News captures the real-time vibe of your organization, and provides a place for you to share stories and successes. It enables your culture heroes, leaders, and experts to share stories that reflect and amplify your culture and values.
In that spirit, we've compiled a list of tips, ideas and best practices relating to configuring (System Admins) and maintaining (News Editors and Reporters) a successful and engaging News view for your organization.
Table of contents
- Enlist a vibrant News team
- Set a content strategy
- Create engaging content
- Take advantage of built-in tools and features
- Use an editorial calendar
- Use templates for recurring articles
- Think of News as the living historical record of your organization
Enlist a vibrant News team
Tips for creating a your News team
- Make sure you have a great Editor in charge. Someone to energize the team of Reporters and ensure a good balance/cadence of engaging content.
- Organizations with a single Reporter end up with less engaging and less sustainable News content. You need a team of people to do this well. For organizations under 250 employees we suggest at least 5 Reporters. Double that if you are larger.
- Strive for diversity in your News team. The most engaging News views are created by diverse editorial teams, so look for people with a distinct points of view as well as a passion for your company.
- Favour energy and voice over writing experience. Recruit people at different locations and from different parts or your company. Use News to bridge your organizational silos.
- Find your culture champions! Choose people that are passionate about what you do; the goal is for them to regulalry share 'little' stories - ones that will show the human side or shine a light on a little-known area of your organization
- Recruit some experts. They can provide valuable insights that help keep News interesting and balanced. This group enjoys sharing industry news, updates on what your competitors are doing, best practices, etc.
- Give your leaders a voice. Frequent articles from your senior leaders are an important component of a great News view. Note that it is easy for someone to draft a News Article for your CEO to review and publish in his/her name.
Alternate ideas for assigning Reporters
- Making your whole company Reporters is an approach that can work even for larger customers. However, even when everyone is a Reporter, you still need to assign some committed Reporters to be on-point for keeping everyone abreast of the latest happenings and maintaining the story cadence prescribed by your editorial team.
- Regularly rotate your News Reporters or assign "Guest Reporters" on a month-to-month basis. Changing things up every once in a while by subbing in a new voice from a different corner of your company is a great way to keep things fresh.
Set a content strategy
News is where you will share news, announce initiatives, and celebrate success across your organization. A vibrant News view drives user engagement and becomes a key catalyst for your workplace culture. Here are some strategies to consider as you bring your News view to life.
- Reflect your values
News is where your workplace culture lives, day to day. And, at the heart of your culture lie your workplace values. News is a place to celebrate and reinforce those values and your brand. Make sure everyone on your News team understands what the desired values are, and then find ways to reflect and highlight them in the stories your share.
- Target your audience
Think through who you are publishing to. If you are a large organization, publish some materials for specific audiences like "Manufacturing" or "France". Never publish items to the full organization that are only of interest to a specific group -- target that group specifically.
- Share your workplace stories
Nothing engages and connects better than real stories "from the frontlines". Use Reporters from different parts of your organization to share stories of local successes and facts. Help the development team in California understand how an early customer in Germany is using the latest feature. Share with everyone what happened at the company outing in London.
- Set your cadence
Declare how often you will publish org-wide stories, and what your expectation is for your team of Reporters to deliver stories from the perspective of their region/department. Overall, you want to be publishing many News Items per week. Our best News Editors roll this all up into a content calendar.
Content strategy resources: To view a content strategy webinar (hosted by Jostle) that includes tips for building a content plan, campaign ideas, examples from customers, and more, please go here (and to see the sample campaign plan covered in the webinar, please go here).
Create engaging content
- Publish News items frequently. Our News data shows that our most engaged customers publish new News items on a daily basis.
- Encourage your Reporters to publish "small" stories often. Get them to find and share interesting facts, fascinating people, customer feedback, team accomplishments, etc. from their region or department. These kinds of "real human" stories will make your News more interesting.
- Announcements for new formal initiatives should be well reviewed and carefully crafted. But never let your News view be only formal (press-release like) articles. Make sure you mix in smaller, "real" stories that are published with minimal review.
