Building Sticky Content

By | December 12, 2006

How appealing is your Academy Hub content, does it attract users to revisit the Hub frequently leaving them hungry for more? Ask yourself the following three questions:

  • Is your Hub an essential part of your organisation’s infrastructure, if not why not?
  • How often on average do your employees use your Academy Hub, and setting it as the default page on their browser when they log-in does not count?
  • Honestly, could you or your organisation function in your day to day work without your Academy Hub?

If any of the above make you question the value your Academy Hub gives to your organisation, then you could benefit from sticky content. Designed to be memorable, relevant, informative and useful, this type of content will get users to come back for more. Interested? Well, the following ideas may help you cook up a recipe for success.

Refresh Your Content
If you expect your users to visit daily then the content also has to change on a daily basis. Not all of it, but enough to make a difference. This means that news and content not only has to change but has to be seen to be changed. Ensure your visitors get to know what’s new by informing them on the Home Page.

Practical Hints: add a ‘What’s New’ box on the Home Page that leads to the new content and change it on a daily basis; E-mail information on big changes out to the users and pull them to the site.

Get To Know Your Users
Not only does your content need to be refreshed often, it also needs to be relevant. If you are not sure what your users would find interesting or need, then ask them. By being responsive and reflecting your user’s needs you are demonstrating that you value their views and this will encourage usage.

Practical Hints: add questionnaires, polls and surveys that ask for new ideas and then be sure to act on the results.

Get Your Users To Own Their Information
Decentralise your content by having each department, function or team take responsibility for their own part of the Hub. This means publishing that information must be as easy as writing an e-mail or saving a Word document.

Practical Hints: when splitting a site into different areas for decentralised content management, always look at the content from the users’ rather than the organisational perspective. Cross departmental teams working on the same content can only be a good thing.

Make Your Content Easy To Access
In most cases the user interface is the last thing companies think about when deploying a Hub; however it should really be the first. If you want your employees to spend part of their work day within the Academy Hub, the user interface has to be intuitive, easy to use, visually appealing and if possible personalised.

Practical Hints: profile your users. You can then make the browsing experience a personalised one. This ensures the banners that appear on the Home Page are of interest, the menus that appear are important to them and the news and resources are relevant.

Avoid Bland Content
Remember quality is always better than quantity, so be selective in the information posted on the site. Try not to sensor too much content and always be truthful. Remember if the users feel it is just a mouthpiece for the senior management team and not a place to source factual information (good or bad) then it won’t get used.

Practical Hints: remember news is only news when it’s recent, when its dated it’s history! News has a shelf life, always archive when news or resources become dated.

Channel Communication Through The Hub
Start using the Hub to distribute news and information. Circulate e-mails with a summary and then link to the full document on the Hub, also add links to your e-mails that go to news articles or resource documents.

Practical Hints: remember respect individuals e-mail; always circulate on a ‘needs to know’ basis. The more e-mail (particularly non-relevant) that individuals get, the lower the impact will be when important information is circulated.

Whenever Possible Measure Activity
Remember you will need to demonstrate an ROI for your Hub and this means demonstrating usage and recording savings whenever possible. This can range from the amount of paper saved because many previously paper based files have been moved online, to recording saved time (and potentially resources) as many manual processes are automated.

Practical Hints: it is important to understand that to improve your site you will need to know where people are going and what they are doing. Remember however to respect confidentiality at all times. If users feel Big Brother is watching they will avoid using the Hub.

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