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The term “Knowledge Management” (“KM”) has been floating around business and marketing spheres for years, though it remains only vaguely defined. But, with the rise of online tech such as voice search and artificial intelligence (AI), combined with the way that people and devices across the globe are now in constant digital connectivity, discussions surrounding KM have been revived in the context of Digital Knowledge Management (DKM) for businesses of all sizes. And the momentum behind that conversation is building rapidly.

What is Digital Knowledge Management (DKM)?

Essentially, DKM equates to cataloging and disseminating all public knowledge available about your law firm’s brand in a controlled and curated fashion. This includes basic information, such as your law firm’s name, address, and phone number (NAP data), as well as so-called “enhanced content” like photos, videos, biographies of your firm’s employees and attorneys, recordings of television or radio interviews with yourself or your employees, and descriptions of the services offered by your law firm.

Twenty years ago, your law firm’s website was likely the only place where potential clients could reasonably expect to find reliable information about your firm online. And, early in the days of online search, Google’s search results were limited to ten blue links on a page. This meant that search engine users had to travel to another site from a search results pages in order to get the information they were looking for with a search. Today, however, search results can include photos, videos, local maps, news headlines, and knowledge graphs, all of which can answer questions for search engine users without requiring them to navigate to the actual page containing that information.

Approximately 25 percent of Google searches contain a knowledge graph.

How Will Digital Knowledge Management Affect My Law Firm?

With the increase in online media such as reviews sites, directories, and social media platforms, it has become much more difficult for law firms to manage all of the public-facing information available about their firm. And where a business’ web presence was once limited to the site or sites owned and operated by that business, today that information is widely distributed across the web.

Much of the information posted online about your law firm is populated automatically by AI software that records and publishes the data it finds without requiring any input or verification by a business owner or employee. Without making a concerted effort to implement DKM for your law firm, much of that information about your firm may be incorrect.

In a survey of 2000 consumers in the UK, eighty percent said that they had received incorrect information about a business from an online source; more than half of those individuals said that this was not a rare occurrence, and almost half reported that they blamed the business in question for such misinformation, rather than the search engine or external resource that provided them the information.

Since many of these external entities self-populate the business profiles they feature, the DKM problem becomes one of ensuring that the primary source of your law firm’s information is kept current and up-to-date at all times. And since sources for that information can vary from platform to platform, it’s not uncommon for incorrect information on one platform to influence other platforms, causing incorrect information to duplicate and spread to other sources across the web.

As it becomes increasingly difficult to monitor and maintain all of the information available about your law firm online, many marketing and entrepreneurial influencers have suggested that the position of “Knowledge Manager” will become more common for senior level marketing professionals. In fact, an October 2017 article from Forbes titled “15 Essential Digital-Focused Roles Your Company Will Need to Fill” lists “Digital Knowledge Manager” in the number-one position. Several large companies including T-Mobile and FedEx have already filled dedicated “Knowledge Management” positions, as have Michigan-based healthcare provider IHA and musical education company School of Rock, to name a few. And this is just the start of DKM going mainstream.

Do I Need to Hire a Digital Knowledge Manager for My Law Firm?

For most small law firms, it will not make sense to hire a dedicated knowledge manager. However, that does not mean that your firm should neglect the responsibilities and duties associated with such a position. DKM is an increasingly important function for businesses of all sizes. And, with the right technology, small law firms can handle their digital knowledge management needs themselves. Having access to a dedicated DKM service, such as the one offered by LawLytics, makes finding, updating, and correcting your information easy.

While handling your DKM without assistance or the right technology is possible, manual, self-service DKM can quickly become a never-ending effort to chase down and fix incorrect information about your firm as it arises on the web. As soon as one listing is repaired, another may populate with a new piece of incorrect information. Listings services, however, make the update process instantaneous, efficient, and painless by serving as a central hub for your firm’s most accurate and up-to-date information.

DKM for your law firm shouldn’t be ignored. In fact, even before the marketing community had a name for it — or, for that matter, services to assist with its implementation — DKM has been an integral part of your potential clients’ interactions with your law firm online. And it’s only going to become more important as consumers turn to additional sources online to learn all they can about your law firm before hiring you to represent them.

Follow this link for more information about LawLytics Listings, or schedule a call with us to learn more about the current state of your law firm’s online information.