The top 10 pieces of advice every knowledge manager and help center author should take into account
Do your customers have questions? Knowledge base to the rescue! Focus on creating the crucial knowledge base element — articles — and you'll make your customers happy as well as your teammates. Here are our top 10 tips and tricks on how to write a perfect knowledge base article! Follow them for awesome results.
1. Discover the needs of your customers
Unsure what to write about? Ask your clients. Their challenges should drive your content. Use tickets and help center analytics to source article topics, looking for the most requested issues so that your content can help as many users as possible.
Help center analytics will give an idea of the most popular searches and needs, and will clarify which articles are the most helpful. Keeping an eye on analytics will also help you figure out where updates are needed and why.
2. Pinpoint the topic by narrowing it down
Usually, customers have simple and exact demands. Try to portion out your topics instead of serving all the information at once. The best way to do this is to narrow the subject down into subsections. For other menu topics, you can help direct a clients’ search by suggesting Articles in this section or Most popular articles.
3. Don’t forget about formatting
An excellent knowledge base article is not just plain text. Uninterrupted walls of text cause user fatigue, and make it more difficult to find information efficiently.
Here’s where formatting will help. It allows you to make content in the help center more attractive, engaging and convenient to read. There are a ton of great formatting options, such as:
Indispensable for emphasizing important information and making it stand out to your help center visitors. By using different colors and frames, you can separate instructions, important links and call-to-action segments, to help your visitors find the specific information they need.
Images and Video
People are visual learners and prefer to see information in graphic or audiovisual form. Don't hesitate to break up text content with visuals — images, videos and photos. Try including videos throughout your article; you may see an increase in sessions as clients revisit the content again and again.
To enhance visual content in your article, add effects on images and videos such as shadows or frames.
Tabs and accordions
You don’t want your pages to look too long. Tabs and accordions let you get a lot of content into one place without cluttering up your help center. They allow certain content to stay off the page until the user is ready to view it. Creating easy-to-digest content is simple once you have these formatting options within your custom Zendesk help center theme.
In general, icons help direct customers' attention to certain points in the article. But imagine if they could be changed by color, or animated — it would give the whole page a totally different feel!
It’s easy, and there's a lot more where that came from! For example:
- Font sizes
- Customizable blocks
- Text styles
- Font Awesome
Zendesk Help Center, by default, does not come with formatting options to format articles, but we’ve solved the problem with a special extension that’s fully compatible with all Zendesk themes. It allows you to make content in the help center more attractive and convenient to read.
On the other hand, you won't need any additional extensions for content formatting if you choose a Zendesk theme with article formatting options already included.
4. Use templates
Templates are timesavers — yours and your customers’. They help you as a writer to focus on content, not format, and they help your clients find what they’re looking for quickly. Customers will be less frustrated when content is organized well! Try these template categories:
No need to reinvent the wheel — templates are here to simplify the creative process. Just choose the template for your article and fill in the blanks. In a few minutes, your article will be ready to publish!
5. Simplify writing
Customers don’t need a textbook, appendices, and advice from experts. They need answers as quickly and as simply as possible.
Your clients are not product experts, so avoid technical terms, or explain them with a glossary. Don't use slang and alternative meanings. At the same time, if the target audience of the knowledge base article is professionals, use appropriate language that they will understand.
6. Use keywords for SEO and help center searches
Did you know that your knowledge base article can be SEO-optimized? That means your customers can Google their issues and find answers in your self-service portal or competitor’s sources. Use keywords in the article that will help you be on top of searches and become the number one problem-solver for your customers. Using keywords will also be useful to your help center visitors while they search inside the knowledge base.
7. Add content tags
Tagging allows users to find all the articles dedicated to one subject, with one click. If you regularly add tags to your articles, you will get lots of goodwill from your clients and notice an increase in sessions. Admit it, as a content creator or agent you’ll probably use them too!
Note that tags are not the same as labels. They aren’t searchable, but if you click one, all related articles are opened in the search page.
8. Add links to other articles
Clients will appreciate links to other content that may be relevant, because it gives them the option to look for more information if they need it. Knowledge base users like to be guided in their journey, so let your audience feel free to flow from one article to another. But don't spin them around; nobody likes to be forced down a rabbit hole that goes nowhere. Make sure things stay logical by using a linking strategy, and check every reference to avoid distraction and confusion.
9. Get feedback
Add a question at the end of the article to get user feedback. You can also provide the option to comment on the article, and suggest contacting a customer service agent. These options give your customers opinion value, freedom to judge content, and the opportunity to follow through and get an answer.
And what will you get? Data. One more piece of food for thought about how you can improve your knowledge base content.
10. Last but not least: Improve the article over time
After you write your article, don't forget to come back to it for updates. Stay aware of your clients' needs by checking feedback forms and analytics regularly. If you see customers and agents actively using the article, or if you see increased ticket deflection around the topic, your previous job was fantastic. You created an excellent knowledge base article! Don't forget to tell your peers and celebrate it.
But if you see something missing, something your readers still need, that’s where to focus your efforts. Look through our advice again and continue to refine your content. There’s never any reason to stop aiming for perfection, is there?
We hope we’ve helped you learn more about how to write a knowledge base article. Follow these steps, and you’re closer to outstanding knowledge base content — precise, up-to-date, and in line with customers' needs.
If you have any other questions on how to improve your Zendesk help center, contact Lotus Themes, and we will help.