A knowledge base article is an informative writeup about the product or service that is provided, and it solves a related problem or it teaches how to properly use the products and its features. It is collectively kept in a system known as the knowledge base.
The difference between a knowledge base article and other articles is that a knowledge base article is titled, structured, written and categorized in such a way that it could be searched and found in the shortest time.
There are specific steps which are best practices for writing a knowledge base article are not very complicated but requires little more time and effort. You can create a knowledge base article that could help educate your customers about your product and would reduce the number of support tickets significantly.
Here are my steps for writing a great knowledge base article:
1 ) Do it at the earliest
When you know that your customer support team gets many tickets on a particular issue and there is a solution to that issue, start writing the article immediately. And when customers call for support you could refer them to the article. This will significantly reduce incoming support requests.
Even when your product has a been updated or when it has a new feature it is important to write a knowledge base article about it at the earliest. You could also setup analytics for your knowledge base so that you know what your customers are searching for in your knowledge base and you can write an article for it. You can also put these answered articles in the FAQs list so customers can find it easily.
2) Know who you are writing for
It is essential to know your customers for writing a knowledge base article. You cannot write an article based on your views alone because customers may not have much technical knowledge. Many knowledge base articles are written for the ‘ ideal customer,’ but you must understand that there aren’t many such ‘ideal customers.’
A good knowledge base article is written with an average customer who has minimum knowledge in mind. Questions such as:
- What issues are likely to be encountered by this customer?
- What are basic actions or terms that need to be defined for this customer?
- What are the core features that will be useful for this customer?
You need to think of common questions like these question and have to answer them in your knowledge base article.
3) Create custom Templates for Consistency
Each article will help solve some type of problem. Certain types of articles which solve similar problems have a common structure. So properly formatting templates for each type of article will give consistency to your articles. Having templates for your knowledge base articles will help save time and increase productivity, so it’s vital to get the templates right. A sample knowledge base template can be seen on the image.
Knowledge base templates could be created for questions like:
- How-to’s – step by step instructions on how to execute a particular task
- Troubleshooting – tips for identifying and fixing problems
- Reference articles – an explanation which gives the meaning of various options
- Best practices – recommendations for getting the best out of the product
4) Titles, Categories, and Tags
A short, precise and searchable title is important for a knowledge base article. When making a title, you need to use specific keywords so that the article can even be searched using a search engine, because average customers are going to search for answers in google first, before coming to your site.
Adding your article to a specific category is key in organizing your knowledge base. Also, remember to add specific Tags using keywords which will help users search and find the article. For example, Microsoft knowledge base has articles which explain the meaning of all the keywords and terms they are using on their support site.
5) Using Media and Workflow
Using media is more effective than using plain text alone. So using images like screenshots, charts, graphs and tables, audio, GIFs and videos could greatly help the customer to understand what you are trying to convey through the article. You can use free websites like Canva to create your infographics like charts, tables etc., as shown in the picture.
Introducing media like a video in the middle of the paragraph could distract the customer. So it is important to keep in mind the workflow of the article while using them.
6) Headings and Table of Contents
While writing long articles, it is important to break it with headings and subheadings, so that it is easy for the customers to digest the content.
If the article is extra long, Table of Contents should be added at the beginning of the article / to the side of the article so that the customer is able to navigate easily through the article.
7) Keep it concise and well-linked
Since the Internet has created an age of short attention spans, it is important to keep things to a bare minimum when writing a knowledge base article. Though it may be sometimes challenging, keeping things short and to the point is an essential aspect of writing a great knowledge base article
If there a problem extends to another problem or when a information is recurring in another article, you can provide links to the other article. You should at least have one article with the information. The more articles you have in your knowledge base, the easier it will be to link the articles.
Though it is not very prudent to overly upsell in a support article, there are times when they can become useful to upsell.
Many times when there are different versions of the same product, it is possible there are additional features in the higher version is able to solve the problem of the customer, so encouraging the customer to buy the higher version is a great upsell.
When you have different products which can be integrated with each other, then it is easy marketing to highlight the added benefit of integrating the other product for solving the particular issue
9) Use the appropriate tool for the Knowledge base
While creating an online knowledge base, the most important thing is to get the best tool for creating and managing your knowledge base. The best tool for creating a knowledge base with which you can write the best knowledge base articles is Helpie WP. It is the most advanced knowledge base plugin for WordPress. You can a Helpie Demo for your knowledge base.