A knowledge base is a tool where you can collect, organize, search, and share useful information. Building a knowledge base is one thing, but you also need to maintain a knowledge base and it demands time and focus. It takes more than just to ensure you continue to provide usable and up-to-date content to your audience. This is a continuous process that will take place during the entire time that your knowledge base is being actively managed.
Below you will find tree tips on how to ensure that you have a healthy and effective knowledge base:
1. Understand your audience
Knowing and understanding your audience is important because it determines the content and language used in the articles. Many of us speak in acronyms and use phrases specific to our environment, but your knowledge base should be free of these terms.
Writing articles for your knowledge base always keep in mind your customers. What do they need right now? How they search for articles? What words and terms they use? Try to describe issues how your customers describe them.
2. Prepare a guide for authors on how the articles should look like
Be specific on what you expect from your authors and articles. Your authors need to know how a good article for your knowledge base should looks like, so make sure they know what you want. A good idea is to prepare a guide for your authors. Don’t be afraid to include in this guide what a bad article looks like! A full guide will help provide clarity on all the elements that a good knowledge base article should have.
Incentivize your team to write articles for knowledge base. Make sure they are creating value through knowledge and useful articles not just content – otherwise you might end up with lots of unsuitable articles that nobody wants to read. It is also very important to make sure that all knowledge base content is tagged and searchable.
3. Articles Review Cycle
The goal is that once a period, your team will do the following for each knowledge database article:
- Verify that the content is up to date given current support best practices and knowledge
- Verify that the content is updated to account for the latest released and supported versions
- Verify that there are no unanswered questions in the comments of the document
If the content is not up to date or there are unanswered questions in the comments, then the document should be immediately taken care of which means updated, and all the questions answered.
Reviewing your knowledge base articles also ask yourself these questions:
- Are there too many categories that could be consolidated?
- Is there one category with a lot of articles which could be divided into subcategories?
- Are there multiple articles about the same issue that could be merged?
- If changes are happening and not being documented, how can you improve your internal processes to prevent that?
- And of course – Are your articles up-to-date?
Answering theses questions will help you efficiently manage your knowledge base and serve your customers better.