Knowledge Base Content Strategy: Tips to Build It

knowledge base content strategy and tips 2020

Do you have a knowledge base in place? 

If the answer is No, it’s time you create it. 

If the answer is Yes, there are more questions waiting for you. 

  • How is your knowledge base performing? 
  • Is your knowledge base meeting the set objectives? 
  • Is your knowledge base SEO done right? 
  • What value is the knowledge base adding to your business?

All these questions are directly or indirectly linked to how impactful and pragmatic your knowledge base content strategy is.

Since content forms the core of a knowledge base, your knowledge base content strategy should be crafted, keeping in mind your target audience and the problems they are facing. 

This article will take you through the steps to create a compelling knowledge base content strategy for your business, along with some major knowledge base content tips. 

7 Steps to Build an Effective Knowledge Base Content Strategy

1. Identify Your Target Audience & Build Personas 

Knowing your audience is the first step to creating a successful content strategy for your knowledge base. 

Also, simply knowing your customers isn’t enough. It’s important that you understand them to the core right from their past experiences with your brand and demographics to the constant problems they face with your products and services. 

Once you have a holistic understanding of how your customers are, create customer personas. For those who aren’t familiar with the concept of customer personas, here’s a quick introduction. 

Customer/buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your customers. You can build customer personas based on your research done and data collected about your customers. 

Here’s a buyer persona example for your reference -

employer buyer persona

To create accurate personas, gather data from reliable sources and make sure your research includes information about customers’ - 
  • Demographics - Age, location of residence, the industry of work, professional qualification, etc. 
  • Previous experience with your firm - Their familiarity with your company, how often they raise queries, the kind of questions they have asked in the past, and more. 
  • Changing expectations - What they expect from your brand, changing perceptions about your offerings, and more.

This information helps you create accurate buyer personas, understand the pain points of customers, their expectations from you, and what interests them the most. 

When you know your customers in and out, it gets easier to create knowledge base content for customers.

2. Step in Your Customers’ Shoes

Once you know the basic details about your customers, try to understand their journey with your brand right from the start.

Various touchpoints right from the time when customers visit your site and browse through pages till the time they buy your product, give you an idea of customers’ buying pattern.

Tracking the kind of complaints they have after purchasing from you also give you valuable feedback about customers’ experiences with your products and services. 

This is valuable information that can prove instrumental in building an excellent knowledge base content plan.

You can capture this data by:

  • Monitoring customers’ search patterns
  • Conducting surveys to capture feedback
  • Analyzing customer reviews on your products, services, and overall experience
  • Asking them for suggestions on performance improvement
  • Taking insights from sales and customer support staff, as both these teams directly deal with customers

These are just some of the ways that can help you dig information about how customers experience your brand. 

Leverage this data to create relevant knowledge base articles that can be of real value to your customers.

For instance, if you have data that suggests that a major sliver of your customer base prefers a particular use-case of your product, you can create more articles around that use-case.

This can save you time and a lot of effort that otherwise would be wasted in creating knowledge base content for customers that is completely irrelevant.

3. Refer to Customer Complaints Raised Across Support Channels

Have a full-fledged customer support system, with tools like live chat and help desk installed? If yes, nothing can be better than this.

Go through all your support channels to get an idea of the kind of questions raised by customers, their interactions with agents, the responses delivered by your chat operators and help desk agents, and customer ratings on agent interactions.

This treasure trove of information is of immense help when it comes to crafting content for your knowledge base.

Support channels are the right sources of information such as - 

  • General questions asked by customers
  • Questions raised around specific features of your product
  • Most frequent questions asked by customers
  • Some of the prominent suggestions shared by customers
  • Bugs reported in any of your products

Capture this data from your support channels to create an excellent knowledge base content strategy that covers everything that your customers need. Also, with the help of support channels, you will get to know which customer questions are worth your attention and which aren’t.

 For instance, if a question has been raised only a couple of times in the past few months, creating an article on it makes no sense. On the other hand, if similar questions have been raised multiple times, you cannot afford to ignore them. 

Pull out all possible questions with the help of your support channels, and compose knowledge base articles that are centered around those questions. 

When customers find out that their questions are converted into self-help articles, they will be both surprised and happy, the next time they face a similar issue. 

A great way to show customers that you care.

Why customers leave a company

Source: SuperOffice

4. Focus on Knowledge Base Architecture

After following the above steps, you will have scores of ideas around knowledge base article types. So, go back to your drawing board, and start penning these ideas and the possible topics that can be created. 

Outline a structure for your knowledge base that will be able to accommodate most of the topics in a fuss-free way. Think from the customer’s perspective and come up with a structure that has a few major categories along with their sub-categories. 

Remember that the structure of your knowledge base is equally important as the quality of your content. So, don’t mistake your knowledge base structure as something that can be treated lightly. 

