Use a knowledge bank for content marketing
During the 2010s, the information highway took on its full meaning. Social media platforms, such as Facebook and Instagram, have matured and evolved into essential marketing tools. Businesses of all stripes have begun to extract value from the immense volumes of data that the Web has democratized. And customers, armed with more information and technology than ever, have shifted the balance of power from sellers to themselves.
Also in 2010, content marketing claimed its place at the table. And since then, it has established itself as one of the best ways to build credibility, increase brand awareness, generate leads, and drive business growth.
But that doesn’t mean marketers have it all figured out. According to a 2021 report from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, some 42% of content marketers say they still struggle to access subject matter experts for content creation. Another 38% say siled teams and a lack of internal collaboration often get in the way of effective content marketing.
Such challenges will kill the momentum of your content marketing strategy if you’re not careful. Fortunately, they are not insurmountable. Marketers looking to harness the full power of content marketing can use a knowledge bank to streamline the content creation process.
What is a knowledge bank?
If you’ve never heard of a knowledge bank, don’t panic. You are probably not alone.
Basically, a knowledge bank is a repository of information provided by your company’s subject matter experts that you can use to create content items.
These ideas don’t need to be tweaked or even fully fleshed out, because the knowledge bank is more than the sum of its parts. Nuggets of information can be used as a springboard for content ideas or they can provide important context that helps you better understand certain topics.
For example, in my agency, our account teams accurately map their clients’ expertise through our knowledge banks. Sometimes the most spontaneous thoughts can turn into influential articles. And when you back up impulsive thoughts with support, like third-party research and real-life examples, they ground themselves in a reality that audiences can understand.
A knowledge bank will also help you save time in your content creation process. You don’t want to ask your subject matter experts the same questions over and over. This wastes everyone’s time and causes frustration. Instead, you can extract already existing expertise from the knowledge bank and ask experts to fill in the remaining gaps.
For example, our account team members will always review a client’s knowledge bank before interviewing them. Because the Knowledge Bank is searchable, they can easily see if this customer has answered similar questions in the past. If so, account team members will pre-populate the Q&A provided with this information. Then they give the client a chance to revise or build on past ideas rather than having them start from scratch. And by saving all the information gathered, teams can reuse interviews for multiple pieces of content.
Four Steps to Using a Knowledge Bank for Content Marketing
1. Use a template
Sometimes the hardest part is getting started. Make it easy for yourself by using a template.
It doesn’t have to be anything fancy. Our model (reg.req’d), for example, is a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet, but if you’re one of the 38% of marketers who struggle to collaborate, you can take inspiration from our template to create a knowledge in a spirit of collaboration. user-friendly platform, such as Google Sheets. This way, multiple team members can access your knowledge bank and update it as needed.
After selecting a template, start customizing it according to your needs. Consider how your team will sort information and add tabs and filters for easier navigation.
Next, populate your template with information your content marketing team might need to refer to throughout the content creation process, including general company information, lessons learned, personal stories, biographies and common customer issues.
You can also include links to relevant press releases, marketing materials, published articles, and social media mentions.
2. Remember the devil is in the details
Adding ideas to the knowledge bank with little thought or care is a recipe for disaster. Why save all that information if your team members can’t find what they need when they need it?
So when entering information, be sure to add important details, such as dates and relevant links. Also, create and adhere to formatting guidelines so that the knowledge bank doesn’t look messy.
Finally, consider creating some sort of key so that anyone on your team can contribute, navigate, and organize the knowledge bank with relative ease.
3. Don’t set it and forget it
The retention period for information has shortened considerably over the past decade. If your knowledge bank is full but all the information is from 2012, chances are it won’t add much value.
To ensure that all the examples, ideas, and research in your repository are relevant, you should regularly review and update the knowledge bank.
How often you make these reviews will depend on the cadence of your editorial calendar, but I recommend at least quarterly reviews.
During reviews, remove outdated content and irrelevant information. And if your company has changed its position on a subject, update this information as well. This way, your content marketing team always positions your business accurately.
4. Establish guidelines and ensure accessibility
More than likely, individual teammates will use the Knowledge Bank a little differently, and that’s okay as long as you have guidelines for keeping things organized.
To determine what these guidelines will look like, ask yourself questions such as these:
- Who owns the Q&A process?
- Who fleshes out insights from subject matter experts with industry research?
- Who is responsible for taking this information and turning it into full-fledged articles?
Set usage guidelines based on your answers. Then secure enterprise-wide access. You may not want every employee to add information to the knowledge bank, but everyone, regardless of role, should be able to see and extract information.
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Content marketing isn’t a new strategy, but teams won’t be able to maximize their content efforts if they don’t row in the same direction. For this reason, it’s a good idea to use a knowledge bank to classify the thoughts of subject matter experts, store important permanent information, and reduce unnecessary friction in the content creation process.
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