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Some tips to get people to participate in a content audit

Figure out which cats to herd

Your first challenge with an employee portal content audit is to identify the right people to review content for accuracy and completeness: employee portals have many stakeholders, authors, subject matter experts and content contributors. There might also be abandoned content created by people who are no longer with the company.

Meet in person

When you've identified who should be involved try to involve them in person. Emails are not enough — they are easy to ignore and de-prioritize. If possible, set up in-person or virtual kickoff meetings with the different content stakeholders to discuss:

  • Overview of content and growth (give some stats, examples)
  • What is a content audit, and why it's important
  • Process for reviewing and updating the content audit
  • Next steps, future projects or road-map of where the intranet is going
  • Each person's homework assignment

The last point is the most important: everyone should leave this meeting clear on what they are doing, and what their personal homework is. It is critical that people not only understand the big picture and where the project is headed, but also their own accountabilities and expected time effort. If the effort is not clear, or not realistic, now is the time to flag it.

Find an accessible place to work

It's helpful to have a content audit home-base. Book a meeting room for specific time periods when people can drop by and participate, or can do other work until they are needed to provide information. A few hours of focused work, and getting questions answered immediately, can help move the audit along quite quickly.

Of course, enticing people with coffee and/or snacks is also helpful!

Track progress and make it visible

It's important that the content team and key stakeholders understand the priorities and progress of the content audit. The analysis is usually buried in a spreadsheet, but if it's setup correctly, you should be able to pull reports (pivot tables for you smart people out there) that show:

  • volume of content per area
  • the percentage of content that will be kept vs. trashed vs. archived
  • overall effort estimate to revise content
  • content quality analysis (highlight which areas need the most effort for improvement and reasons why)

There are some examples on UX Matters that show the types of reports you could produce. Use these reports to show progress and remind people how much work is getting accomplished.

Provide fun incentives

A contest or game can help motivate people to participate. You might have a daily draw for a coffee card for everyone that reviews content, or give the first few people to complete their audit a little gift.

Use creative ways to get people's attention

Being a little quirky or creative with communication can also help. At Habanero we like to celebrate each other's life milestones — having a baby, getting married, etc. Cards to honour these events are often circulating around the office for people to sign with a personal message. To communicate about a content audit in a way that fits with our culture we sent around a retirement card for our intranet portal!

Included with the card was a list of content up for review. People could scan the list and make notes about what to do with the content.

This was a fun way to help make content migration a little less painful and have people looking at the stuff when we needed them to. It also created a great artifact to remember why we did this project in the first place. I hope it inspires you to think about running a content audit a bit differently, and finding ways to get people to participate!