Wednesday, January 3, 2024

How to increase your comms reach with Microsoft Viva?

The marketing messaging around Microsoft Viva touches the comms aspect, mentioning that Viva has tools for communication, but what tools are these? Let’s assume you're familiar with the Viva tools; what options do corporate communicators then have to reach their audience in Microsoft 365?

Microsoft Viva offers multiple applications, but only three are part of its “Employee Communications and Communities” proposition: Viva Amplify, Viva Connections, and Viva Engage. Viva Engage concentrates on the community and employee engagement part of this offering; hence, I didn’t cover it in this blog post. In this blog post, I focused more on Viva Amplify and Viva Connections, and how communicators can use them to increase the reach of their messages within their companies. 


Advanced comms capabilities in Microsoft 365 come with an additional cost. By purchasing the Microsoft Viva Employee Communications and Communities license at a list price of $2 per user, per month, you gain full access to the features of Viva Amplify, Viva Connections, and Viva Engage. Note that this might not apply to Copilot features in Viva Amplify or Viva Engage, whenever they become available.

Viva Amplify

The digital workplace consists of multiple applications, so you and your coworkers spend time in different tools throughout the day. When you're collaborating on a project or for daily communication (calls and chats) with your coworkers, Microsoft Teams might be the place where you spend a significant part of your work hours. When you're engaging and discussing with your coworkers about topics such as Artificial Intelligence (AI) or Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) in internal communities, you might be in Viva Engage. When you're accessing corporate news, how to pages, or documents, SharePoint is probably your go-to place. If you're a vendor working partially on a project, your primary communication tool with your client might be email, for example, using Microsoft Outlook. We have different touch points across Microsoft 365, and as a communicator, you want to ensure that your messages reach your audience no matter where they are.

Let's now imagine a scenario where the “Mouse & Cat” organization, in cooperation with an external agency, develops a powerful, AI-based chatbot that integrates with the organization's data. The comms team of “Mouse & Cat” was tasked with the creation of a comms campaign about the AI chatbot (Chatty) to keep employees and the external agency informed about the project's development, pre-launch, and launch activities. Enter Viva Amplify! The comms team of "Mouse & Cat" can create a comms campaign in Viva Amplify that, in simple words, will help them create and publish news posts as well as understand how the content resonates with their audience. For example, the comms team can publish a news post titled "Introducing 'Chatty', Our Internal and Secure AI-Powered Chatbot" across multiple channels; they can publish it as corporate news in one or more SharePoint sites, in the AI community in Viva Engage (coming soon to Viva Amplify), within the chatbot project in Microsoft Teams, and even email it to relevant employees at the external agency.

Launched in October 2023, Viva Amplify is an ideal tool for communicators in Microsoft 365, enabling them to reach their audience across multiple channels and keep everyone informed. Viva Amplify supports two key comms aspects a) help communicators effectively reach their audience and b) help communicators understand how their audience interact with the content across different channels. These insights enable comms teams to track metrics like unique views and identify the tools through which employees most engage with the content.

A campaign in SharePoint vs. a campaign in Viva Amplify

A Viva Amplify campaign is a dedicated area in Microsoft 365 that comms teams can use to work on one or more news posts targeting a common topic or a comprehensive comms campaign. From planning to content creation, publishing, and analytics, a campaign in Viva Amplify provides the structure for the content creation flow and content performance analysis.

A campaign in SharePoint is usually a site that concentrates information about a specific topic for a given period. In a campaign site in SharePoint, you can find documents, links, events, news posts, and more about a common topic.

Viva Connections

Viva Connections is a Microsoft Teams app that you can access from the Teams client or mobile devices, supporting audience targeting, branding customization, localization, content curation, extensibility, and multiple instances. You can use Viva Connections to access important announcements, company links, and news posts from SharePoint. You can also use Dashboard cards (widgets) to access information as well as connect with applications from your digital workplace. For example, use the People card to find information about your coworkers or use the Shifts card to check your shifts or clock in and out.

Launched in 2021, Viva Connections was initially introduced to simplify access to the SharePoint home site for Microsoft Teams users without the need for context switching. It also brought a new mobile experience, making it easier for companies to connect with their frontline workers. Viva Connections has significantly evolved over the past years, and the recent feature rollouts make this Viva app more attractive for comms teams operating in Microsoft 365 than ever before. From announcements to news spotlight, and more, the following sections cover the currently available options that comms teams can use to increase the visibility of their messages in Viva Connections.


