Table of Contents
After Reading This Guide, You’ll Understand 🡭
- Planning BOFU content strategy that supports retention
- Automating customer support with a self-service content hub
Concepts To Know Before Reading This Guide 🡭
It is recommended to learn the above concepts first and then come back here.
Let’s get started.
Ineffective Approach 🡭
90% of the consumers consider customer service and customer support experience as a key factor before making any buying decision.
Traditionally, many businesses still rely on trained staff or phone support to resolve their customers’ queries and issues.
- It’s expensive to hire staff and train them about the product and brand guidelines.
- Time-consuming and takes a lot of effort from the consumer to resolve their query.
- Not scalable. Imagine how many staff do you need to handle 1000s of customer queries a day.
Effective Approach 🡭
An effective approach to automate customer support and build a self-service platform for the customers is by building a knowledge base.
💡 Knowledge Base is a library of information about your product or service that helps prospects solve their problem independently. The knowledge base may consist of a library of articles, videos, or mixed content format.
The goal of building a knowledge base for your product are:
- Allowing customers to solve their product-related queries on their own without the need of any staff members.
- Improving customer retention with content hubs
- 24/7 support availability
- Adds SEO benefit
An effective knowledge base helps answering/ resolving customers’ queries in three phases such as:
- Pre-Purchase Phase
- During Purchase
- Post-Purchase Phase
Example 1: Knowledge Base Of WordLift 🡭
“WordLift is the first semantic SEO tool that uses natural language processing and linked data publishing for automating structured data markup.”
There are not many competitors of WordLift who automate the structured data markup.
Plus, people who don’t have enough SEO understanding might not know the actual benefits of the plugin.
This is why it is common for people/ target audience to have questions regarding:
- How the product works
- What are the benefits
- How to use the plugin
- Product features, etc.
Let’s have a look at the content hub of WordLift:
WordLift is a simple example of building a cost-effective and easy-to-build knowledge base. The layout has some basic elements such as:
- Content categories
- Search bar
- Breadcrumb for easy navigation
Example 2: Knowledge Base Of Trello 🡭
Like WordLift, Trello also built a simple yet easy-to-navigate knowledge base to enable self-learning for the users.
Here, you’ll see a section called ‘Most Popular Articles‘ that showcases the guides for often asked queries by Trello users.
In a similar way, you can also structure the knowledge base if you already have a clear idea of the most asked queries or doubts.
Example 3: Knowledge Base Of SparkToro 🡭
SparkToro is an audience research tool that gives a new solution (the tool) to an existing challenge (market research) for startups and entrepreneurs.
The metrics or use cases of SparkToro may seem a little complex to many users. This is why the team has built a complete FAQs hub for the most asked questions.
Product FAQs of Sparktoro
Most of the questions are asked by the real SparkToro users via Twitter, email, and by contacting the team.
Your job will be much easier and more effective if you also have access to your audience and get direct feedback.
Now, let’s dive right into the execution and planning of the knowledge base from scratch.
Do This Now 🡭
Follow these steps to execute the knowledge base for your website that improves customer support and adds SEO benefits.
Step 1. Choose The Purpose
The first step is to decide the purpose of building a knowledge Hub. Normally, it could be related to:
- Internal (helpful for employee onboarding, educating interns, brand assets, etc.)
Example of internal knowledge base: Image credit: Notion
- External (helpful for product-related queries, answering often asked customers’ questions, etc.)
Example of external knowledge base: Image credit: Semrush
- Mixed (made for employees, internal team, and the customers.)
Here, we’ll focus on the external knowledge base that helps improve customer support and get SEO benefits.
Step 2. Select Design, Structure, & Content Format
Now, it’s to plan the structure and design of the base.
Depending on the available resources, you can choose any of the following content formats:
- Easier to create & update
- Less expensive
- SEO friendly
- Not always helpful for How-Tos and technical questions
- Improves user-experience
- Easy to understand
- It takes a lot of time and effort
- Difficult to update product updates and tutorials
- Video explanation videos
- Mixed format
While selecting the content format, think of what type of queries customers have, and is it too technical to make it a written document?
Text-based documents are better in terms of SEO as Google can clearly understand the content of the page.
Always a good practice is to choose a mixed format. Videos are great for making how-tos tutorials and explaining too technical stuff.
Design And Structure
The next part is designing the structure of the content. It includes the page layout, content accessibility, and more.
Let’s look at the key elements and content structure of Semrush’s knowledge base →
Please follow the numberings as shown in the image for context.
