Internal Knowledge Base: How to Build the Perfect One

Fact: A research by McKinsey & Company suggests an average employee spends about 8 hours a week searching internal resources for relevant information.

That’s about 1.5+ productive hours daily wasted. If you add these numbers and apply them to all of your employees, this becomes a huge financial burden. This can be avoided using an internal knowledge base.


Why a Knowledge Base?

Companies often use documents, pdfs, emails, recorded videos, and word documents to save the required information to be shared with the employees when needed. But this becomes a hectic exercise and wastes a lot of time searching for the right document and avoiding oversharing of information.

Sometimes employees have to go through an entire 2 hours recorded meeting to get the 2 minutes of the required information.

This is where internal knowledge bases come in handy. Not only will it help streamline your internal working, but knowledge base articles can also be shared with the help center and a customer if needed.

Internal knowledge bases can help:

●    Centralize all the information on one location for the team.

●    Stop wastage of time, as company employees can simply search for the required information on a single platform, on a single medium.

●    Lower onboarding cost and training of a customer, as they can be referred to knowledgebase articles.

●       Quick training for new employees to get started and be productive.

●       Help employees do their jobs efficiently.

●       Collaborate with different team members easily.


Two Key Steps to Prepare for the Process

Setting up an internal knowledge base is a huge task and requires time and effort. But with the right preparation and following these two key steps, you will be ready to jump into the knowledge pool within no time.

  1. Start with the purpose

    Let’s start with its purpose. What do you want your internal knowledge base to be used for? As different reasons can change your direction of how you want to progress.

    Typically, internal knowledge bases are used for:

    ●       Troubleshooting guides.

    ●       Step by step instructions.

    ●       New product or new process information for the company employees.

    ●       To summarize documentation.

    ●       To keep files at a single location for marketing, sales, management, and support team.

    ●       Sharing legal guide.

    ●       Brand guidelines.

    ●       Company policies.

    ●       Customer faqs.

    ●       Common business inquiries.

    ●       Share ticket information.

    ●       Faster employee onboarding

    You can use it for the purpose that suits your company’s needs.

  2. Analyze your current status

    Analyze your current knowledge sharing experience and performance. Ask questions like:

    ●       How are you currently sharing information within the company?

    ●       How are you sharing the required information with the customer?

    ●       How are you training your recruits?

    ●       What information is the most required?

    ●       Is there a communication gap between different teams?

    ●       Who writes the current information?

    ●       Is it properly structured?

    ●       What is the most efficient way to disperse information?

    Once you have this information, you can then focus on analyzing your requirement as to what you need. i.e.

    ●       What features do you need at my company?

    ●       Which departments/areas can benefit from this knowledge base

    ●       Which areas can be improved

    This will help you finalize the features required, people who need to be involved in the whole process, which tool will be more suitable, and what medium will be best.


Steps on How to Create an Internal Knowledge Base

Steps to follow when creating Internal knowledge base

Following these steps will help you go up and ready in no time.

  1. Select the tool to use
  2. Establish an internal knowledge base team
  3. Start with the most important articles.
  4. Decide on the review process. 
  1. Select the tool to use

    There are dozens of knowledge management tools out there; you have to select the right knowledge base software that suits your company and requirement. Some tools offer a knowledge base with other help desk features; some tools are purely for the knowledge base.

    Here are a few things you should consider while searching for an internal knowledge base:

    Collaborative features

    A knowledge base is as good as its information, i.e., the data needs to be accurate and user friendly. To do that, you need to collaborate with multiple teams within the organization.

    Do keep an eye out and see which tool encourages collaboration where users can write, share notes, review, and approve a knowledge base article.

    Accurate Search

    Perhaps one of the most essential knowledge base software features is search. A good knowledge base is of no use if it cannot search and display the required result when needed. Select a tool with a powerful search engine. 

    User rights

    If you are setting up a single knowledge base that will be shared with multiple teams and clients, user rights need to be on your watch list.

    Tools like The Cloud Tutorial allow you to set up password-protected articles that can only be accessed by specific users/teams.

    It also allows you to set custom user rights how you want them to be.

    Build an advanced knowledge base for your customers and give them answers fast – real fast.

    Take your app and help center to the next level with The Cloud Tutorial.

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  2. Establish an internal knowledge base team

    Creating an internal knowledge base is not a one time task. It needs constant updates and reviews. Assign team members who :

    ●       Coordinate with everyone necessary in the organization when needed.

    ●       Write articles and get them approved.

    ●       Regularly review and update articles based on new information.

    ●       Analyze user behavior and see which information is being read properly or which needs improvement. 

  3. Start with the most important articles

    Often companies try to be as thorough as they could be with the content before sharing the knowledge base with employees. This gets them stuck in an infinite loop of rewrites, approvals, and useless writing.

    Start with the most important information first. Do not wait for the knowledgebase to be complete. A knowledge base can never be complete. It is an evolving process.  Sharing the most important articles is a win-win for the company, employee, and customer.

    Pro tip:  Establish a project calendar to avoid diving deep into the void of non-completion of the knowledge base. Start publishing when you have about 10 articles to go live.

  4. Decide on the review process

    Knowledge bases content is an ever-evolving part of the company. Information needs to be updated as soon as there is a change. Otherwise, an internal knowledge base will become a useless mammoth, eating up resources without any benefit.