Think of ways to organize your articles in a way that’s easy to navigate for customers. Don’t make it too complicated. Keep it simple, minimalistic, and user-friendly.

 Also, when it comes to categories, try not to create an unnecessarily large number of categories. Get all your article ideas together and organize them into a few major categories. 

Create a table of contents for your knowledge base where you can place all categories in a logical way, and also add other sections such as commonly asked questions, pricing, success stories, latest updates, and much more. 

Look at how ProProfs structures its knowledge base content.

how ProProfs structures its knowledge base content

Source: ProProfs Help Desk Support Center

Things to note here: 

  • A table of contents in the extreme left
  • A few major sections along with their subsections
  • A search bar to find content easily.

5. Have a Style Guide in Place

It’s obvious that no single person will be responsible for writing content for your knowledge base. It’s a team effort, so various employees from different departments will be involved in creating it.

With each writer having a unique style of writing, your knowledge base will lack consistency and uniformity. 

And that’s why you need a predefined style guide that lists down the do’s and don’ts of optimizing knowledge base content. An ideal style guide should guide writers on: 

  • How to write content for your knowledge base
  • Guidelines regarding grammar and punctuation
  • Style of writing different articles such as how-to guides, ‘what is’ articles, tutorials, etc. 
  • Rules for abbreviations
  • Formatting rules that state the ideal length of a paragraph, article alignment, use of bullets, etc. 
  • How much technical jargon is allowed
  • Rules regarding data taken from external sources
  • What kind of images and videos to add in the knowledge base content

A style guide is the common reference point for all writers and ensures that your knowledge base content speaks a single voice, and reflects brand consistency

Besides, you can also provide your team with knowledge base article templates to ensure that the quality and style of content is on point. 

Looking to learn more about styling and designing? 

Here’s a short video on how to design a knowledge base.

6. Do Not Sideline the Visuals

Your target audience comprises people with different preferences. Some like reading, while others prefer videos and images to text. 

To satisfy customers with varying interests, your knowledge base content should be a rich blend of different formats - text, images, and videos

Support content is often put on the backburner, while website or marketing content is devised cautiously, to ensure it’s free of errors and gives readers a smooth and best-in-class experience. 

What companies forget is that it’s the support content that comes to use every time visitors have a question, so ignoring it will be the last thing you will want to do. 

For you, a knowledge base with plain text might work, but that may not be the case with all your customers. So, ensure that your knowledge base has various content formats such as - 

  • Quality text
  • Relevant images
  • Video tutorials
  • Glossary of the technical terms used in the knowledge base
  • Screenshots
  • Graphical representation of data

Remember that visual content is more influential than plain text, as you can see in the image below -

importance of visuals in knowledge base content

Source: CMI

A visual piece of content is, without a shadow of a doubt, powerful, influential, and promises better comprehension than a text-only knowledge base.

7. Prioritize on Knowledge Base Maintenance

A knowledge base content strategy should also define how frequently you should make improvements in the content, and the parameters to keep in mind while doing so.

Measure customer feedback through metrics like:

  • Total reads
  • Total searches
  • Failed and successful searches
  • Poorly rated and popular articles
  • Broken links
  • Author activities, and much more. 

This valuable data can be of tremendous help in maintaining and improving your knowledge base. 

Building a knowledge base is not a one-time activity. Based on customer feedback and their expectations, it needs to be kept updated and relevant at all times, either by adding new articles or improving existing content. 

To be able to do so, invest in a powerful knowledge base tool that is capable of offering insights into how your knowledge base is performing. 

Here’s a short video on how you can analyze your knowledge base with the help of Reports.

Well, this was all about devising a powerful knowledge base content plan. 

Let’s now quickly hop on to some of the essential knowledge base content tips that can turn your otherwise lackluster knowledge base into something worth reading-

  • Keep the content simple and sober
  • Knowledge base content should be free of jargon, and if at all you use them, they should be clearly explained. 
  • Ensure that the style guide is followed across the document
  • Have a glossary section, in the end, that explains all important terms used in the content. 
  • Grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and other basic elements should be on point. 
  • Run a spell-check before publishing your knowledge base.
  • Have the right concoction of text, images, and videos. Too much of anything can be harmful. 
  • Have short paragraphs
  • Article headlines should be action-oriented
  • Try writing in an active voice most of the time
  • Ensure that content goes through multiple reviews before going live. 

Now that you have a complete understanding of knowledge base content strategy and knowledge base content tips, why not start the implementation right away?

Looking for a suitable tool to get started? Worry not! We’ve got you covered. This list of 20 best knowledge management tools will give you an idea of what to look out for while selecting a knowledge base tool. 

All the best.

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About the author

Brayn is a knowledge management expert. He has been published in CustomerThink, PointVisible and Apruve. As a customer support specialist at ProProfs, Brayn has been instrumental in building a robust knowledge base and documents that help support executives keep every customer delighted.

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