Using A Knowledge Library To Build Employee Thought Leadership

Altimeter Group has a great quote referencing content measurement across multiple disciplines:

But measuring only for sales and leads – or simply relying on volume or vanity metrics such as “likes” and “views” that contain little innate business value or meaning – undermines and devalues investments in time, media, employees, technology, and vendor relationships.

The last part, focussing on employees specifically, is very important.

Content has changed, especially within the enterprise. What was once a purely marketing tactic has now evolved into a much larger strategy that spreads across departments.

In fact, we should probably all stop calling it “content marketing,” and focus on content strategy. Content strategy spreads across all business, including sales, marketing, recruiting, operations, and (what we’ll highlight in this post) employee knowledge.

In order for your business to stay competitive, it’s important that you invest in the professional development of your employees. But the way you do this has definitely changed. Content has become the center of everything. Employees use their mobiles first. They’re all hyper-connected on multiple social networks. Your own internal content and communications is competing against tons of daily interruptions.

So what do you do?

Content Serves A Purpose

Any company that has a sophisticated content strategy knows that every single piece of content they create or curate serves a purpose.

If not, you’re only adding to the consumers’ content shock, and sacrificing your brand’s quality.

Content can serve many purposes, including lead-gen and sales. But it can also be used to educate.

Data Is Your Knowledge Source For Content

As a sophisticated marketing and sales team, you’re constantly plugged into data.

You’re using social listening to see what the 1% and 9% of social users are sharing and interacting with.

You’re segmenting your CRM and sales pipeline data to better fill the needs of your prospects and clients through content.

You’re looking at your analytics to see how talent and candidates come to find your company and apply for jobs.

Because you have access to all of this data and information, you’re improving your knowledge, which makes you better at your job and improves the content strategy overall.

But how are you sharing this knowledge with your team? How do you transfer this knowledge at scale, to hundreds or thousands of employees?

data content strategy

Sharing Knowledge And Insights With Your Team

Your marketing team has all of the knowledge and insights provided by your data streams.

They use this knowledge to curate and create content that then gets published on your blogs, videos, and social feeds.

They might take the latest company update and blast it to an internal communications list of all your employees. “Hey guys! Here’s our latest company update! Please share. Also, follow our brand accounts for more regular updates.”

As an employee, after that 10th email you receive, chances are you don’t even open it anymore or pay attention to it at all for that matter.

Oh, and for the company updates on social, that’s a completely different story! Reach isn’t guaranteed on social networks because of all the different algorithms affecting how people receive it in their feeds. So even if employees follow your brand updates, there’s only about a 3% chance that they’ve seen it. Ouch!

This process of manually trying to blast your employees is inefficient, ineffective, and costly.

So what’s the solution? Creating a centralized knowledge library for employees to access.

But what does this library do?

The Knowledge Library – A Tool Designed For Your Employees

Most content marketing programs are designed for customers. They help create awareness, leads, and sales.

While this information is great, and employees should consume and share it, often times they simply don’t. Why? Because it’s not easily accessible, whenever they want it.

Also, your employees have a lot of content to consume in a day. Your brand’s content competes against industry news, breaking news, and funny cat videos.

Employees that care about their personal and professional development will consume a variety of content from different sources.

By creating a centralized knowledge library designed specifically for your employees, your company can make sure everyone can educate themselves and become better at their jobs.

So let’s break down what a knowledge library looks like.

content social media knowledge library

What Features Should A Knowledge Library Have?

In order for your company to fully adopt a culture of content across multiple departments and regions, you will need to invest in processes and infrastructure:

  • Infrastructure and Intranet: Whatever platform you choose to use, you’ll need to make sure that you can host multiple pieces of content and links that are easily accessible by employees. Can the platform you use accommodate 10, 200, 5,000+ employees? How many pieces of content can it store?
  • Processes and Roles: You need to spend some time designing your team and processes. Who creates the content? Who approves the content? Can employees suggest content to get added to the library? Where does the content get posted for approval? These are all questions you’ll need to answer before investing in a knowledge library.
  • Categories and Search: Not everyone will be interested in the same content. So how will you manage this? Can the content be categorized by interests? By departments? By job function? By region? Can you search the knowledge library by keyword?
  • External Sharing and Feedback: Is the knowledge library strictly reserved for employees? Or can some of the content be shared externally? How do you get feedback from your teams about what content they like? What don’t they like? A knowledge library with external sharing capabilities can be a huge asset for your brand, and can build the thought leadership of your employees.

