With a Wiki, Input Becomes Output for Your Business

by Jill Foster on February 3, 2009

Mary Fumento

Mary Fumento

Guest post from Mary Fumento, regular guest contributor to Women Grow Business and a librarian by trade. She thinks and breathes digital libraries, resources, and technology. And on a great day, she writes about it all. Best yet, she likes to explain these resources to others on how they can help their work or enterprise.

Info, info, info.
We are drowning in the doggone stuff (it is so hard to catch it all sometimes).

But let technology help you snare some and put it to good use. A wiki is a great weapon at hand in info grabbing.

What’s a wiki?
A wiki is a web site a group of people can build and edit. What’s this? …more web?

This is the web made easy.

Really. Truly.

Anyone can do it. And you get to choose who. And you get to choose why!

Because you need something from people i.e. you need them to contribute. Plenty of resources exist that help your team choose the right wiki to use (many are free).

Work it with a wiki: collaborate in your business, for your sales, and more
Wikis are great ways to get info from your co-workers, and the kind of data you want and need.

Inside the office, you might use a wiki to collaboratively write an agenda, plan a calendar, or even to decide where to take the boss to lunch for her birthday. Wikis replace the 17 email messages it would have taken to complete the task otherwise. Instead, one document, one location, zero confusion.

Revisions are simple, the system is seamless, and the saved trees will thank you.

And no need to use it just inside the office.

Think externally.
Wikis, for instance, can be a quick and easy way to channel ideas into marketing and even future sales. Better yet, it can allow customers a chance to fully participate in services and products they care about.


  • A bookstore could allow readers to write reviews of new releases or old favorites, for instance.
  • Corner grocers could have people submit favorite recipes.
  • Valentine’s Day on the way? Flower shops could ask what romantic notions will fill the air.

With a wiki, even your customers can do the talking — about your products, how they use them, how they like them.

A wiki is about more than mere participation; it can be recommendation.

Marketing departments can use wikis to collect testimonials. What better way to sell your business than word of mouth on your wiki?

Who else? High-tech!

  • Help Desks – an internal repository for technical documents and IT information.
  • Project Management – NTEN recently used a wiki to manage their “We Are Media” community project. The entire project was coordinated, communicated and launched via a wiki.
  • Knowledge Base – due to its public nature and cross-linking abilities, this may be a wiki’s best application. This could also be an interactive, frequently asked questions page or place to solicit questions from customers.

Before you go there…
Have a strategy:

  • Who is your target audience and how will you reach them?
  • If your wiki accepts public participation, how will you handle erroneous or questionable public content (which does happen)?
  • How are you going to promote the wiki to ensure activity?
  • What internal resources can you commit to assist with wiki maintenance?

Answering these questions on your wiki’s strategy will help your internal or public wiki be more effective. Once you and your business commits to it, grow your wiki! It is what you make it or allow it to be.

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