- Mix up your News content by making use of Albums, Polls, links to Library content, and embedded video.
- Use external content. Take advantage of the Web Article feature (and use it on posts from the Customer Resources Blog!)
- Publish stories about people having fun at work. Do this often!
- Capture stories about employees giving back, contributing to charities, and doing volunteer work.
- Ask each new employee to write a short Article (or publish an Album) about themselves. Make this an initiation rite. Or take the more formal, HR published, new employee announcement approach.
- Consider creating a weekly 'employee spotlight' (‘Who am I’, ‘Day in the life of’, ‘Get to know...') that showcases individuals from different departments and varying levels of seniority. Use a simple Q&A format with photo of employee in action at work or at play. Articles like these help to humanize your culture and help employees connect.
- Bring visibility to Social Committees and Clubs with feature articles in News, enabling your employees to get involved and connect with others in the organization.
Take advantage of built-in tools and features
- Utilize the push notification feature if you have an important announcement, special event, or contest.
- Create Custom Categories for specialized content.
- Use the Web Article feature to pull in external articles of interest to your organization and publish them in your own News view.
- Use a Highlight feature to draw attention to special News items (found under Options):
Feature in banner: Displays News items for a set duration in a carousel that stretches across the top of your News. When its cycle is done, the item will appear in the News Summary Tiles according to its original publishing date.
Perfect for: Breaking news, spotlights/profiles or campaign information (for example, if you’re running a month long campaign in your org, rotate in each new related News item you publish in the banner so people can easily follow along with the whole campaign).
Tips: Don't overdo it on the duration. There should rarely be a need for an article to be featured in the banner for more than one week/five business days. Avoid a pile-up. Three banner articles at a time is ideal.
Pin until read: Affixes items to the top row of the News Summary Tiles until they’ve been read.
Perfect for: Required reading like onboarding info for new hires, policy updates, or company/personnel changes.
Tips: Stay on top of your pinned articles and remove pins from any that are outdated (like those tied to time-sensitive issues or events in the past). This is so when someone new starts at your org and they open News for the first time, they don't see every single article that was ever pinned right at the top of their view. So, to avoid them wasting time slogging through a mountain of non-relevant material, go to Manage > Published, click on the pin icon to filter the list, and remove pins as needed.
Use an editorial calendar
If you have decided on a content strategy, you can use it to build out an editorial calendar. This is a plan for your team to follow throughout the year that lays out what type of content you're going to deliver and when and how you’ll deliver it.
Attached below are a couple of examples of editorial calendars, from an actual calendar with monthly topic suggestions to a spreadsheet guide that covers a wide variety of article themes, communication topics, and examples of how you can build out your content plan and provide a road map for the coming year.
Use them for inspiration or follow them precisely, just find out what works best for your organization and get the jump on your year ahead!
Use templates for recurring articles
For people who are new to writing (or just pressed for time), article guides and templates can be a big help. We've created kits for three types of articles that are easy to put together, require minimal content creation from the Reporter, and can become regular features in your own News:
- Department Updates
- New Employee Introductions
- Position Profiles
The kits can be viewed and downloaded here.
Think of News as the living historical record of your organization
One of the great things about the News view is that there is no need to delete old News items to make space for new ones. The capacity of News can handle it, so you don't have to worry about ever "cluttering it up". You can keep every News item you publish active and just allow the newer ones to naturally push the older ones out of view.
So, why would you want to do this? Because keeping every News item active means they'll always be searchable—which could come very handy if you suddenly need to verify something that was published five years ago or want to review the results of every Poll that your organization has ever conducted. You'll always have a living historical record of your org if you ever need it.
If you still have News items you feel you should remove because they are out-of-date, no longer valid, or no longer apply to your org, then you can always use the Archive feature. Moving News items to the Archive unpublishes them but doesn’t delete them. It does however, make them unsearchable—which is why it’s best not to use Archive as a repository for older News items in general, and let them remain published instead.