A Knowledge Library is a place for people to access the information they need to do their job.
People are not looking for miracles; they just want to find stuff quickly — but too often information is out of date, impossible to find or just plain inaccurate. It takes careful planning and management to get it right: in this post I’ll outline the four steps that you need to take to produce an excellent content library.
Twine (the product I work with) doesn’t have an auto import feature — that’s because moving to a new platform is an opportunity to review your content and clean it up. Over the years, content will have become out of date, inaccurate or irrelevant and if this persists on the new Knowledge Library, it will lose credibility as a reliable source of information. Now is the perfect time to rectify this.
Review your existing content by performing a full audit, sifting through your content, working out what you have, what you need and what you don’t. You can use as little as a pen, some post-it notes and a spreadsheet to do this; your aim is to sift out what’s valuable and fix or delete the rest. Be ruthless.
Now you’ve got the skeleton in place, it’s time to put some meat on it. This means acting on what you’ve learnt in the content audit to produce new content where information is missing, updating old content to be accurate and making sure that all articles have a consistent style and layout.
Some words of wisdom:
Avoid PDFs where possible — their contents will not show up in search and can be difficult to download if using a mobile device. Of course, they can be useful for things like printable forms. However, if the content in the PDF can be consumed just as easily on a web page, get it out of there. See PDFs V HTML for more info. And at the very minimum, put in a short introduction to what the files are about (this helps with search).
Consider using video rather than words — this can work really well with things like instructional guides. It can be as simple as recording your screen, talking into a £20 microphone and guiding people through how to use a piece of software or process. It can be a much more personal way to teach, rather than having people read an instruction manual — it’s an underused medium in internal comms.
Make sure your style is consistent and coherent — Get your guidelines right (style, tone and voice) — it gets all your writers on the same page, writing in a consistent style. A style guide can come in really useful here, as can tools like GatherContent if you have a team of people working on the content at once. If you don’t have the time or resource to make your own style guide, have your team use GOV.UK’s and you’ll be sure to produce concise and coherent articles.
Use consistent tags and keywords — Good, consistent tagging is vital if your articles are going to show up in searches. Search will use a combination of category names, article names, content and keywords/tags to produce results. To make sure that the right articles are being shown, you’ll need to tag articles thoroughly.