan provides details and guidelines for content requirements, roles and responsibilities, formatting and writing, organizational processes and rules. An effective Content Management Plan is an essential component in supporting strong information architecture and effective, timely, and relevant content for employees. It helps ensure that content is easily found by site users, and is easily updated according to the organization’s standards.

A detailed Content Management Plan provides details on:

  • Assessment: of current content and processes.

  • Creation: of detailed information architecture and wireframes, taxonomy, metadata, workflow and documentation including policies.

  • Managing Content: repurposing, rewriting, creating, maintaining, monitoring, and archiving.

  • Publishing Content: rules for formatting, publishing, archiving and deleting content.

  • Maintenance: storing, accessing, reusing/repurposing and resourcing. 

  • Measurement & Growth: measuring and analyzing for growth. 

  • Writing: writing and formatting for the intranet.

Content Management Lifecycle

There are many ways to define and depict content management, and the lifecycle for creating and managing content on the intranet. The most simple, usable depiction for the average content author and publisher is one that illustrates the three key components of the content management lifecycle:

To plan, write and approve content for the intranet.

To input content into a template (SharePoint), add keywords and metadata, and add version and other controls to ensure the content can be controlled in the future.

To allow all users to access the content, and to allow content owners to control it, review it as necessary, and to eventually archive and/or delete the content.


Create: Strategy and Governance

Intranet Strategy
Critical to the success of any plan is the understanding of the underlying strategy. This Content Management Policy supports the strategic direction and guidance in the intranet mission statement, overarching goals, and specific objectives.

Mission Statement

The mission statement provides the highest level of strategic direction and guidance for the intranet team, and provides the intranet’s purpose. For example, the mission statement might read:

To support our mission, vision, and values by providing an innovative environment for collaboration, innovation, and interactive communications.

Goals & Objectives

Goals are overarching directives that expand upon the direction provided by the mission, and provide guidance for developing specific, measurable objectives. Objectives are S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, actionable, realistic, and time-sensitive). For example, sample objectives might include:

  • Reduce e-mail volume
  • Increase ROI
  • Increase employee engagement
  • Reduce time spent finding information

Intranet Governance
Governance defines the ownership and management model including:

  • Management Team
  • Roles & Responsibilities
  • Decision making process
  • Policies & Standards
  • Governance model

In short, the governance supports or directs the content management initiative by putting in place rules, and accountability (roles and responsibilities). And this is the crux of feeding and caring for the intranet beast – rules are required, and those creating content must understand in detail, and black and white, their responsibilities.


Content Management

Content Management in a Knowledge Management Perspective