1/ Search Bar:
This is the most important thing you should consider while building a document or company wiki.
The reason is that a prominent search bar helps the users to get specific answers to their problems or questions immediately.
Using breadcrumbs boost the user experience as it gives the user a clear understanding of where they are navigating on the website. Also, it improves the internal linking between the pages.
This is important, especially for sites with multiple content categories.
For example, if there are separate content hubs for a product subscription, features, and use cases, adding the chapters in the sidebar helps to navigate the knowledge base quickly.
4/ Table of Contents:
Adding TOC completely depends on the content length. It will be helpful when the content topic is pretty broad and has multiple sub-topics covered.
This tiny feature also helps users to save time and get a quick solution.
Note: Always try to go as specific as possible instead of adding answers/content for broad topics while creating content. This will make the content to the point, short, and easy to scan.
5/ Referencing product features:
Referencing product features or internal linking to other helpful articles improves dwell time and promotes the product.
There are many ways to get feedback from the user on whether the content/ documentation was helpful or not.
This will help you to understand the user experience and satisfaction over time.
Step 3. Find Key Topics & Questions To Cover
Now, it’s time to ideate the topics and questions.
Some of the ways you can try immediately are:
- Customer interviews
- Talking to the sales or any team that directly or indirectly deals with the end customers
- Keyword research or using the answerthepublic tool
- Online communities like Quora
- Site search (First, enable the site search from Google Analytics and see what people are looking for while browsing the site)
Step 4. Create The Content With Readability & User Experience In Mind
Providing a better customer experience should be the first objective of any knowledge base, and optimizing for SEO could be the second option.
Here are a few things you need to consider to improve the readability and UX:
Time to value factor: every piece of content will have a specific problem or question to answer. Your goal as a content marketer should be to provide the answer as fast as possible.
Here’s an example:
One of the articles from Ahrefs’ help centre is about ‘how often is Ahres links database updated?’
And the first sentence of the answer is ‘every 15 minutes.’ From a user’s perspective, this is a to-the-point answer without adding fluff.
- Adding an unnecessary introduction
- Long paragraph
- Creating long-form content when users just want to get the quick answer
- Add the exact answer as soon as possible.
- Bold the important part of the content to make it more readable
- Add articles related to the content/question.
- Include a clear title
Example of Ahrefs’ help centre (Image credit: Ahrefs)
Step 5. Optimize The Content For SEO
Here are some important points to get SEO benefits from the knowledge base:
1/ Using Hreflang
If the knowledge base has multiple languages for the users, then using Hreflang is a good practice.
2/ Internal links to improve crawlability
If you wish to make the knowledge base public (which you should), you need to have a solid internal linking to help Google crawl the important pages and get its context.
Two common ways of internal linking are breadcrumbs and adding relevant articles sections at the bottom of each content.
3/ Using multimedia (videos, product GIFs, screenshots, etc.)
Not just in SEO, but adding screenshots and product GIfs will boost the user experience significantly.
Instead of using any stock photos, use product screenshots, and add numbering in the image to give a clear visual learning experience.
4/ Leverage structured data
Structured data is a way of giving search engines more information and details about the pages. For example, you can add structured data to mark the web page type, author name, FAQs, breadcrumbs, etc.
5/ Optimize for user experience
As mentioned above, the search bar, chatbot experience, and giving additional information to directly call or contact the team are important from the user’s point of view.
6/ Categorize content library
Not just list down all the articles on a single page. This makes it hard for the user to find specific information.
Categorize the articles by use cases. Here’s a great example from HubSpot:
To benefit from the knowledge base, a user first has to know that it exists. The most common is to add the documentation articles from the site’s footer.
Also, you can integrate the content hub with the chatbot (if used) so users can self-learn about the problem.
Step 6. Measure The Progress
And the last step is to measure the performance. Here, finding the right metrics to measure the performance of using a knowledge base could be tricky.
However, the following KPIs will give you a better understanding:
- Monthly request for customer support
- Getting feedback by adding ‘Is this article helpful’ on every article
- Repeat users
- Churn rate
Related Knowledge Hub Examples You Can Study 🡭
Study the below pages to understand how they have applied the product-led content approach →
Optional Assignment 🡭
Pick one online business (it could be a SaaS or service business) and then research the most content topics that are most relevant for the knowledge base.
Next, categorize all the content ideas into different categories. The last task is to plan the content structure, the layout of the page, and the URL structure.
Your goal should be to make the knowledge base simple and easy to navigate.