How to get quality content

In my last post I gave my view on the benefits you gain from good intranet standardsStandards are good for intranets.  They make it easier for people to ‘do’ whatever they need to using intranet content, collaborative tools and applications.

Diana Railton asked me to cover quality content.  This is a broad area which several specific standards can contribute to overall.  One of the most important things people value about BT’s intranet is the confidence they have in the integrity of the content they use.

One main reason for this is a standard which means publishers must keep information up to date and clearly owned so users can rely on its quality and integrity, especially for formal content & services. Information management is critical and covers all types of content in line with our information retention policy (IRP).

Formal content

Publishers must review information regularly and every page must have a review date and show the owner to give users confidence.  The review date must meet IRP. 

If the page of content is dynamically created, it must still say how often the information is reviewed.  Our content management system automatically provides the review date feature in the templates.

We have a tool which checks content every day and informs publishers 4 weeks before the review date expires to review and update or remove the content.  Failure to do this results in the content being removed and if no action still taken automatically deleted.  This means people can’t use out of date information and make bad decisions because of it.

Team, crowd and personal content

The more informal content, held on wiki and blog platforms, will be managed with a traffic light approach.  For the first 12 months of its life, the information is unflagged and open to those with permissions.  The active ‘green’ phase.  It then enters the review stage:

Amber phase

After 12 months, content will be flagged ‘amber’ indicating that it is approaching the review stage in its lifecycle. Any member of the user community can revert the content back to the ‘active phase’ for a further 12 months if it is still being used, is still relevant and is up-to-date.  The content will remain flagged ‘amber’ for 60 days if nobody re-activates it.

Red phase

Content that has been flagged ‘amber’ and has not been re-activated by a member of the user community during the 30 day ‘amber’ phase, will automatically then be flagged ‘red’. Any member of the user community can put the content back to the ‘active phase’ for a further 12 months if it is still being used, is still relevant and is up-to-date. The content will remain flagged ‘red’ for 30 days if nobody re-activates it, after which it will be automatically deleted.

11 responses to “How to get quality content

  1. Really interesting, Mark – thank you very much. I learnt a lot from the links as well.

    In your link to the ‘tool which checks content every day’, you mention that ‘BT will try to use the Flesch index to calculate how readable content is for users’. How high a score do you aim for? And how seriously do you take it?

    Since your content writers/editors have ‘mandatory training’, presumably you use other editorial checklists as well?

  2. Diana,

    It’s something for the future still. The Intranet Benchmarking Forum was it for their benchmarking. They always seem to pick the poor examples of content on our intranet when they do this! 🙂

    I understand a score of 50 and above is good but most content is below this. Obviously the higher the better!

    The problem is it is hidden away in MS Office features and not known. I would like to get an automated tool to read all web content – not just Office docs – and inform owners of their score with help on how to make it more readable.

    I believe potentially there is a huge productivity saving if users found content more readable.

    But it is difficult to quantify the benefits to justify the business case to invest in the tool’s development to do this though……….


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  4. Dear Mark, this is nadav from as so, we are in the process of creating a new site with quality content from the football ticket inductry with a special focus on Barcelona – our destination. after spending loads of time reading about online marketing and football tickets selling … my conclusion is simple: hard work. creating quality content results of deep studie of your “niche” and giving a particular well based view on it … we are supposed to begin next week so i hope im ready!

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  6. Thanks for your post. I’ve made reference to it on my recent post for your methods in managing formal content.

    I’d also wish to know the tool you’re using to keep track of review expiry dates.

    • Simon,

      It is a tool developed within BT for its intranet called Page Minder. Sadly it is customised and isn’t something you can use on your intranet. We are looking at buying a tool which will replace Page Minder and have extra functionality but haven’t found one to buy or recommend to you……………yet. 🙂

      When we do, I’ll post the details on my blog.


  7. Thanks for your post. I’ve made reference to it regarding the method you’ve used to schedule and review formal content.

    I’d wish that you can share with me the tool you’ve been using to achieve this.

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