Knowledge Base 101: Best Tips and Guidelines

Posted by
Julia in Technical Writing on 12/2/20204 min read

woman holding books

A knowledge base (KB) is a brilliant source of information for users. That is an excellent repository - store, share, and organize the information the way you want and need. You can build it for both external (customers) and internal users (employees). If we talk about customers, it is vital to show them that you are ready to interact with them not only at the beginning of their journey with your product but all the way long. In case of internal users, you act for the sake of your workflow - to teach your employees how to work most effectively and reduce mistakes.

What Are the Reasons to Create a Knowledge Base?

The basic reasons to create a KB are the following:

  • To take care of your customers. Today, the relations between the customers and vendors include not only the sales process. That is a huge and carefully thought out strategy: customers are happy if after the purchase they get support whenever they need it. You can make them more confident by providing them with relevant information right away. It is not a problem if users do not know how to use a product in detail - they know where to look it up.
  • To save your support team from answering the same routine questions every day. In the majority of cases, the support team gets the same requests every day. They spend the majority of time giving the same instructions. That is sad and unproductive. They could have done something more urgent and efficient. A knowledge base is a wonderful solution for all sides here. You will definitely reduce the number of tickets. Clients can find the information themselves, and that’s it.
  • To unify knowledge among employees. A KB created for internal use provides all the team members with the same information. Everyone acts according to the same instructions. That is a great way to eliminate information gaps, misunderstandings, and errors.

You can check out the following post to get deeper into the theme - Guest Blog: TOP 7 Reasons to Create an Online Knowledge Base.

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How to Build a Knowledge Base?

In fact, building a KB is not a super difficult task. Anyone can do it if they have the right tools. It depends on the company, but most often a technical writer is responsible for that. The main idea is to collect the most frequently asked questions and to write short but informative articles aimed at solving specific problems. You can ask not only the support team about the hot questions but also the sales managers, or you can check professional communities to learn the users’ pains.

What you should pay attention to while creating a knowledge base to make it informative and efficient:

  • Define the goal of your KB. It can be anything from giving more information about your product to telling your readers about the logistics in your company. Your main intention will influence your KB’s character.
  • Involve all the departments of your company. A good KB has not only an informative function, but it also contributes to the marketing process and helps the sales department to attract customers. The information must be presented in a many-sided way.
  • Organize the KB using logic. KB articles should not be arranged randomly. Use a suitable structure to arrange them. It can be a hierarchy or a division into sections. The basic principle here is to make the KB convenient for those who are going to use it.
  • Take care of the branding. All the articles should be united by your brand’s style. That will make your KB look more reliable and professional.
  • Update your KB. As your product changes and gets upgraded, the information in your KB should be changed as well. Outdated information will only make customers stray away from your product.

To create an effective KB, one should carefully choose the knowledge management software. Your tool should allow you to create and publish content easily, make the review process clear, make the collaboration and teamwork smooth. One of the best solutions is using an online documentation platform like ClickHelp. It can offer you all the above-mentioned features and many more options to make your KB awesome.

Should I Password-Protect My Knowledge Base?

Tastes differ. Some companies prefer to make their information public. Others prefer to limit access to their docs. It depends on their aims. On the one hand, public information can be easily found by potential customers. That contributes to the sales process. But, on the other hand, not only potential customers will use it - your competitors may do this as well. It makes sense to give access to particular types of customers. So, if you want to limit access to information, make sure your knowledge management tool can do it.

In this respect, the Single Sign-On (SSO) technology becomes crucial. With its help, you can solve the access problem: you can give users limited access to your KB, and they will see particular sections they are supposed to see. Moreover, the SSO technology provides a clear authorization process. Users authorized in your product will be automatically authorized in your documentation portal. Check out this post if you want to learn more - Software Documentation in the SaaS World.

man holding book above head

Conclusion

Creating an informative knowledge base is not a big task if you have the right tool at hand. In a wide variety of tools, make sure you choose the most suitable one. Consider what type of information your users want to get and follow the tips described in this post to succeed in building your KB.

Good luck with your technical writing!
ClickHelp Team
Author, host and deliver documentation across platforms and devices

 

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