Intranets are becoming a must-have for franchise-based businesses. That’s no surprise. A well-designed intranet has huge benefits for franchisors and franchisees alike.
It links together franchisees and head office, allows information to be transmitted instantly across large geographical areas, enables ideas to flow up and down the organizational chain, and provides a tool to create a unified corporate identity.
However, if you have invested in an intranet, that’s not the end of the story. To make it work for you, sourcing the right content is crucial to get your Franchisees on board - and coming back.
- 1. The Importance of Great Content For Your Intranet
Finding, producing and publishing the right content for a franchise intranet isn’t easy.
A successful intranet needs to feature content that will inform and inspire franchisees to perform more effectively. It needs to be accessible to all stakeholders, and it also has to be regularly updated to remain relevant and provide up-to-date company news.
If the content on your intranet becomes stale, or it isn’t strong enough to engage franchisees and staff, the whole system can become a waste of time and money.
On the other hand, if your content is relevant and well-produced, your intranet can become “sticky”, acting as the hub of the organization and helping to keep everything running smoothly. When this happens, you will achieve a far better return on your intranet investment, but how can this be achieved?
2. Create the Kind of Content that Franchisees Can’t Ignore
We’ve all heard the saying “content is king”, but what kind of content should you aim to produce in an intranet context?
Every piece of content you publish should be useful, accurate and relevant. Remember that you are not simply providing “information” to your franchisees or stakeholders. Instead, should be trying to find ways to turn raw information into attractive, readable text or relevant videos.
Each piece of content should be focused on a purpose. It has to have a “use” for readers, whether that’s a new way of working, signing up for a training event or finding out about product launches. Empty content full of motivational slogans or personal opinions is far less valuable, so try to avoid it at all costs. In a recent Blog post we talked about Best Practice sharing, which in itself is very powerful content.
Your main role as a Franchisor is to support your Franchisees in achieving their best potentials, making them successful will inevitably contribute to your own.
3. Make Your Intranet Completely User-Friendly
It doesn’t matter how well-written or fascinating your content is. If it can’t be found, it’s useless. All of your content should be indexed so that franchisees don’t have to work hard to find what hey are looking for. Make sure that you use tagging effectively and put a robust search engine in place as well. Don’t clog your intranet up with replicated or pointless content either. Have a clear plan for what sections to include. Otherwise, users and content managers can easily become lost.
Many franchisees work on the move, or carry out administrative tasks on their way to or from work. Because of this, optimizing your content for smart-phones is another must, so make all content responsive, so that pages are automatically adjusted for smart-phone or tablet screens.
The overall aim should be to ensure that the intranet is as accessible as possible. That way, it will be used as much as possible by your franchisees, instead of being a waste of resources.
4. Ensure That Publishing Is A Breeze
Publishing new content to your intranet should always be quick and simple. That way, your managers and writers will find it much easier to maintain a feed of up-to-date material. Instead of being a static database of information, your intranet will be a “living” forum for everyone to exchange ideas and stay informed.
Think about the roots of Facebook’s success. Essentially, it is an incredibly simple publishing tool, allowing users to create their own mini-networks that pulsate with life. Images and text can be used to spread messages far and wide at the click of a button. Your intranet should be just as easy to use and full of energy. But, in contrast to Facebook, your intranet must have a rigid control of access and who's allowed to read and share. A robust rights management is crucial, and it will also secure that individual users only can access content and files relevant for their role.
Include the ability to post images or video as well. When you couple images with text, you can create results that are far more compelling and attractive. However, always remember that loading times are a key consideration as well. So be sure to feature auto-scaling of images to ensure that load times don’t ruin the accessibility of the network.
The Key Ingredients of a Franchise Intranet
Let’s recap some of the ways to create great intranet content.
- Dedicate resources, someone has to be the owner and be accountable for the intranet and its content maintenance.
- You need to create well-written content that readers can use, that is updated regularly, and well-organized within easily searchable categories.
- Images, video and social interaction should help to bring the network to life, and it should always be easy to access via mobile optimization.
- Set rules of access to secure need-to-know availability and lessen the risks for information overload.
Does that sound hard to achieve? With a little planning and some inspiration, having a great franchise intranet is within any company’s grasp.
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Read more on our blog and visit our web site to see how Chainformation Franchise Intranet can support every aspect of cross-network communication and Franchisee support.