    Define review processes. Review your internal knowledge base regularly. See if old articles need to be updated based on the new information.

    Review analytics and user behavior to see if the knowledge base is genuinely useful for the readers or not? Observe the pattern of users. For example, if most users are skipping through a particular part of the article, maybe remove it altogether.

    Review the feedback of employees and see if they find information that was required or not. Regularly observe and see if best practices are being followed or not. See if employees need any push to use the internal knowledge base actively or if any tips are needed.

    Following these steps will help you create a knowledge base that is useful and accurate at the same time. But how to write a most helpful article? Read on to know more.


Structure of an Internal Knowledge Base

Defining the structure and style of the content is a necessary step as standardizing can play a crucial role in your internal knowledge base’s success.

Ask yourself questions and define the answers.

  1. How many categories should be defined?
    Dividing your internal knowledge base content into smaller chunks would be a good practice, as it will help organize and find the data easily.

Pro tip:  We recommend creating a few generic categories and then define as many subcategories as you want to, link those subcategories with the main ones.

  1. What would be the structure of the home page?
    The home page needs to be user friendly. A big search at the top is a must, i.e., if anyone wants to search for something, they will find the search at the top. Make sure the search engine is capable of handling complex searches as well.
  2. What would be the structure of help articles?
    Define a structure for all help articles to follow. This makes reading and understanding articles easy as they all follow the same pattern.


A “how-to” article example would be:

●       A title at the top

●       A quick intro

●       How-to section

●       The navigation bar at the left so the user can click on a specific portion of the article

●       Was this article useful? Yes or No button

●       A feedback system at the bottom, say a contact form, asking to send in the question if it is still not answered

Ensure all information follows the same pattern as it can help employees find the right information quickly and easily. That will also help if you have to share the information with customer service or a customer.


Four Key Hacks on How to Write an Internal Knowledge Base Article

Tips to consider while creating Internal knowledge base

Internal Knowledge bases are only useful if the content is useful. Here are a few points you should ask your article writer to keep in mind while creating a guide/ article.

  1. Think as a user
  2. Keep the average user in mind
  3. Use different formats
  4. Keep it easy on the eyes. 
  1. Think like a user

    Experts tend to ignore a few steps as they have a higher knowledge of the product.

    Whoever is assigned to write the article should be instructed to go through the process step by step first as a user. 

    This will help them find the pain points of the whole process. Which screenshot was different? Which step took the longest? These can be analyzed, then incorporated into the article.

  2. Keep the average user in mind

    Your knowledge base might be used by different departments and different levels of users. Try to write for an average employee, i.e., neither for beginners nor for expert users.

    Write for the average user, and if a new user needs more details, create a separate article for them, and create a link for that.

    For example, while writing different ways to apply a filter on the dashboard, do not write steps for the user login first. Instead, just right “login to the system and click the dashboard” and link the word “login” to that separate article for login in steps.

  3. Use different formats

    Different users like to learn using their medium of choice. Some like to follow the written word and screenshots; some like to watch the video.

    Create the article for both audiences. Add all necessary screenshots in the article, create a video, and explain the same steps if that is a possibility.

  4. Keep it easy on the eyes

    The article should be easy to follow:

    ●       Keep it spacious.

    ●       Make bullet points and tables.

    ●       Do not use technical terms that may be difficult for average users to understand.

    ●       Explain in simple words that even an 8th grader can understand.


Technical Solutions to Use

As explained earlier, one of the very first steps is to choose the right internal knowledge base software solution. Why not choose The Cloud Tutorial?

If you want an internal knowledge base that is easy to set up and use and is priced keeping your budget in mind, The Cloud Tutorial is our recommendation. 

The cloud tutorial is purely a knowledge base tool that focuses on the self-service part of the help desk world.

Companies choose us because, at TCT (the Cloud Tutorial), we believe an internal knowledge base can help you save thousands of dollars every month.

Useful TCT features include:

  • Smart search: Our adaptive Ai advance search across the whole knowledge base helps find the exact article you were looking for.  
  • Typo detection: TCT detects if there are any spelling mistakes and informs the internal search engine to handle it accordingly.
  • Password protected knowledge base: You can make your internal knowledge base password-protected, so only your team can see the help articles. You can also set an expiration date and time for an article.
  • User Management: You can assign multiple roles to a single user based on the project requirement. I.e., a single user can be a project manager in one project, but a contributor to another one.
  • Advance Editor: You can use our advanced editor to create articles—no need to jump between different editors. You can also tag articles to easily find them later on.

You can start with our free plan and use our tips to build an internal knowledge base for your team within minutes.


Conclusion

An organized internal knowledge base can not only help you and your employees find answers quickly, but it also benefits businesses to save a lot of money. It allows employees to do their jobs efficiently instead of wasting time looking for the right information. 

For the best internal knowledge base implementation and tips to ensure employees have the best source to get the required information, follow the mentioned best practices.

●   Analyze what needs to be done before starting the work on the internal knowledge base.

●   Select competent knowledge base software (like TCT) to make the whole process easy and efficient.

●    Think like a user when writing internal knowledge base articles.

●    Keep it simple.

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