Optimizing Content: Community, Content Contribution, Analytics & Monetization
In previous posts, we talked about the Fragmentation and Structure, Distribution, Display, and Search Methodology tracks of the Knowledge Value Maturity Model, designed to help you see where your organization “places” compared to others in the industry regarding knowledge and content utilization. This week we will be focusing on our final tracks: Knowledge Community, Content Contribution, and Knowledge Analytics and Monetization.
In this blog post, we will discuss how you can benefit from the community of people who use your content, like customers and SMEs, to improve content while engaging your customer. Then we will talk about how you can use topic-level analytics to optimize your content and enable your marketing department to increase sales, particularly upgrades and cross-sells.
Your Knowledge Community and Content Contribution
In a lagging organization, knowledge only moves in one direction: from the company to the customer. Performing companies, however, have expanded on their knowledge communities, allowing customers to rate content and how-to articles and to comment themselves. This further engages the customer and gives content creation departments much-needed feedback.
World-class organizations go one step further and use their knowledge communities as a way to improve the content itself. A world-class organization takes full advantage of the knowledge community, integrating customer feedback and input from support personnel to continually improve the official documentation. Knowledge community feedback and additions are added and referenced in the original content, allowing for quick improvement.
A world-class knowledge community includes employees from different departments: not only technical documentation but also members of the engineering department, customer support, and field service. Partners and customers are also part of the knowledge community, so that the organization will always know what new content is needed and what content is not “hitting the mark.”
How does this work? Let’s look at a scenario in action with our customer Maria, who has decided to upgrade to Acme’s Widget 4.0. Maria installs the upgrade, but she has an issue with Platform 2.3. She goes to the online portal, but does not see her issue addressed. Maria calls support and reaches Luke in the call center. Luke walks Maria through the issue and adds a support article to the knowledge portal that addresses upgrading Widget 4.0 on Platform 2.3. Luke’s article is available immediately to customers and is also transmitted to Julie, the technical documentation manager, so that she can review it and add it to the regular product documentation.
Peter, a field service engineer for Acme’s partner Platforms ‘R Us, is about to install an upgrade to Widget 4.0 at a remote location without Internet access. As a community member he has already defined his preferences on Acme’s portal, so any information about the new upgrade is automatically pushed and downloaded to his mobile device. When Peter installs the upgrade, he sees Luke’s article immediately. He notes that Luke’s solution needs to be changed slightly when working with Platform 2.3.5. He writes a comment responding to Luke’s article, and the comment is updated in the portal as soon as Peter is back online. Peter’s comment is also forwarded to Julie for inclusion in future documentation releases.
Maria’s friend Bob is updating his widget, too. When he has the same issue as Maria, he immediately finds Luke’s solution with a filtered search on the company portal. Bob sees Luke’s article updated with Peter’s addition, and Bob doesn’t need to call support to solve his problem. It was so easy to find the solution that the problem did not impact Bob’s experience with the upgrade, and he is quick to recommend it to friends who use Widget 3.1.
This scenario demonstrates the potential of empowering the knowledge community. By having your content go both ways, you can build customer and partner relationships, increase customer satisfaction, and add to the value of the customers you already have.
Knowledge Analytics and Monetization
The move to intelligent content enables a higher level of analysis and monetization of both corporate content and customer data. Structured, topic-level data allows documentation departments to see which pieces of information are actually accessed by customers and which are never seen because of a lack of customer interest. This allows technical documentation departments to further optimize documentation and save resources by no longer updating content that customers are simply not interested in. Tech docs can concentrate resources where they are needed most.
As studies have shown, potential customers evaluate a product based on its online documentation. This means that marketing departments as well can learn which features are interesting to potential customers through topic-level analytics of content.
Topic-level analytics based on a personalized knowledge portal generate contextual, customer-specific information. Using these analytics, an organization can know precisely what features, upgrades, or new products a customer is interested in. This allows companies to engage customers with content based on their interests, easily upselling and cross-selling. With a two-way customer knowledge base, where customers can comment on topics and even build their own manual, they have already expressed an interest that allows the corporate marketing team to send customers contextual “selling” information that will be considered a service.
Maria’s friend Bob has been exploring the Acme Widgets portal, and he realizes that he can actually choose the topics he is most interested in, and create a personalized manual. He can download this manual as a PDF, but he prefers accessing it through his mobile device.
One of the features that Bob uses all the time is Widget 4.0’s automated phlebotinum generation, and he includes this feature in his personalized manual. Acme has further optimized phlebotinum generation with its new Widget 5.0, and content describing the new feature is “pushed” to Bob. He reads the information on his mobile device, and continues reading related features on the online portal. Acme’s automated marketing system gets an alert about Bob’s interest in the new feature, and he is automatically sent an email offering a deal on upgrading to Widget 5.0. An action is created on Acme’s CRM system for a salesperson to follow up. “Coincidentally,” Bob was just thinking of upgrading, so the email arrives right on time. Bob upgrades to 5.0 and is soon benefiting from more and better phlebotinum.
By now, the benefits of moving up the knowledge value maturity model should be clear. Business benefits are achieved on every track and at each stage.
The move to the “performing” level on each track will generate increased productivity for content creators and greater knowledge sharing. This sharing of knowledge makes employees more efficient and customers happier.
The move to world-class further increases productivity and expands the value of corporate knowledge with a customer and partner community that is based around your optimized content. Knowledge sharing becomes the engine behind employee productivity, customer satisfaction and engagement, and increased sales to new and existing customers.