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  • Writer's pictureMaryna Paryvai

Four Templates for Creating Great Knowledge Base Articles


knowledge base templates

Your customers want you to have well-organized and reader-friendly resources that enable them to resolve product issues on their own (without needing to interact with your support team). 


They want documentation that’s easy to follow and navigate. And you want that, too.


After all, the cost per contact via self-service channels is 80 times lower than resolving customer issues via email, phone, or live chat. When your customers find value in and use your documentation, it's a win-win situation. They get quick answers, and you don’t have to keep staffing up your support team to answer a flood of basic questions.


Of course, maintaining an effective knowledge base requires effort. Cloud platforms are constantly evolving, consulting firms keep introducing new services, and e-commerce stores regularly drop new products. Every update requires careful planning, drafting, editing, and reviewing to keep your extensive knowledge base up-to-date.


So, how can you stay on top of it all? 


If you're in charge of managing your company’s knowledge base, using knowledge base article templates can be a game-changer. It simplifies and speeds up the process of creating new articles, while still ensuring a consistently great experience for your customers.


How to structure knowledge base articles


When it comes to structuring an ideal help center article, there are a lot of “it depends” to consider. The final product will depend on the article type, your product, your industry, and more.


However, the basic skeleton of a good knowledge article typically includes the following key elements:


1. A clear and concise title, allowing readers to quickly grasp the article’s content. Make sure to include the specific product or feature name in the title. If you have multiple apps or product versions, adding the exact app or product version in the article title will make navigation easier.


2. A brief description to help customers navigate to the correct article when searching your knowledge base. If you have multiple articles about the same product or feature, use the description to clarify whether each specific article provides a general overview, a how-to guide, or troubleshooting step – to ensure that customers find the most relevant information quickly.

brief description of an article

3. An introduction as the first section of your article’s body. It sets the stage for further reading by providing an overview of what readers can expect to learn and insights they'll gain from the article.


4. A table of contents. If your knowledge base article is long, providing a table of contents with links to navigate within the article will help readers find the specific information they need efficiently.

article table of contents

5. The main section is the core of your article, guiding customers through a process, providing an overview of a product, or offering troubleshooting steps. It should be well-structured and easy to follow, with step-by-step instructions or a comprehensive overview. The best practices for this section vary depending on the article type, but more on this below.


6. Some Frequently asked questions (FAQs), proactively addressing the most common questions related to the article’s content. You can build out and continuously update this section based on support queries from customers, questions from your social media channels, and feedback from customer meetings.


7. Related articles, linking to additional resources to encourage further reading that’s relevant to the content already covered. These links should guide customers from solving the initial query to navigating the next logical step of using your product. For example, in the "Canceling your reservation for a stay" article, Airbnb provides resources on how to find your Host’s cancellation policy and calculate your refund amount.

related articles

4 key types of knowledge base articles (and great templates for each)


Of course, there isn’t a single template that fits all articles out there. That would be perfect, but unfortunately, we don't live in a perfect world.


What we can do is provide templates for different article types.


So, what types of knowledge base articles are out there, you ask? 


1. Product overview knowledge base articles 


Product overview articles are designed to explain a specific product at a high level. They give readers a better understanding of the product or service you offer, highlighting use cases, benefits, and key features.


These articles help customers assess whether they want or need your product or service. 

Some customers also turn to these articles for guidance on newly purchased products, so it’s important to provide links to additional resources for a comprehensive overview of the product you’re describing.


Overview articles are also valuable for boosting your search engine optimization (SEO) efforts. If your knowledge base is set up to appear in Google Search results, these articles can greatly benefit your website’s visibility. For the best results, optimize your content for SEO to ensure that customers can easily find your valuable content through search engines.


Product overview article examples:

example of product overview


Product overview knowledge base template

Title: Include the name of the product in the title. You can add the word "overview" for added clarity of the article's purpose. For example:

  • Oura Ring Generation 3

  • Overview of Swifteq Help Center Manager and Analytics

Description: Offer a concise overview of the main features and benefits of the product. For instance:

  • Track your sleep, nighttime and daytime biosignals, and daily activity with 15 advanced sensors, updated algorithms, and improved software features.

  • The Swifteq Help Center Apps provide the easiest way to manage and analyze your Zendesk Help Center content.

Product overview: Provide a comprehensive description of the product, covering the following sections:

  1. Purpose – explain the product's intended use and what problems it helps to solve.

  2. Key features – highlight the standout functionalities of the product.

  3. Use cases -- describe how customers can benefit from using the product in various scenarios.

  4. Materials, care, and maintenance guidelines (for physical products).

  5. Pricing - give readers an overview of the pricing options available.

  6. Instructions on how to sign up or purchase the product.

FAQ: Address common questions that customers tend to have about the product.

Related articles: Include links to additional resources for further reading. This may include guides on product usage, troubleshooting tips, information about specific features, or related products.


2. Feature overview articles


Similar to product overviews, feature overview articles aim to provide insights into specific features within your product or service. They dive into the purpose of the feature, its limitations, use cases, and best practices for utilizing it. These articles are particularly common in knowledge bases for SaaS products or complex, feature-rich physical products like smartwatches or TVs.


