“Content.” It’s a word that has taken on a different meaning in the digital age. In marketing, it’s come to distinguish content marketing – information people actually want to have (expertise, instruction, research, guides) – from the junk they’d rather do without.
When I arrived at MRG a few years ago, what I found was a content marketer’s dream: volumes of research on every topic in leadership and talent development that one could imagine. Articles and presentations about effectiveness, motivation, and behavior, sliced any way you can imagine – by country, industry, gender, age, generation. All of it was drawn from an impressively solid data source: a database stretching back decades, with data from more than a million individuals. Each study includes thousands, sometimes tens of thousands of participants. In short – it was the real deal.
Yet I learned from my colleagues that one of their biggest challenges was getting this information out into the world. I learned quickly that MRG shares its research openly and generously. Even so, many members of the MRG network simply didn’t know it was available. Even internally, it was sometimes a struggle to keep track of all the rich resources we had to share – both the work in our rich vault, and the new items we were creating as our extremely prolific new Head of Research, Maria Brown, came up with new ideas, and as we were invited to present new content at conferences around the world.
A lot of the research and educational content we had was available to the network in a place called the Resource Center – and when I say a lot, I mean A LOT. Too much. Multiple versions and formats; older research still present, alongside newer information on the same subject; materials that didn’t necessarily align with current design practices or the current look of MRG materials. Ultimately, this meant that a lot of fantastic content was hiding in plain sight.
We decided to bring MRG up to date and bring this content to the fore by creating a new home for it: an MRG Knowledge Base. This is a contemporary, highly searchable site where the MRG network can find only the newest, freshest materials – and they can find it quickly and easily. Anyone can reach out to the MRG personally for more support, but if they need something quickly, they’ll also have a way to find it fast, no matter what time of day or night they need it.
The two big initiatives required to launch the knowledge base project: update and curate. Update so that everything in our new knowledge base contains current information and aligns with MRG’s modern reports, and with current expectations for visually appeal. And curate so that all of this great content is clearly identified and easy to find – not lost in a sea of older versions and minor variations.
The knowledge base launched in November of 2019 and every MRG network member automatically has access to it. (And new network members are provided access as they join.) We can also extend access to administrators or marketing contacts as needed; just let us know.
The response so far has been largely positive, but more importantly, it’s been educational. We now have access to analytics to see what terms our network is searching, and when they’re not finding what they need. With that info, we can quickly remedy it. We launched with nearly 300 articles, and we’ve added dozens more since, as we continue to expand our understanding of how this resource can support you.
My recommendations to the MRG network for getting the most from the new Knowledge Base are pretty simple:
- Bookmark it. Once you’ve logged in for the first time, take a moment to bookmark the URL so you can stop in any time. (If you forget this step, don’t worry – there is a link to get there on MRG.com.)
- Look there first. Our client services team is always eager to take a call or answer an email – after all, we’ve been working with many of you for years! – but I encourage you to give the knowledge base a try before you pick up the phone. You may find resources you didn’t even know you were looking for.
- Give feedback. Every article in the knowledge base gives you the option to give a simple thumbs up or thumbs down. Every time you do that, it provides valuable insight that we can use to keep improving our content. (The knowledge base also provides a built-in opportunity to make requests to client services if you fail to find what you’re seeking.) I’d also love to hear from you directly: email me any time to tell me what’s working for you or what’s not. I’m eager to make this one of the best things about working with MRG! (And yes, I know that’s a tall order.)
And of course, if you’re not yet part of the MRG network… join us! While access to the assessments is the primary reason to join us, our treasure trove of research and resources is sort of a bonus gift – one that keeps on giving.