So now that you know what you should invest in for the infrastructure of your knowledge library, you need to fill it with the right content.

What Content Should You Include In A Knowledge Library?

When you design and construct your knowledge library, think about the professional development of your employees. What content could help your team be better at their jobs? What information do they need to know? What should they know? What content can really help turn them into industry experts?

When you think about the content in this way, your creation and curation strategy changes.

Now you’re thinking about investing in your team’s knowledge instead of just pushing your company’s latest blog post.

So what kind of content should be added? Here are a few examples:

  • Industry Research: There are tons of articles with the latest research and trends in your industry. When your employees read these types of articles, it helps build their expertise. Also, if they share these articles to their personal social networks, it builds their thought leadership.
  • Latest Product Updates: Your sales and marketing team needs to know what’s new so they can sell the latest version of your offering, and better assess the needs of your clientele.
  • Job Postings: The best way to source talent is through relationships and referrals. Talented employees want to bring in people they know to work for you. Having knowledge of what jobs are available and sharing it to their personal social networks helps employees source talent for you.
  • Your Mission and Vision: It’s easier for your team to sell a product when they know what the company stands for, and where it’s heading. It’s also easier to source talent when all of your employees can accurately describe your mission and vision. Making sure you have content that reflects this can help with lead-gen, sales, recruiting, and keep your employees motivated.
  • Resources: There are plenty of resources and guides that can help your employees learn a new skill. These resources don’t have to be created by your company either. Curating guides can serve the same purpose, expand your employees’ knowledge, while making it easier than creating content from scratch.
  • Opinion Pieces And Thought Leadership Articles: Finding great industry articles can help employees think differently about topics related to your industry and expand their knowledge. Making this content available to share also helps develop their thought leadership.

There is plenty of other content that could be added to the knowledge library. Just remember, you want to invest in your employees’ knowledge – it’s not just a sound board to promote the latest company blog post.

knowledge employee professional development

Knowledge Leads To Thought Leadership

When you invest in professional development and knowledge for your employees, great things come of it.

One of our customers, Molson Coors, wanted to make sure their employees were up to date with their latest brand offerings and job postings.

They knew if they invested in this knowledge for employees, that it would lead to better talent sourcing and leads.

They used PostBeyond to create a centralized library instead of constantly emailing employees with the latest job posts and new products. They noticed by doing so, the company immediately started sourcing better candidates to fill roles. You can read more of Molson Coors’ story here.

Another customer, Allstream, wanted to develop the expertise and thought leadership of their sales team. By investing in a centralized knowledge library, their sales team were always equipped with the latest industry articles and company blog posts to share, building up their personal brands and thought leadership. Employees sharing to their external personal networks improved lead generation and overall brand health for Allstream as well. You can read more of Allstream’s story here.

Employee Professional Development Starts With Knowledge

There’s a ton of content that exists about your company, brand, and industry.

There’s also a ton of job-specific content that exists.

By sourcing some of it to a centralized knowledge library accessible to your employees, you’re investing in their professional development and expertise, at scale.

Using traditional methods of training costs a fortune. By having the right infrastructure and processes in place, you can use content to lower cost of training, and improve operational costs and efficiencies across departments.

On top of that, a shareable knowledge library develops your employees’ thought leadership, which leads to talent sourcing, better lead generation, and overall brand health.

Your company needs to shift to the modern business age, and invest in the tools that will make your employees smarter and better at their jobs.

After all, they’re your best asset. It’s time you invest in them.

Do you have a centralized knowledge library that employees can access? How do you invest in your employees’ knowledge and expertise? Are your tools and infrastructure built for the modern age of content and social media? Please leave a comment below and share with your colleagues!

Daniel Hebert

Author: Daniel Hebert

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