Getting started with Notion: this is what our knowledge base looks like

We explain how we started with the tool Notion. This helps you get started to set up your knowledge management tool optimally.

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Mark Vletter
9 May 2024
Clock 5 min

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So, you’ve got it all sorted: you have a tool for knowledge management. You might want to lean back, but that’s not really possible because you have no idea how to set up the knowledge base. Are you using Notion as your knowledge management tool? Pay close attention. I’ll explain exactly how we started with Notion at Voys. It might help you get your knowledge management tool set up optimally. 

Notion is the tool we use as our knowledge base. Notion is user-friendly, the pages areopen to edit by defaulty, and we can simply log in with our Google accounts. That’s why the tool works well for us, and chances are it will work for your organization too. 

In my previous blog, you can read why we chose Notion as our knowledge base and how we created our culture of knowledge management. 

This is how we got stuck when using Notion

Finding the best tool for your organization: that’s one thing. But making sure everyone uses the tool in the right way is another. That’s why we set up a structure within the organization which ensures that information is and remains available and findable. In this piece I’ll tell you how we did that.

Notion is the best tool for us, but using it didn’t happen automatically. The need to devise a working method and structure arose when more and more colleagues shared information in Notion. A positive development, because colleagues were using the tool. Precisely because it is so easy to share information, it is also easy to make it messy. It was a recipe for chaos.

That chaos meant that colleagues could no longer find information in the knowledge base. And the search function, a downside of Notion, didn’t help either. Because colleagues couldn’t find what they were looking for, they eventually stopped adding information. So the low threshold that appealed to us had the opposite effect.

It was time to properly organize Notion. That way colleagues would really be able to benefit from it. To do that, it was important to check what they wanted to achieve with the use of this tool. 

The purpose of Notion as our knowledge base 

Our goals when using Notion are: 

  • Easily onboard new colleagues and offer them relevant information
  • Make it easy to keep information up to date
  • Make it easy to add information
  • Make it easy to find information
  • Collaborate asynchronously on projects

Developing a system in Notion: how to get started

For us, four elements are important for our knowledge base. We have structured Notion based on these needs.

  • Sharing knowledge
  • Circles and roles, you can see these as team pages
  • Personal pages
  • Databases

Sharing knowledge

Our knowledge base consists of a number of specific topics where colleagues can find in-depth information about the organization, our working methods and our product.

  • Organization: contains general information, history of the company, vision and strategy.
  • Working method: the handbook for new and existing colleagues. Everything you need to know about the office, working together, safety and day-to-day operations is described here.
  • Product: all about our product, explaining what we offer and our roadmap.
  • Design: everything about the design of, for example, the website and marketing communications, and our design system.
  • Development: all about writing code.
  • Growth and Marketing: from our PR information to our buyer personas, as well as solutions to website problems.
  • Support: all about advising and supporting our clients.

The beauty of Notion is that you can choose a layout that you think fits well with the type of information. For example, a table fits well with content planning and plain text better with a strategic piece. In addition, you have the option to link to a page that is relevant. This breaks down the hierarchy, from important to unimportant. This creates the right flow when searching and finding information.

Circles and roles

In a traditional organization, you have a team page. We have pages for specific circles and roles. These pages contain information relevant to teams, but mostly on a practical level. The things you need to do your job on a daily basis are here. That makes it the pages where our work really lives.


Does the information turn into knowledge? Then we move it to our knowledge base. That’s a bit of a gray area, so it’s also up to the person who posts and views the information to actively think about this. When in doubt, you can discuss this with each other.

Most pages contain information that loses relevance over time and are linked to a time structure. So you can see exactly which projects were worked on and read notes from meetings and updates.

Personal pages

Personal pages are a blank space for people working in the organization to make their own. For some, it contains their ‘manual’, so you as a colleague can better understand what it takes to work well together. For others, it contains things they are working on or thinking about. The owner of the personal page has the choice to set the page to private or make it public, it’s just what that person feels comfortable with.

Databases

In our databases you’ll find the same data as used by other organizations. Notion databases are very easy to filter, so that you can quickly access relevant information. Next to that, you can display the database in various ways, for example as a board, calendar or list. This makes it very user-friendly, because there is always a way that fits your way of thinking.

These are our most important databases:

  • Decisions
  • To-do’s
  • Tools
  • Projects
  • Investment proposals

We also have very practical databases, like our content calendar. We know exactly what’s on the schedule, whether it’s a video or blog and who’s doing the task.

Research what your organization needs

Our knowledge base suits us well, but that does not mean that it is the ideal way for you to set up your knowledge base. There are also different needs within your organization. The Finance people have different questions than the Marketing team. That is why every circle with us has its own page that they set up as accessible as possible, but which also works practically for them.

Therefore, also ask for input within the organization. In this way you can create a knowledge base that works for everyone. And remember, it doesn’t have to be right the first time. You can experiment and it can also be a bit chaotic. In this way you will learn exactly what works for your organization. Notion is a user-friendly tool that offers plenty of opportunities for this.

More stories to read

On our blog we post about a lot of stuff, just go for it and read some posts for your own fun.

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from 3 May 2024

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