The goal of feature overviews is to offer more specific details (compared to product overviews), helping users understand the intricacies of each feature and make the most out of them.


Article examples:


example of feature overview



Knowledge article template for feature overviews

Title: Include the title of the feature. If your help center covers multiple products, specify the product name associated with the feature. For example:

  • Help Center Manager and Analytics Pages

  • Search in Slack

Description: Provide a brief description of the feature and its purpose. For instance:

  • There are three pages in the Help Center Manager - Articles, Links and Media. These pages give you access to the articles, links and media in your Zendesk Help Center.

  • As you and your team work together in Slack, you’ll create a searchable archive of conversations and decisions.

Product overview: Provide a comprehensive overview of the feature, covering the following sections:

  1. The purpose of the feature and how it benefits your customers.

  2. How to access the feature within your product.

  3. Instructions on how to utilize the feature for various use cases.

  4. Best practices and for maximizing the benefits of using the feature.

  5. Limitations of the feature, such as supported languages, locations, devices or browsers. 

  6. Pricing options or subscription plans that include the feature.

FAQ: Address common questions that customers typically have about the feature.

Related articles: Provide links to additional resources for further reading. This may include troubleshooting guides specifically related to the feature, case studies, information about related features, or product overviews.


3. Troubleshooting guide articles


As the name suggests, troubleshooting guides are specifically designed to walk readers through a step-by-step troubleshooting process, helping them resolve issues they are facing with your product or service.


Typically, customers turn to troubleshooting guides when they are experiencing problems, so it's important to consider the frustrated, upset, or annoyed state of mind that readers may be in when they encounter these articles.


They want clear instructions and practical solutions, without unnecessary distractions. Avoid fluffy language, jokes, and poetic language. Focus on being concise and to the point instead. 


The goal is to make it as easy as possible for readers to follow the guide and resolve any issues they are experiencing, so they can quickly get back on track with using your product.


Article examples:


example of troubleshooting article

Template for troubleshooting articles

Title: Choose a concise and descriptive title that addresses the user's problem. Include the feature or product name and error message text if applicable. For example:

  • Trouble receiving emails from Slack

  • Error: Can’t connect to Grammarly or Something went wrong

Description: Provide a brief context for the issue, for example:

  • Not receiving emails from Slack? We’re here to help! We've gathered some tips to help you find invitations to join workspaces and email notifications.

  • This error message or a gray Grammarly icon may indicate issues with connection. To troubleshoot this, please follow the steps below.

Troubleshooting steps: Provide the troubleshooting steps in logical order – either chronologically or  from the easiest and most common solutions to more advanced edge-cases. If applicable, provide separate troubleshooting steps for each product variant and supported device, operational system or browser.

Next steps: Clearly outline the recommended actions if the initial troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue. It can be a suggestion to reach out to your Support team or check out another troubleshooting guide. For example:

  • If the issue persists, please reach out to our Support team at [support email/phone number]. We will be happy to assist you further.


4. How-to articles


How-to articles, as the name implies, provide readers with step-by-step instructions on how to achieve a specific result or perform a particular action. It’s incredibly helpful to use screenshots, videos and GIFs to complement the text in your how-to articles.


Similarly to troubleshooting guides, it's important to avoid fluff and jokes when creating how-to articles. The primary focus should be on providing clear and concise instructions. Readers typically open these resources with a specific goal in mind, and anything that adds unnecessary delays or distractions can cause frustration.


Article examples:


example of how to article

Template for How-to articles

Title: Utilize the "How to..." format or include the targeted action in the title. For example:

  • How to create a profile for kids

  • How to set up two-step verification

Description Offer a brief overview of the process that will be explained or guided in the instructions, such as:

  • Two-step verification, sometimes known as two-factor authentication or 2FA, is an additional security measure to help protect your account.

  • To manage the types of TV shows, movies, and games that kids and other people on your Netflix account can watch or play, you can create individual profiles with customized maturity ratings.

Step-by-step instructions: Provide the steps in a logical order – either chronologically or from the simplest to the most advanced. If applicable, provide instructions for each product variant, supported device, operating system or browser.

Next steps: Clearly outline the recommended actions for users if they encounter any issues while following the guide. For example:

  • If any issues come up, please contact our Support team at [support email/phone].

  • If you come across any issues, please refer to our troubleshooting guide at [troubleshooting guide link].


What’s next?


Armed with these templates, you can effectively keep your knowledge base up-to-date with minimal effort required.


If you're looking for additional tools to further streamline your help center workflow, check out Swifteq's Help Center apps, specifically designed for teams running on Zendesk. From advanced article management to AI-powered translation to comprehensive analytics, Swifteq offers a range of solutions to optimize your Zendesk help center. 


Book a free demo today to elevate your Zendesk Guide content to new heights.


 



Maryna Paryvai

Written by Maryna Paryvai

Maryna is a results-driven CX executive on a mission to champion efficient and human-centric customer support. With a deep-rooted passion for well-structured documentation, she firmly believes that exceptional customer experiences lie at the heart of every successful business.


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