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Article 9 min read

8 knowledge base article templates that work

The key to success is finding the right mix of knowledge base article templates for your target audience. Use our templates to get a head start.

Par Hannah Wren, Staff Writer

Dernière mise à jour June 11, 2024

What is a knowledge base article?

A knowledge base article is a self-service resource designed to empower customers and employees with information. It can help them in different ways, like guiding them step-by-step through tasks, troubleshooting solutions for problems, or providing quick resolutions to FAQs. An article’s overall goal is to provide clear answers to user questions, allowing them to find solutions and complete tasks independently.

When it comes to sharing information about your company, products, or services, you can’t take a one-size-fits-all approach. You must account for the type of content you’re creating and your target audience if you want to promote successful customer self-service outcomes.

You should also consider the structure of your help center articles—this can make all the difference in whether a user easily finds what they’re looking for and leaves empowered or gives up frustrated. Read on for knowledge base (KB) article templates and best practices for an external or internal knowledge base.

More in this guide:

Types of knowledge base articles

Knowledge base articles come in various flavors, each suited to a different user need. Here are some common types:

  • Frequently asked questions (FAQ) articles: This is a collection of the most common user questions, along with concise answers.
  • Process guides: These provide step-by-step instructions for completing a specific task, often with screenshots or visuals.
  • Troubleshooting guides: These articles address common problems users might encounter and offer solutions or workarounds to fix them.
  • Informational articles: These offer general information or explain a concept in detail.
  • Product or service descriptions: These introduce users to a product or service, explain its purpose, and highlight its key features.
  • Glossary of terms: This defines and explains important terms related to a particular product, service, or industry.

Using different types of articles can help you fill gaps in your client portal. For example, by placing a link in a product description to a related troubleshooting guide, readers are more likely to find the information they need. This can help improve the functionality of even free knowledge base software.

How to write a good knowledge base article

The right knowledge base article will depend on the specific needs of your audience. However, some key components separate a great knowledge base article from one that misses the mark.

1. Simplify the user experience

An effective knowledge base article makes complex knowledge simple to consume. Finding an answer shouldn’t be a scavenger hunt. Here are a few design best practices that make an article easier to navigate:

  • Use short and sweet titles: Make the question you’re answering the title of the article.
  • Make it scannable: Include step-by-step instructions, bullet points, and bolded text.
  • Include a table of contents: Make it easy for readers to know what’s in the article and where to find it.
  • Use images strategically: Add images to break up large sections of text or distill complex topics into digestible pieces for the reader.

These best practices will help ensure your readers find what they need—and keep them from venturing to your competitors.

2. Be specific

It’s best to keep an article concise and focus on answering a single question. Linking to related help center articles allows customers to learn more about similar topics without cramming every tidbit of information into one piece.

These links also allow content writers to proactively lead customers to additional answers they might need down the line. You can link to other knowledge base content within an article or through the page navigation.

3. Foster a feedback loop through data

User feedback is essential to a knowledge base article. Knowledge base software that lets users upvote and downvote the effectiveness of content enables a support team to measure self-service success from the user’s perspective.

Subscriptions, comments, and page views are other important metrics that give a business insight into how it can improve its knowledge base article templates.

4. Update often and accordingly

Knowledge base article templates aren’t create-them-and-forget-them types of resources. You must review, improve, and iterate on the content over time. Ideally, you can automate this process, too. Here are a few tools we use at Zendesk to keep our help center content up to date:

  • The Knowledge Capture app: Frontline agents can flag articles that need a refresh. With the Knowledge Capture app, they can easily add inline feedback to existing articles that need updates.
  • Content Cues: AI can help a support team identify top-performing articles to keep up to date. It can also suggest underperforming content to improve or archive.
  • Content blocks: Content blocks help a support team seamlessly update content that lives across multiple articles or help centers. Changes made to a content block are reflected across all articles at once.
  • Scheduled publishing/unpublishing: This ensures time-sensitive content, such as holiday-specific content, only shows up at the right time.
  • Team publishing: Team publishing involves subject matter experts in content creation and upkeep. Even folks outside of a support team can provide insight into the relevance of content.

These tools help our customers stay agile and provide the most value to their readers.

