Business & Value, Global & Local

The business value of news: connecting people to people.

…… Part of The Basics series. First published in January 2008 ……

News on an intranet is very tricky.  If done well, it will bring people together, trigger communication and innovation. If not, it becomes spam.

Here are three suggestions:

1. Balance between official and spontaneous

Balance the news between official corporate polished stories (which are important for building a sense of what the organisation is all about – officially!) and spontaneous news items from all corners of the organisation (which reflect information and activities from around the organisational world).

This requires an easy one-click publishing system of some sort (note I did not say “blog”!) so that people can communicate easily. These items should be published in a space clearly labelled and differentiated from the official internal news items.

Do not think that if you solicit news from entities around the world, from which you select some to be rewritten then published, that you are providing the type of news I’m talking about. I mean straight from the people.

2. Favor local over global

If you have portal technology with different news feeds, give the most space to local news, then professional, community, divisional, regional or whatever middle-level layers you have, and the least space to corporate.

Put local in the most prominent space on the home page, and corporate in a visible but not central place.

This guideline will most likely offend many corporate communicators.  If it bothers yours, let me know and I’ll give you some explanatory ammunition to clarify!

3. Demonstrate the business value of news

Expand the concept of news beyond the “official corporate internal press releases”.

Define different types of news and include updates on what people and teams are doing around the organisation.  Example categories: project news, hot topics in our business community, what’s new with our customers, and so on. Include a link to a name and email for readers who want to know more.

If your intranet includes community and team spaces, enable people to publish news from these sources with one click.

A well thought-out news strategy can be a key way to connect people to people in your organisation and to give them a new way to communicate and collaborate.