It's no secret that to be successful in search today, you need to cover a lot of bases. We've covered Digital Knowledge Management (DKM) before and in the months since, the importance of DKM has only risen. We're starting to see more people at more companies with the title of Digital Knowledge Manager. This person has come into play for companies worldwide because of the parallel nature of the current marketing stack, with their role being focused on unifying communications within a company.
To define this new focus, Digital Knowledge Management entails identifying, managing, and curating your entities. This is foundational, and includes cataloging all of the information you want the public to access about your business. This ranges from simple data like name, address, and phone numbers, to more complex items like doctor's credentials and specialties in the healthcare space. This also applies to other areas like legal, insurance, automotive, and many other industries with their own unique attributes.
By not managing this data, you don't just miss opportunities, you allow for potential confusion that consumers and search engines need to unravel. Assuming your website is the single source of truth doesn't make it so. Today you need to actively monitor and manage hundreds of places that surface your brand-level data to consumers. That could be third-party directories, social media sites where consumers search, and maps on a mobile device.
A successful path forward with Digital Knowledge Management includes execution across a number of areas such as content, reviews/ratings, making your website secure and mobile-friendly, deploying structured data (Schema, in particular), in addition to more traditional elements — including SEO, social media engagement, and even paid social and search options.
Success today is not found in a single tactic. It comes from executing a sound strategy that combines multiple approaches to ensure the best consumer experience. After all, search engines don't reward you for having a plan. They reward for excellence of execution.
Digital Knowledge Management as a Strategy
Building a Digital Knowledge Management strategy means a commitment to cross-functional sharing and communication. It is another pillar that helps to ensure foundational collaboration exists and works. From the start, every project and campaign would see greater internal exposure and support from across various teams. This strategy is about the orchestration of work and can become the connective backbone between different groups within a company that all touch a common project or campaign.
Internally, for example, your paid search program is a unique and useful resource for information around conversions, consumer interest, and the buyer's overall lifecycle. That information can inform both content and SEO programs, which themselves can help reduce overall ad spend by bringing content to consumers in an organic manner. SEO isn't a strategy, it's a tactic, but being able to see all internal programs from a higher level and blending the strengths of each is the focus of Digital Knowledge Management.
Externally, potential customers see a more cohesive message across all touchpoints for your company, building retention of message, aiding brand recall and ensuring that when a message does land with a customer, it resonates deeply.
Digital Knowledge Management as a Role
Your need someone with an overarching view across your projects. A person who knows what's happening with all your parallel efforts who can link resources and opportunities before they are missed. This is where Digital Knowledge Management becomes a job. This person isn't a project manager but is aware of multiple projects in flow at the same time. They see across different projects and bring best-of-breed information from each effort to the next project in line. This new role is emerging as a logical growth path for today's SEOs, who generally come from a space that requires a person to work across diverse services, untangle difficult questions, and make decisions in ambiguous situations. Just being an SEO pro, however, may not be enough. To really be successful in the role of Digital Knowledge Management requires knowledge of each internal group's unique focus and how that work gets done. It's tough to give clear guidance on running a coordinated PR and social media campaign if you haven't done either job. The ideal candidate for a Digital Knowledge Management role will have experience across a number of disciplines.
Digital Knowledge Management as the Foundation
As data about your business spreads across an ever widening digital footprint, you need to focus on managing that footprint. If you don't, it breeds confusion — and that's something search engines don't respond well to. You can do that work manually, or you can look to a platform that can help manage this data. Either way, it's a commitment that needs to be made.
Tomorrow's success requires a deeper investment in Digital Knowledge Management today. As SEO has become a foundational tactic to a larger marketing strategy, Digital Knowledge Management is becoming the foundational strategy to help secure a competitive advantage in the complex consumer digital experience.
Here are some next-steps you can take today to get started:
Create an inventory of all of your entities (name, address, phone, emails, C-level profiles, credentials, certifications, whitepapers, videos and so on)
Schedule a monthly collaboration meeting where all project/campaign owners can update one another. This can be high level or deeper, but should include all stakeholders from marketing, project management, product development, and anyone else deemed necessary
Identify common areas of overlap between projects or campaigns and investigate if efficiencies in operations for these areas can be found
Discuss whether you need to create a Digital Knowledge Management role for your company. Someone whose responsibility is to manage all of this and communicate broadly inside the company. This job description can help get you started.