How HR Departments Use Intranets and Content Management Systems to Drive Internal Content Marketing

In our first installment on internal content marketing, How HR Departments Are Using Internal Content Marketing, we explored the basics of this strategy and how it is being utilized by HR departments within large companies to promote and provide awareness of the organization’s policies and to foster work engagement among employees.

Basically, content that is distributed and facilitated through technology is used by most HR departments to ensure employees become aware of valuable information that promotes improvement at work. Most of the time, this content is tailored to coax the organization’s employees into action, not just to simply communicate information.

At this point, we will be moving on to the avenue of content distribution to recipient or readers. At the end of this piece, we will be able to answer the three most important questions regarding internal content marketing and its possible avenues of distribution:

  • What guidelines do we need when tailoring content?
  • How will technology facilitate the principles and goals that are targeted by internal content marketing?
  • Which avenue will be the best course to take for the internal content marketing to be effective?

Before that though, prior to the publishing and distribution among avenues, content makers first need to build content that is powerful and will have the ability to influence and engage. This is where authorship comes in. The idea of internal and external teams for content tailoring will be discussed. Usually, the Human Resource department together with the communications department may play a role in deciding who will write and what they will write.

For content to be published it first needs to:

  1. be up-to-date and based on current sources
  2. contain internal and external links related to the topic
  3. be balanced between contents for the general audience and contents made for individuals or specific departments
  4. include basic HR forms and reference materials
  5. reflect information about the organization and the customers in a form that will captivate an audience
  6. be varied and shouldn’t center on one format alone
  7. be in a well thought out, readable layout (entertainment can be an added bonus)
  8. allow for sharing (depending on the privacy policies of the company)

Intranet and Content Distribution

Intranet, CMS and content marketing can work together to fuel the engagement of employees among an organization.  photo: Alan via flickr

Intranet is like the twin brother of internet. The only difference is power, scope and functionality. Intranet works like a network within an organization which provides ‘access bridges’ to those that are allowed inside it. Printed content copies can be useful in reaching out to employees when it comes to information dissemination within a company, but we do have to admit that technology pretty much takes over the ways we handle information.

Although intranet may not be a tool that is as fully-functioning as the internet, it is one of the top ways to distribute content. Plus, intranet has all the necessary features needed for connectivity. Aside from content distribution, intranet is a useful tool designed to include apps and functions valuable for employee engagement.

Here are a few guidelines to remember when establishing content through intranet:

  1. First, intranet should be made a familiar portal within the organization.
  2. Make intranet a repository of documents and tools relevant to the employees.
  3. Make content just like you would if you were formatting it for your external customers.
  4. Allow interaction for contents you develop.
  5. Add a bit of fun in everything to keep employees engaged.

Although intranet is not used for content distribution alone, it can be managed to include content ideas. The intranet choice matters too. You can either develop the intranet to fit the content and the organization OR start with a new intranet that fits content and the organizational goals. But of course the right intranet choice may require another discussion article, and intranet may have hurdles to surpass. Management of all of these factors holds the key to the content creator’s success.

CMS and Content Distribution

If intranet doesn’t suit, CMS is another good option. CMS or Content Management System is needed for intranet and internet to easily manage content. One major, well-known CMS is WordPress. It helps to manage content and enables publishing of the content to the internet or the intranet. The key is to understand first what your company is trying to manage for content. For example, what if it was a blog with a membership, or it was a multi-authored website? That’s where CMS comes in; CMS can act in different ways and therefore can cater for many different online needs.

CMS as a tool is just the “facilitation of the process” as is emphasized by the Content Marketing Institute. It further explains that the right CMS for the job will help control process. Therefore, CMS matters when it comes to the organization of content.

Content and content writers can be technical or general. CMS helps to simplify the formatting and publishing stages of content production. CMS can be integrated with the existing intranet or can be used minus the intranet. Possibilities for publishing and distribution, as we said, are endless. But of course prior to this stage, the content creation and targeting is always planned.

(See this infographic on choosing the right CMS)

Content Should Find People

Intranet should work intelligently, curating content to reach employees based on their profile and needs. photo: Sebastiaan ter Burg

Intranet and CMS should be integrated and used to look at an employee’s connections, interactions, behaviour and profile data to make a profiled DNA of an employee. This will help filter the most relevant content for each individual accordingly, ensuring employee’s are engaged and interested in internal content marketing.

If profiling has a long way to go for your particular intranet capacity, a good way to organize content is through categorization. Each piece of content can be categorized by job function, geography, topic or department. This should be based on the needs of the organization and the platforms used for content distribution.


After touching on the basics of internal content marketing, how it is being used and how it is distributed, the final article in this three-part installment will be: useful tips on how to make the most of your internal content. So stay tuned for the Best Practices for HR Departments to Drive Internal Content Marketing.

featured image: © European Union 2013 – European Parliament


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