Why Miserable Intranet Stats May Indicate Success
How about turning the conclusions from your intranet statistics all around? Your failure becomes your success. What was bad before is now good and vice versa. But how, and why? Let me explain it to you.
Let us assume this is your story: Your CEO wants you to measure how valuable internal communications is to the organisation. What do you measure?
Probably how many clicks you have on the intranet every month, how many pages people visit at a time and how long they stay on each page. The usual stuff Google Analytics provides you with.
If you’re like me, you work very hard on both quality and regular posting on your intranet. And you check on your stats regularly.
Shockingly, the click rate goes down after a period when you worked really hard to improve the intranet structure and it’s content. Your CEO isn’t happy and you lose your confidence. What on earth did go wrong?
You Interpret the Figures the Wrong Way
It’s easy to be blinded by your own work. If you work with internal comms, it’s often mainly about the intranet. The intranet serves as the company’s information hub. Nothing wrong there. If you’re the intranet editor, you want the employees to read what you publish on it. That’s what you measure: clicks, pages visited, bounce rate… And that’s what your boss judge your work by, right?
But, think about it one more time. What’s the company’s aim with the intranet? Probably not having people click around the intranet all day long. The aim with the intranet is to help the employees do their work tasks more effectively. And what’s effective when it comes to intranet use? Quickly find what you’re looking for, right?
Keeping people informed is not the same thing as they spend as much time as possible on the intranet
Actually, effective communication means keeping the employees informed in the shortest period of time. And that’s why high click rate and a lot of time spent on the intranet doesn’t necessarily mean success.
A short time span on the intranet and not so many clicks may on the contrary indicate you’ve done your homework: that you have improved the site and/or educated the staff so well that they find what they are looking for without having to click around very much.
You Write Exceptionally Well
Good writing skills should prevent rather than encourage people to click on the “read more” link. Keeping people away from the intranet, still keeping them informed on what’s published there is your goal.
So what does low click rate on the news section say? Let’s say you’ve analyzed the headlines and your writing and don’t find anything wrong with it. Actually, you think you’ve done better than before. Still, your stats tell you about fewer clicks. How can this happen?
The truth is: if you write an excellent headline and a very good introduction, fewer people need to click on the link to read the entire story. You’ve already made your point clear and that’s excellent! Your co-workers get the picture, and that’s many times enough. Not all employees need to know all the details all the time!
And, as well, if your headline and introduction is clear, people don’t have to spend valuable time reading a fuzzy story to get a clue of what’s happening (and perhaps still not get it). So, if they don’t click on the link – it may be proof your job is well done! And, as you know, time is money and this way you save money for your company. Your CEO should be proud of you instead of concerned.
For you who still got high figures on your employees intranet use, here’s some tips and tricks to lower them, still maintaining your outreach and assure excellent employee communication.
1. Write a killer headline
A good headline not only draws interest and attention to your story, it should also be informative. At it’s best, it answers one or more of the questions “What is this story about?“, “What’s in it for me?” and “Why should I care?”
2. Work on your front page excerpt
Write a really good introduction or summary. Your goal is to tell the story in one single line. If people get it already on the front page, they don’t need to waste valuable work hours to get your point. A good excerpt saves time and money!
3. Use journalistic techniques
Make sure the most important facts are there in the beginning. Be broad at first and narrow your story more and more at the end. An editor should be able to shorten your article from the end without losing your point and so should your readers. (Remember that people actually read less than you think).
4. Make your post readable
Satisfy both skimmers and those who like to dwell into every detail. Make use of lists, bullet points, a lot of white space, paragraphs, links and sub-headings. A good article is skimmable but all the facts are there for those who need all the details. Use plain language and skip all jargon. Avoid word fillers and corporate bullshit. Go straight to the point. Don’t waste the employees’ valuable time.
5. Make sure navigation is easy
If you want to cut down on time people spend on the intranet, make sure it’s easy to find the stuff they are looking for. Make sure every employee get a proper introduction to your intranet. And make it as easy to navigate as possible. Cut the crap: delete pages no one ever visits, re-work messy information and archive old data. Maintain a clear structure and be aware of information overload.
How do you measure internal comms and intranet success? It’s not easy to obtain reliable figures. Please share your experiences in the comment box below!
What readers tweet about this article:
— Kevin McDougall (@kev_mcdougall) December 26, 2012
— OO’Neill (@TessaJONeill) March 30, 2013
— Billy Hamilton (@BHamiltonWords) March 30, 2013
— Katie Hadgraft (@KatieHadgraft) April 1, 2013
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