Writing an Effective Knowledge Base Article
Find yourself answering the same questions all the time? Consider creating a knowledge base.
A knowledge base is a self-serve center where customers can find information about your product or service. It is a database of articles that answer questions, teach customers, and provide tips. When done right, it can decrease calls to customer support, improve customer satisfaction, and even increase customer retention.
You may be thinking that knowledge bases are exclusive to big companies, but that’s not true. In fact, a knowledge base can benefit smaller companies even more since they may not have the resources to spend on 24/7 customer support or live chat. Besides, a study found that 67% of consumers prefer self-service over speaking to a company representative anyways.
Writing knowledge base articles expands on the idea of FAQ pages in that it covers a wide range of topics in depth. Check out the four tips below to writing effective knowledge base articles.
Tips for Writing an Effective Knowledge Base Article
1. Choose a relevant topic
Take those questions you find yourself constantly answering and convert them into knowledge base articles. These questions may include how customers can change their billing information or how they can add a video to their landing page.
Dedicate an article per question. When answering a question, you will most likely have other questions you can answer in the same article. Rather than bundling that information in one long article, create a new one and link to it. Customers visit your knowledge base with a specific question in mind—don’t slow them down by burying the answer under irrelevant information.
2. Format for scannability
Knowledge base articles should be formatted for scannability, allowing customers to find answers quickly. Below are a few ways you can develop scannable content:
- Choose the appropriate format: Certain knowledge base articles may be answered in a short paragraph while others necessitate numbered lists. Once you have developed a format for a specific topic or category, stick with it. Consistent formatting helps customers find information quicker and easier.
- Be succinct: Provide answers clearly and effectively in the least number of words. The beauty about knowledge base articles is that they don’t need to be a certain length—just enough to answer your customer’s question thoroughly.
- Speak your customer’s language: This is especially important when writing more technical tutorials where you may be tempted to write in developer terms. Check your emails to see how customers have described their problems and incorporate those terms in your article. For terms unique to your company or industry, take the time to define those the first time you mention them in the article.
- Include visuals: Screenshots, videos, and GIFs can enrich the learning experience for your customers. Screenshots are easy because they’re low effort and least resource-intensive. However, customers may benefit more from interactive media, such as videos and GIFs. Whichever visual you choose, always make sure it supplements the text content and does not replace it. Not everyone will wait for a video to load.
3. Test your tutorials
When writing how to tutorials, it’s important to verify the steps yourself. Aside from confirming the steps are correct, going through the tutorial yourself allows you to take screenshots along the way that can be used in the article, identify issues with the process, and generate new ideas for future articles.
4. Keep articles up-to-date
You will update the design of your website, app, or software at one point or another. Maybe it’s moving a button or a brand refresh—either way, update your knowledge base articles to reflect the changes. The purpose of knowledge base articles are to provide a source of truth. When articles become outdated, they become useless and customers are less likely to rely on your company for answers.
With these tips in mind, you can start building your knowledge base with helpful articles that instantly provide value to your customers. Writing the first few articles in the beginning will take some time, but it will make you and your team much more productive in the long run.