5. Optimize for discoverability

Besides organizing and structuring content, a great knowledge base article is designed to be findable—whether that’s through SEO and third-party search, a knowledge base directly, or a chatbot. The following tips improve the discoverability of an article:

  • Include keywords in titles that a user might search for.
  • Answer one question per article to improve search within a knowledge base and through SEO.
  • Use labels carefully to balance your search results. Labels influence article search relevance when users interact with a knowledge base directly. Labels can also influence a chatbot, so users can self-serve outside of a knowledge base, like on the homepage of your website.
  • Include a search bar to make it easy for users to find information. This might require extending your help center search to external knowledge bases.
  • Coordinate with subject matter experts to get their input. They can help tag and organize an article to optimize it for the customer journey.
  • Add internal links within articles that allow readers to dive into specific points when they’re most relevant. These connections strengthen a reader’s understanding of the current topic and promote related information the reader might not have initially searched for.

You can have the best knowledge base article in the world, but if you don’t think about how people find and use it, it won’t work.

6. Use AI to enhance content

AI presents a transformative opportunity to enhance knowledge base articles, as you can leverage its capabilities to discover content gaps and generate new articles. It does this by using:

  • Analytics: AI analyzes existing knowledge base articles and flags underperforming pieces so you can update them accordingly. It also identifies the most frequently asked questions, allowing you to fill content gaps.
  • Generative AI: Prompt it to write new articles or update existing content autonomously. AI can change the article’s tone or alter it to appeal to different markets.

Harnessing AI to automate content management helps you deliver self-service content at scale, ensuring your knowledge base remains dynamic and relevant while using fewer resources.

7. Pick the right KB article template

Choosing the right type of knowledge base article template means a support team must understand its core audience segments and align content with the knowledge they need. If you receive a significant amount of high-level questions from new customers, then a FAQ page is a must. If you have a complex product that even experienced customers need help navigating, it will likely need advanced troubleshooting guides.

Get our knowledge base article templates

Improve the quality of your knowledge base with these free templates. Along with the four featured templates, you’ll receive four bonus templates covering product comparisons, customer onboarding, and more.

Knowledge base article templates

A high-quality knowledge base article has two levels. First and foremost, it must be well-written and contain a solution. The article should also be formatted or organized to make it easy for a user to find that solution. Here are some knowledge base article templates to add to your template library and broaden your help center content for various customer needs.

  1. FAQ template
  2. Product and service descriptions template
  3. Process guide template
  4. Troubleshooting guide template

1. FAQ template

A snippet shows a knowledge base article template for a FAQ page.

Frequently asked questions play a crucial role in any knowledge base because they address the most common user questions and provide value to consumers no matter where they are in the customer journey. FAQs start with a question and then answer it concisely. Specialized FAQ software can help you manage this content.

When building a knowledge base, it helps to start by writing articles for the most frequently asked questions and then continuously building on that content. Look for common one-touch tickets—issues resolved with a simple response that can quickly turn into FAQ articles for your expanding knowledge base.

Title: [Topic] FAQs

[Provide a brief introduction to the topic covered in this FAQ article.]

Question 1: [Example: What are the system requirements to run this software?]

[Concisely answer the question or direct the reader to the product page where the system requirements can be found.]

Question 2: [Example: How do I use a coupon code at checkout?]

[Explain where the promo code field is located and include a screenshot.]

Question 3: [Example: Do you offer a warranty?]

[Mention how long the warranty lasts and direct the reader to the warranty page for more details.]

Question 4: [Example: Can I return an item if I’ve already opened it?]

[Explain the criteria that must be met to return an item and receive a full refund.]

Question 5: [Example: How long is the free trial?]

[Identify the free trial length and encourage the reader to talk to the sales team for more information.]

Additional information:
[Include any additional information or resources that may be helpful to the user, such as links to related articles or external websites, troubleshooting tips, or FAQs not covered in this article.]

2. Product and service descriptions template

A snippet shows a knowledge base article template for a product description.

Product and service descriptions are typically tailored to prospective customers looking to understand your business better. These dive deeper into the “what”-type of questions, focusing on how your service works or addressing common questions about your product offerings. Prospective customers often find these descriptions through SEO, so a support team should optimize articles for that channel.

Title: [Product/service name] description

[Begin with an engaging introduction that provides context about the product and its purpose.]

