One of the biggest excuses companies make for not adding a knowledge base to their website is that they don’t have the time to update it. They also wonder where they’ll find the ideas to fill their knowledge base and what types of articles to write.
And we understand that better than anyone.
When you spend all day running a company, supervising employees, crunching numbers, or pitching to clients, the last thing you want to do is think about ideas for your knowledge base; let alone, sit down and write articles.
But the good news is, it’s really much more simple than you think.
If you’re getting started with your knowledge base, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. And as you continue to progress, make use of the help you get along the way.
From revamping existing content to asking for feedback from your users, here are four great resources to keep your knowledge base full of useful information, updated and running like a well-oiled machine.
1. Curate Your Existing Content
The most obvious place to start when looking to populate your knowledge base is your existing company documentation.
That means PowerPoints, PDFs, welcome letters, contracts… You’ve got all that stuff just hanging around the office, or filed in virtual folders. So, use it.
These materials act as your starting point. This is an excellent exercise not only for your knowledge base, but also to ensure that none of your policies are out of date or instructions no longer appropriate.
Do you have a flowchart showing the key players in your company and their positions, for example? It doesn’t look good to new employees to see names of people who have left the company months before.
It’s not an encouraging sign to see a PowerPoint with spelling mistakes and graphics that look like they were created at a children’s party, either.
And it can be quite confusing providing customers or employees with versions of training guides that are no longer applicable.
Curating your content allows you to get everything in order and centralise your information in one place, online, as well.
You’ll have a ton of ideas to work from and you won’t even have to start writing from scratch.
Make sure you share the burden as well. Your knowledge base software should allow for multiple collaborators and be easy to use, so that it can be updated by all.
Pay attention to the way you organise your knowledge base. What may seem logical to you, may make no sense to a customer.
Ask for various opinions on your layout and make sure you include a powerful search feature to make finding information as easy as possible for your customers.
2. Consider Video Format
Mixing up content is a good way of keeping customers engaged. And with video set to account for almost 80 percent of all internet traffic by 2020, you need to ensure your knowledge base accommodates this medium.
If you’re thinking that it sounds expensive, you needn’t worry. Customers want to know how to get things done. You don’t necessarily need to splash out on expensive design and graphics, as long as the video fits with your company branding.
According to Google, users searching the web for “how-to” guides grows by a staggering 70 percent each year. In fact, tutorials and how-to guides are the second most popular type of video content on YouTube.
It seems that when people are looking for help, they like to have a visual guide. So, think about taking some of your documentation out of its traditional format and turning it into video.
You can get some ideas on how to do this simply by browsing this giant social media platform, and there are plenty of tools to help you produce quality videos if your budget is tight.
In fact, you’ll probably notice that some of the videos with the highest amounts of hits are filmed simply with just a smartphone camera.
If you host your videos on YouTube as well, this will give you extra points for your SEO, since Google owns this platform.
And who knows? If you can teach your customers a salient skill in an easy, self-help video, it may even go viral, driving more traffic to your site!
Don’t go too far off topic, though. Your knowledge base is a resource for self-service customer care, not a place for hosting videos of puppies and kittens.
3. Ask Your Customers
It may seem like an alien concept to you, since you’re the one creating the service for your customers. But there’s actually no better way to get ideas for your knowledge base than to ask the users of your service what they would like to see.
In this age of information, customers hold more power and decision-making in product development than ever before. And their opinion really counts.
92 percent of customers will try a product or service that’s recommended to them by someone they know, while 88 percent actively seek peer reviews online before making a purchase.
So, if your customers are having a conversation about your brand outside of your company, you need to join in.
You can do this in a number of ways. Run an email campaign with a simple survey. Hold a social media contest, try a customer feedback platform online, like G2Crowd-or just ask them through your knowledge base.
These are the people using your system on a daily basis. They’re the ones that find it frustrating that there’s no search button or they can’t drag and drop they way they want to.
Each time your users reach a point where they can’t find what they’re looking for or understand how a certain page works, they’re just dying to tell you about it!
And if they can’t tell you their frustrations, you can be sure they’ll tell their friends. 96 percent of unsatisfied customers tell 15 friends all about it. And that’s not the kind of word-of-mouth you’re looking for.
Customer Feedback Options in Your Knowledge Base
Make sure that you select a good knowledge base software provider that can set you up with a variety of customer feedback options.
Allow them to rate the helpfulness of existing articles in a simple yes/no fashion. Some customers may want to leave a comment, while others prefer a simple check box. Make it as easy for them as possible to provide feedback. And then, be sure to act on it.
You’ll find out how well certain topics are performing and whether you need clearer instructions on any given area.
You’ll glean key insights not only on how to generate ideas for your knowledge base, but also how to improve your product or service and user experience.
So, use this valuable resource to your advantage. Not only is it a free way to come up with ideas, but you’ll be 100 percent certain of creating content that your customers need and want.
4. Ask Your Employees
Brainstorming for ideas is a great way to get started. But don’t let it stop at one initial session. Your knowledge base should be constantly updated, so don’t overlook the people who are in the trenches everyday.
Your employees (support people) are the ones speaking to the customers (when your customers can’t serve themselves). They are the people who face the same questions and problems day in, day out. So, ask for their feedback.
The same is true when it comes to your internal knowledge base, except that here, they are the customers of this service.
Your employees may find that they’re constantly being asked for further information about your software. What the product is about, what the prerequisites are to install it, and how to carry out a certain function. But if you don’t ask them about it, they may be too timid, or simply too busy to speak up.
Hold regular feedback sessions with them and ask them to generate ideas based on their experience with the customers. The ideas for your knowledge base will begin to flow like a river.
Wrapping it Up
Don’t let the task of creating and updating a knowledge base overwhelm you. More than likely, you’ll find you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
There are tons of places to look for inspiration, from the internet to the world around you. But the most effective way of generating ideas is by asking the users of the service.
Start with your existing content. Make it better, create some videos. And then make sure that your customers can comment and interact with your knowledge base.
When you provide the content your customers are seeking, it’s a win-win situation for all. And when you ask the employees on the front lines everyday, you’ll almost certainly gain a different perspective.
The problem won’t be finding ideas for your knowledge base; more like, keeping up with so many good ones!
Are you looking for a knowledge base software? With unrivalled authoring experience and awesome collaboration features, Document360 is your obvious solution! Get in touch today!