Teach People To Value The Information First
In our rush to get people to share knowledge, we often fill intranets and communities with information everyone already knows.
That’s not much use to anyone beyond the beginner level. A simple 101 guide can take care of most beginner questions (and a 102 guide can take care of the most frequent questions after that).
Getting people to share what they know is only useful if others value that knowledge.
They only value that knowledge if;
1) They didn’t already possess it
2) They think it will be useful.
The former is easier than the latter. If you don’t know something, you probably don’t value it.
This often means you need to persuade people that a specific category of information is important before you give them the information.
Don’t underestimate just how difficult this is.
It means you need to run a campaign among your audience. This campaign might include emails, webinars, and presentations.
First you research their values (use a variation of this survey). Position that information within their values. If they value helpfulness, show how they can use the information to help people. If they value achievement, show how this information can help them achieve their goals etc…
Next identify relevant (evocative) stories. Who has already used this information? Have them explain in their own words why they used the information and how it felt to use it. Distribute these both in quick quotes and longer-form stories (guest posts work well here).
Finally highlight the most immediately applicable and relevant information people can use now. Ideally this explains how people can do something they hadn’t thought of doing before (not something they’re already doing wrong). Make this the entry point to the information.
For example, you might not value information about developing a world class productivity system, but you might be happy to apply a few quick wins right now that will save you 20 minutes a day.
If you want a world-class knowledge system, you need to teach people to value the information shared first.