[Provide a brief description of the product, including its main use cases, functionalities, and benefits.]

Key features:
[List the product’s key features in bullet points or a numbered list.]

Technical specifications:
[Detail the product’s technical specifications, including dimensions, weight, materials, and other relevant technical details.]

[Specify compatibility requirements or limitations, such as operating systems, software versions, or hardware requirements.]

Maintenance tips:
[Provide advice on maintaining the product for optimal performance and longevity.]

Additional information:
[Include any additional information about the product, such as warranty details, regulatory compliance, or certifications.]

[Conclude the article by summarizing the main points about the product and encouraging users to explore further or reach out for assistance if needed.]

3. Process guide template

A snippet shows a knowledge base article template for a process guide.

A process guide is a roadmap that outlines the steps required to complete a specific task or activity. It ensures consistency and efficiency by providing clear instructions for everyone involved. A good process guide template should include the overall goal and break down each step with any necessary details or resources, like specific tools or software.

Title: [Process name] guide template

[Start with a brief introduction explaining the purpose and importance of the process covered in this guide.]

Process description:
[Provide a concise description of the process, outlining its objectives and significance.]

[Detail any prerequisites or requirements necessary before initiating the process.]

Gathering materials/resources:
[Provide instructions on gathering the necessary materials, resources, or information needed for the process.]

Step-by-step instructions:
[Offer detailed, step-by-step instructions for executing each stage of the process.]

  1. [Insert step]

  2. [Insert step]

  3. etc.

Tips and best practices:
[Include any tips, tricks, or best practices that may aid in completing the process efficiently and effectively.]

Next steps:
[Offer guidance on what to do after completing the process, including any follow-up actions or additional resources.]

Additional information:
[Include any supplementary information relevant to the process, such as related documents, templates, or references.]

[Include a disclaimer stating any limitations or liabilities associated with following the process guide template, and advise users to use their discretion and seek professional advice if needed.]

4. Troubleshooting guide template

A snippet shows a knowledge base article template for a troubleshooting guide.

There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to get help when you’re experiencing a technical issue, like being locked out of an account. Troubleshooting guides help ensure customers can get support when something isn’t working right.

These articles typically contain:

  • Step-by-step instructions

  • Screenshots

  • Videos

Troubleshooting guides can allow customers to get help when a support team is off the clock and function as resources that agents can share with customers navigating troubleshooting steps.

Title: [Issue] troubleshooting guide template

[Start with a brief introduction explaining the purpose and importance of the troubleshooting guide, emphasizing its role in resolving common issues efficiently.]

Issue description:
[Provide a clear and concise description of the specific issue or problem that this troubleshooting guide addresses.]

[List the signs or indicators users may experience when encountering the issue.]

Basic troubleshooting steps:
[Provide a checklist of common factors or configurations to verify so users can rule out potential causes of the issue.]

  • XYZ

  • XYZ

  • etc.

Diagnostic tools/resources:
[List any diagnostic tools, resources, or utilities that will allow users to diagnose the issue more thoroughly.]

Advanced troubleshooting steps:
[Offer detailed, step-by-step instructions for advanced troubleshooting methods, including any specific actions to take.]

Step 1: [Title]
[Provide a detailed description of the most common solution to the issue, including step-by-step instructions for implementation.]

Step 2: [Title]
[Repeat the process for each additional solution, if applicable.]

Contact support:
[Provide contact information or instructions for users to contact support for further assistance if the troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue.]

Additional resources:
[Offer links or references to additional resources (such as forums, knowledge base articles, or user guides) that may provide further assistance with troubleshooting the issue.]

[Conclude the troubleshooting guide with a summary of key points and encourage users to refer back to the guide as needed for future troubleshooting needs.]

[Include a disclaimer stating any limitations or liabilities associated with following the troubleshooting guide template, and advise users to use their discretion and seek professional assistance if needed.]

Use AI-powered knowledge base software to provide self-service at scale

As your knowledge base grows, leverage AI alongside these knowledge base article templates to efficiently manage content at scale. Harnessing the power of AI algorithms enables your team to analyze user inquiries, identify trends, and continuously optimize self-service content. With the combination of AI and our templates, you can create a better self-service experience for your users.

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