Knowledge Management Best Practices For Internal and External Communities

Ruth Neighbors

Previously, we described how use cases are at the foundation of any successful community.  In this post, we'll talk about how several communities handle in depth knowledge management for their members.


Workflow of Content Creation and Management Cycle

Unlike your typical Jive collaboration scenarios, best practices for knowledge management dictate a tighter, observed process. This usually involves content templates, guidelines and an editorial process. Here are a few examples of how we handled this in internal and external communities.


Use Case 1: External Community of a Multinational IT Company

  • Content Creation and Oversight: Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) were responsible for curating their own content for their particular customer-base. They built content in groups for internal review. Whenever they finalized a piece of knowledge, they then moved it into a customer-facing space or group.

  • Standards for Metadata: The company had a team orchestrating metadata standards for everything published. Key metadata owners would curate and manage tags, naming standards, descriptions, etc. for content areas. New metadata was vetted by this team. It was a regular process to cleanse tags and enforce/notify of changes. The team convened monthly, but depending on the topic and area, the reviews might happen weekly instead of just monthly.

  • Search: Search Engine Optimization (SEO) experts worked with both metadata and content owners to improve search results. They focused on optimizing all of Jive's content description areas for search. Because document descriptions affect search as much as federated search, they taught content owners how to properly describe their content. 


Use Case 2: Internal Community for a Strategic Advisory and Business Development Network of Consultants 

  • Centralized Official Information:  Community managers created one space for uploading "Official Content" which might include case studies that are used and reused with clients. Marking content as "Official" was done to give it more credibility and help it stand out from what other Non-SMEs are sharing. 

  • Content Creation, Structure and Oversight: Content tags and categories were systematically used for every case study. Subject matter experts agreed up on a taxonomy with seven different characteristics to fit their information needs. They organized their content using categories for industry and lines of business. The other characteristics were listed as tags. 

  • Standard Page Naming Convention: In addition to categories and tags, all articles were titled in the same manner:  Content Type - Industry - Title - Year. For example, Case Study - Automotive - How XYZ Company Helped XXX Win Customers - 2016. 

  • Consistent Curation: Community managers curated content weekly to ensure that naming conventions were observed and that content was being posted in the appropriate place(s).

  • Teach User Best Practices for Sharing: Within each work group, they encouraged SME's to use the Jive sharing feature in their discussions of the content.


To sum up, you need information standards and dedicated owners to manage that content.

  • Set up rules for who updates and curates content.
  • Consider how people search for content and invest the time in proper taxonomy, naming and tagging conventions.
  • Develop a process for reviewing your content regularly.
  • Educate your members best practices for sharing information.


Extra Reading: Need to explain what a use case is to a colleague?

See Community Use Cases: What You Really Need to Know (in Under 500 Words)