Is Your Company Bleeding Knowledge?
John Hall | Contributor
In the world of business, knowledge is currency. And, like currency, knowledge can seem scarce when you need it most — unless you’ve got something in the bank.
That’s where knowledge management comes in. Just as libraries provide direct access to a world of information, knowledge management systems codify the collective wisdom of your team TISI -0.15%. And if you’re creating digital content, organizational knowledge is a critical asset for engaging your target audience ADNC -2.34%.
Leverage Team Insights Into Content
A new generation of technology is making it easier than ever to collect, categorize, and share vital information throughout your entire company. Systems such as Bloomfireare even gamifying knowledge management by allowing employees to digitally “high-five” one another for adding wisdom to the centralized repository.
Thanks to this new wave of technology, any company can now create a robust, meticulously organized knowledge bank. However, as you might remember from your days in the college library, simply having access to information doesn’t guarantee success. A knowledge management system is only as powerful as what you do with it.
So how do you translate institutional knowledge into engaging digital content? Here are a few tips:
1. Create Audience Personas
Everything your team does — from closing a deal to handling customer complaints — presents a learning opportunity. Why does this client love your company? Why did that one leave you? Transcribing insight into your knowledge management system helps humanize your network.
Instead of thinking about your audience in the abstract, create personas based on real-world experience. Who is your primary customer? Who is your ideal partner? Using your knowledge bank, paint a picture that incorporates everything from demographics to concerns about your product.
At Influence & Co., every article we publish targets a specific persona. “How to Sell the C-Suite on Investing in Content Marketing,” for example, is a direct response to challenges some of our primary clients (marketing directors) often encounter.
Narrowly pinpointing and visualizing various elements of your target audience will lend more specific insight so you can craft content that speaks to their needs.
2. Collect the Wisdom of Leaders
While lessons from the front lines are a vital asset, they’re not the only kind of knowledge you should be banking.
The diversity of expertise within your team is staggering, and it can be incredibly useful for creating interesting content. At Pubcon, I met Duane Forrester, a senior product manager at Bing. As the conversation jumped from SEO to wearable technology and self-driving cars, I marveled at the depth and range of Duane’s intellect.
Imagine you’re a content writer at Bing. You’re doing an article about trends in search, and as you pore through the knowledge management system for information, you come across Duane’s thoughts on the future of wearables. Thanks to his insight, you’re able to make a fascinating cross-industry connection that both strengthens your piece and expands your audience.
Superior content reflects the specific intelligence your team holds. By sharing their unique perspective with the company, leaders can equip content creators with fresh ideas and angles.
Be Proactive in Knowledge Management
Not all knowledge management systems are created equal. Our vice president of content, Brittany Dowell, expands on this fact in a recent blog post. Features and user experience can vary wildly from product to product, so you should choose something that meets your company’s specific needs and tastes.
Once you’ve selected a knowledge management system, you’ll need to consider a range of questions, including:
- What type of information will we store? Will you collect only text, or will you also bank audio, video, and images?
- Who will have access? Who will be able to add and edit information? Will you limit reading access to your team, or will you make certain resources available to clients as well?
- What’s the best way to categorize knowledge? Effective categorization will make or break your knowledge bank. If your content creators can’t quickly sift through relevant information, they won’t take advantage of the system.
Once you answer these questions, invest time and energy in educating your team about the system and its benefits. Only when your employees understand the relationship between organizational learning and growth will they actively — and willingly — contribute.
If knowledge is power, then the creative application of knowledge is competitive advantage. Cultivate brainpower as an asset, and it will take your company in new directions.