6 Tips for Building a Knowledge Base and Writing Knowledge Base articlesEstimated Reading Time: 7 Minutes
A knowledge base is a specialized tool or software that helps create, maintain and deliver information. Consider that you have purchased the best knowledge base software for your organization with a range of flexible tools to make knowledge sharing effective and seamless.
The next step would be to populate or build the knowledge base. But, wait a minute. It isn't as straightforward as it looks. You can't just feed a bunch of pre-written articles or manuals into it. Your knowledge base should tick certain checkboxes for it to become effective.
Building a Knowledge Base: Tips
Let us walk through some tips you must consider when building your knowledge base.
1. Compile the content together
The first and the most important tip for building your knowledge base would be to get all the content together in one place. And it doesn't have to come from just one department.
It should come from IT, Marketing, Human Resources, and every other department – with their set of observations, views, and suggestions. After all, every team should be able to contribute to the knowledge base.
2. Develop a style guide
Your knowledge base should be consistent in fonts, colors, images, formatting, sizes, and other visual formatting aspects.
A style guide defines these aspects of the knowledge base, and everyone who works on the knowledge base will adhere to it. A style guide works as the master tool to build the knowledge base.
3. Set the Tone
Just like the style guide ensures consistent visual representation, setting the tone will ensure a consistent way of addressing the users and writing articles in the knowledge base.
It is crucial to understand and determine how your organization talks. It shouldn't be so that one part of the knowledge base has an extra-friendly, casual tone while the other has a serious, formal tone. Maintaining consistency is crucial.
4. Keep it simple and navigable
After your knowledge base is up and running, you need to ensure it is straightforward to use and easy to navigate.
Contributors should not feel technically challenged when uploading data. They should be able to use speed templates to upload their data.
Ensure the knowledge base's content is well-categorized, labeled, and searchable. Maintain the knowledge base's ease of usage for best results. You must possess the right set of tools to manage and host your knowledge base seamlessly at all times.
5. Delegation of Responsibilities
It is crucial to know which person is responsible if something needs to be added, deleted, or modified in the knowledge base. Identify a bunch of people who will approve the content that goes LIVE.
No bottleneck or delay should be caused by authorizing a single person for all the approvals. Delegate this responsibility to a bunch of people, preferably from different departments. Similarly, it would be great to set up gatekeepers who can act as per requirement when any information needs to be added, dropped, or modified in the knowledge base.
6. Content Review & Feedback
Just putting out content isn't the end of building a knowledge base. It is an iterative process. Once you put out a lot of content, you need to see how it impacts knowledge sharing and management in the organization.
With the help of analytics, you can gain insight into how people use the uploaded content. Encourage them to leave comments, reviews, feedback, and ratings. The marketing team must check on these statistics and feedback to consistently improve and update the knowledge base's content.
Writing knowledge base articles
A good knowledge base article enables the customers to help themselves. We've put together a guide to help you create articles that are useful and engaging.
Writing a knowledge base article is slightly different from writing a regular article. Knowledge base articles have to be written from the viewpoint that a complete beginner will be reading your articles to perform a specific task or solve a particular query.
Listed below are nine tips you can use to write knowledge base articles.
1. Create a template for the articles
Start with creating a simple template that can be used to write every article in the knowledge base. Your template must consist of the below-mentioned sections.
- The Topic: To mention the topic or problem the customer is facing.
- The Explanation: To write a step-by-step explanation to complete a task or solve the issue at hand.
- The Outcome: To mention the expected outcome or result of the steps listed in the previous section.
- Additional Resources: To add links to related articles, questions, and topics for relevant information.
2. Keep the language simple
Always assume that the reader is a complete beginner. Don't use advanced, technical, or industry-related terminologies in the article. Instead of jargon, use simpler words that are easy to understand.
3. Format it easy
Overdoing the formatting can make your article difficult to read. Keep your knowledge base article's formatting simple and as scannable as possible. Use the most basic formatting tools: bold and italics, to give more dimension to your article. Don't underline the words unless they contain a link.
4. Write Precise Explanations
A lengthy paragraph containing ten lines of explanation will only confuse the readers. Write a precise, to-the-point explanation that your readers can grasp quickly. Keep your paragraphs short and straightforward as compared to writing pages of text.
5. Structure information well
Structure information with bullet points, lists, and other formatting options. This way, the article becomes more readable and easier to follow.
Here are some tips that can be used to structure the article well.
- Prioritize Information: We can agree that some pointers are an absolute must-know for every topic. Ensure that you place the most vital information first before putting actionable steps for the user.
- Follow a chronological order: You can follow a chronological order to structure the information wisely. If there is no chronological order, you can always focus on the more straightforward steps first so that the user finds more confidence in accomplishing each step as they read.
- Don't deviate from the topic: It is vital to structure the information in a way that users are focused on the tasks at hand and don't get distracted by an overload of information or a subject change.
6. Add hyperlinks
Link your resources wherever possible so that your readers don't need to search elsewhere for more information about a particular term or line.
7. Utilize visual media
Visual media supports the content of the article and keeps the readers engaged. Here are some types of visual media you can use in the articles.
- Screenshots of 'how-to perform a particular function.'
- Instructional videos
- Product images
- Product diagrams
Always remember that visuals shouldn't be overdone. It should work in conjunction with the text and not against it. It cannot replace the text, but it should work with it to make the article easily readable and understandable for the readers.
8. Proofread well
Using correct spelling and grammar is non-negotiable. Your article should be short, helpful, and error-free.
9. Keep improving the articles and updating them
Keep an eye on the customer queries concerning the article and see how you can enrich the article to address those queries. It is equally important to update the article according to the new software updates or newly released product versions.
Today, information has become a crucial part of our lives, and with the internet boom, everyone wants easy access to the required information.
While information can be safely stored within the minds of your employees, office lockers, and files, how accessible is it to your average customer?
It is important to break open the locks of inaccessible information and create doors that ease access to vital information. With a knowledge base like PHPKB, you can never go wrong. It is the best-dedicated knowledge base that allows seamless integration, multi-lingual support, and flexibility to build your knowledge base quickly. You can buy a PHPKB plan that suits your requirements or try a FREE demo right here.