Building a trove of online educational content can pay dividends far into the future, our data shows.
Our 2017 Telecom Community Benchmark Study— reviewed in more detail here —determined that the value of online knowledge bases only increases with time.
In the telecom industry, it’s common to use an online community for answering customer support questions. These support-focused communities provide a constantly growing stream of user-generated help content, which over time becomes a knowledge base that helps tens (or hundreds) of thousands of people.
What can you do to maximize the value of your community as an online knowledge base?
Collaborate internally as you scale
At the outset of the inSided implementation process, we ensure all of a community’s stakeholders—typically support, marketing, product, and customer experience teams—are aligned on the community’s high-level goals.
Objective alignment ensures KPIs are set and roles and responsibilities are agreed upon. It sets the community up for maximum impact from day one—and it’s a major reason why 90% of inSided communities achieve positive ROI within a year.
It’s hard to overstate the importance of internal collaboration when building a knowledge base. Ultimately, you’ll count on your customers to produce most of the community’s content. But to reach a point where this happens, you must align internally, assign roles, and set clear community-success goals.
Actively moderate community activity
Once a community is established, it’s the responsibility of the moderator(s) to make it successful. How many moderators are necessary? In our telecom benchmark, one full-time-equivalent (FTE) moderator manages about 1,000 community posts per month. In some instances, moderators handle as many as 1,500 posts per month.
As discussed here, we recommend that moderators serve as content editors who—in addition to making sure users follow the community’s rules and guidelines—tag community posts with an appropriate category. This simple step helps users find answers more easily and turns your community into a searchable content library.
In addition, it’s important to edit post titles to match what a person would type in a web search. This kind of “natural language” content is typically rewarded with high SERP (search engine results page) placement.
Leverage community content across platforms
Taking steps to improve SEO is extremely important. Typically, between 50% and 80% of a community’s traffic will come from organic search.
It’s for this reason that the inSided platform optimizes community posts for search engines to crawl and index. When a new post is created, it receives a unique URL, signaling to a search engine that the content is new. In addition, community content is metatagged for search engine analysis.
This backend optimization—combined with the above-mentioned steps for moderators to take—will make your community more visible and your community content more searchable.
You can increase visibility even further by publishing community posts on other digital platforms, like your FAQs, support microsite, or product pages. We see this as the future of online communities—infusing user-generated content into every part of the buyer journey.
Even if you limit your focus to building a world-class online knowledge base, you’ll be on the right track. Ninety-one percent of people say they would use an online knowledge base that meets their needs.
By Ben Foster
Content Marketer at inSided. Having worked in B2B tech in San Francisco and Boston, Ben's now happy to be in New York City. He'll never root for the Yankees, though. Connect on Linkedin