Originally published January 26, 2015

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I was asked by APQC to participate in a roundtable called KM Professionals Respond: Creating Content People Actually Want, the first part of which was published today. Here are the thoughts I contributed.

Organizations tend to think that their content is of interest to their stakeholders, so they attempt to push it out. Instead, they should rely on making it attractive so that people will desire to pull it.

To use pull instead of push, ask stakeholders what they want, listen carefully to their answers, and then be responsive. Review search results, queries posted in the ESN, email messages sent to distribution lists and official mailboxes, and requests made to knowledge brokers. Look for patterns of missing or hard-to-find content, and then take steps to provide that content and make it easy to find.

To make content easy to find, provide content using multiple ways. Here are some specific suggestions. Also see Articles and Presentations about Content.

Offer these user interfaces

  • Navigation
  • Search
  • Bots
  • Facets
  • Related (since you downloaded X, try Y)
  • A-Z Index
  • Tags
  • Bookmarks
  • Sorted
  1. Most visited
  2. Most liked
  3. Most reused
  4. Newest

Offer these channels

  • Intranet sites
  • Blogs
  • Mobile apps
  • Email subscriptions
  • Hardcopy subscriptions
  • RSS feeds
  • ESNs
  • Podcasts
  • Video

Take advantage of

  • Mobile optimization
  • Photos
  • Podcasts
  • Video
  • Hashtags
  • External social media such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Quora, SlideShare, etc.

I have been in organizations which

  • Automatically archive or delete content after a specific length of time. I don’t favor this approach, and wrote about it. See Don’t automatically archive content; improve search instead for details.
  • Monitor content usage and archive or delete content which has not been accessed after a specific length of time, does not have a current owner, or is deemed to be obsolete. This may be better than basing it only on time, but it still could result in content being removed which may prove useful in the future.
  • Conducted a survey of content to ask explicitly if it should be retained, using a voting mechanism. This can be useful for a small collection or during a content migration.

Here are five suggested ways to make useful content easier to find.

  1. Make the search engine able to limit results by the date of the knowledge object. Defaults can be set to limit results to the last 90 days, one year, or whatever duration is desired. But it should be easy for users to change the date range to include older content in the search results.
  2. Add a “I reused this document” or “I found this useful” button, similar to a “Like” button, but more specific, to all content. Encourage users to click on this button for content they were able to reuse.
  3. Allow content to be tagged with “recommended” or “good example” or “proven practice” by an authoritative source. See Content rating is different behind the firewall for more on recommended tags.
  4. Allow searching by date, tag attribute, most-liked by users, etc., and make content with the most tags, “I reused this document” or “I found this useful” clicks, tagged with “recommended” or “good example” or “proven practice” by an authoritative source rise to the top of search results.
  5. Determine the topics of greatest importance to the organization, curate a list which can be searched and filtered, and feed these as enterprise search best bets with links to the content deemed to be the best for each of these key topics.

Written by

Knowledge Management Author and Speaker, Founder of SIKM Leaders Community, Community Evangelist, Knowledge Manager https://sites.google.com/site/stangarfield/

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