If you're looking for a way to communicate important messages to specific user groups in your organization, Announcements in Viva Connections is an excellent choice. Announcements take a prominent presence in the Viva Connections home experience, appearing as a top banner. Announcements remain visible for a maximum of two weeks, and you need to keep your messages concise with a title (max. of 60 characters length) and description (max. of 250 characters length).

For more information on Announcements in Viva Connections, see Use announcements in Viva Connections. If you're looking for integration options with Announcements in Viva Connections, see Integrate with Announcements in Viva Connections using the Microsoft Graph API.

Boosting news

You can boost up to ten news posts from an organizational news site in SharePoint, positioning them prominently in the following places in Viva Connections: The Feed and the News card if configured to display boosted news. However, the recently updated experience for the Feed doesn’t seem to support boosted news, so I recommend that you test this feature before depending on it to increase your comms visibility. You can also define the order and duration for how long news posts should be boosted.

For more information on how to boost SharePoint news posts, see Boost SharePoint news from organization news sites.

What is an organizational news site?

An organizational news site is an official space in SharePoint for communicators to publish their news posts, giving their content a higher relevance in the Microsoft Feed (aka. Viva Connections Feed) as well as a special visual treatment in the SharePoint start page. Currently, you can have up to 100 organizational news sites in your Microsoft 365 tenant, but you (or someone from your IT team) need to use PowerShell to designate a SharePoint site as an organizational news site. I know, I know… this isn’t an ideal experience, but I expect it to become user-friendly over time. 

Is my SharePoint home site an organizational news site? Yes, a SharePoint home site automatically becomes an organizational news site if it was created as a communication site.

For more information on organizational news sites, see Create an organization news site.

Company links

The new Resources experience in Viva Connections allows intranet owners to easily add new links that are visible to all employees in the organization. You can use that area to curate links to specific content pages in your organization, such as “Meet the HR team”, or a link to a comms campaign in SharePoint increasing the visibility of important topics.

News Spotlight

New in Viva Connections, the News Spotlight appears prominently on top of the Viva Connections home experience, displaying news posts from the home site in a carousel format based on the order they were last published and respecting the audience targeting applied to the news posts in SharePoint. Boosting a news post doesn’t impact the relevance of the content displayed in the News Spotlight section. Use this section to highlight and surface news posts that are most relevant to your audience.

Microsoft says that a future update is planned to make the News Spotlight customizable and to include news posts from organizational news sites. Stay tuned!

News card

Previously called Top News card, the News card in Viva Connections Dashboard is a valid option that you can use to display news posts from the following sources: “Boosted news”, “From the home site”, “From all sites in this hub if the home site is associated with a hub site”, “From selected sites”, or “Recommended for the user”. Use the News card to increase the visibility of news posts from a specific source in our intranet. For more information on the configuration options for the News card, see Create a Viva Connections dashboard and add cards.

Is the Viva Connections Feed a good option for communicators?

The new Feed experience has significantly changed with the latest, major Viva Connections update. Previously, the Feed in Viva Connections showed only content from SharePoint, Viva Engage, and Stream. Apparently, Microsoft has bigger plans for the Feed section, so they renamed the Viva Connections Feed to Microsoft Feed (BTW, if you aren’t aware of that, Microsoft loves product renames), extending its functionalities and removing the focus on communication. The new Feed lives behind an extra tab in Viva Connections that when clicked, shows five buttons on top of the page with content related to specific areas: For you, Stay on top, Meeting insights, My network, and News. 

According to Microsoft, “The feed automatically balances fresh and engaging content with corporate communications to keep users interested, while also ensuring that they see the most important information related to their daily work life.”; So, the Feed doesn’t give communicators control over the order their messages appear. The Feed doesn’t even display news posts in the publication order. Also, there are some extra clicks required to get to the News section in the Feed tab, complicating findability. Instead of using the new Feed and relying on luck and chance to reach my audience, I would rather use other options in Viva Connections to bring my message to the company employees. At the end of the day, the Microsoft Feed will include news posts anyway, but this isn’t a reliable option to reach employees.

For more information about the Microsoft Feed, see Overview of Microsoft Feed.

In Microsoft 365, the sky is the limit

If you have a specific use case that you’d like to implement and you can’t find the solution with out-of-the-box capabilities, never forget that Microsoft 365 is a highly customizable platform. You can work closely with your IT department or a consultancy company to develop a custom solution that will help address your specific scenario.


The comms aspect in Microsoft Viva has significantly evolved over the past few years from limited display-only functionalities to multi-channel publishing and more visibility for corporate news, giving communicators more options and control over the "when" and "where" to reach the company employees. If your organization can afford the extra investment, Viva Amplify helps you structure, create, publish, and monitor your news posts.

See also

Thanks for reading,