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Authoring a Knowledge Base Article

Community Manager Community Manager
Community Manager

Your participation in the Siemens PLM Community is critical to its success. It is our community members and contributors who enrich the community with high-quality content for everyone.

 

Did you know you can contribute further by authoring guest articles for the blog or knowledge base? Every community member can post to forums and comment on blog articles, but authoring content on the blog or knowledge base is a special privilege.

 

You should first familiarize yourself with the Rules of Participation and contact the community manager in charge of the category where you would like to contribute content to let them know you’re interested in guest author status.

  

We recommend writing your article in a program like Microsoft Word or Notepad first, so you have a copy saved outside of the community in case of technology failure.

 

You are free to write in your own style and voice, of course—we never want to control the tone of your message—however, should you need help getting started, here are some guidelines you might follow:

 

Title:  Titles should be descriptive and enticing. The recommended length for titles is 6 to 10 words.

 

Teaser:  Knowledge base articles include a short teaser that will display when the article is featured on the knowledge base homepage. The teaser should be short, about 2-3 sentences, and summarize your post in an attention-grabbing way that encourages the reader to click to read more. Your teaser should also include an image that appears after the intro text and is at least 251 x 251 px.

Note: If the teaser image is not square, it will appear "stretched" on the home pages. 

 

Post Length:  Knowledge base articles range in length from 500-2,500 words. The ideal length to attract most readers is said to be around 1,600 words.

 

Images:  Articles with images get 94% more views than those without. Images draw the eye in to the page and break up large blocks of text, both of which encourage the reader to engage with your post. 2-3 images per post is recommended. It’s also a good idea to include an image in the top right or left of the leading paragraph, because people are more likely to read your blog post then. 

 

Tone:  Blogs typically are more informal and conversational than other styles of writing. Feel free to let your personality shine through your post and have a little fun with it! Think of it as having a discussion with a friend, compared to shouting at a wall.

 

Links:  Be sure to include several links to pages on your website as well as third party websites and sources. These pages should be relevant to the topic on which you’re writing and also reliable if using outside sources. This has the positive impact of increasing not only your post’s reputation, but also the post’s SEO value.

 

SEO:  SEO or Search Engine Optimization is when you optimize your knowledge base post to appear in search results for certain keywords or phrases. You can ask your respective community managers what keyword best matches the topic on which you’re writing. Once you have a keyword selected, it’s time to optimize your post:

  • Title – Start your title with your keyword or phrase whenever possible, or place the keyword as close to the beginning as you can.
  • Teaser – Start your teaser with your keyword (or place the keyword as close to the first word as possible for maximum impact.
  • Body –Start your post with your keyword whenever possible. Keywords carry more weight the closer they are to the beginning of your title and body text. Also be sure to use the keyword multiple times throughout the post.
  • Labels – Use your keyword as a label on your post. Some categories require the community manager to predefine a label before you can use it, so if you don’t see your keyword listed as a label, just ask to have it added.
  • Tags – Use your keyword as a tag on your post, along with additional relevant keywords or phrases.
  • Links – Use your keyword to link to a relevant page on your own website somewhere in your post.

 

 

Once you’re satisfied with your article, head over to the knowledge base where you would like to publish.

 

Select the blue button “Start An Article” to begin your post. (See reference image below from the NX Design knowledge base.) If you don’t see this button, contact your community manager for assistance.

 

nx design knowledge base.jpg

 

 

You will then have the option to choose between several article templates.

 

article templates.jpg

The Freeform template is completely open to write one long article. This is the most commonly used template. The Question and Answer template contains two sections: one to ask a question and another—where the majority of the article will be—to provide the answer. The Solution template contains three sections: Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Solution. This article format works well for a specific solution which you are helping the user to identify and solve.

 

Regardless of which template you choose, you will then be directed to a draft article page.  (Again, see reference image below from the NX Design knowledge base.)

 

knowledge base article draft.jpg 

 Enter your title in the subject line. Click to place your cursor in the editor pane and a toolbar will appear along with space to enter your article text.

 

editor pane.jpg

 

Copy and paste your knowledge base article into the editor. You can add photos, videos, links and more to your article by selecting the corresponding icons on the toolbar. If you aren’t sure what an icon means, you can hover over it for a description.

 

Notice in the top right rail there is a tab for search as well as a tab for tags.

 

search tags.jpg

Search allows you to look up other posts in the community. Using the drop down menu, you can even specify which discussion styles you want to display results for (such as blogs, forums, groups, etc.).

 

search.jpg

 

 

You can drag and drop posts from search results into the body of your article by selecting the dotted tab on the upper left corner.

 

You can also add posts from search results as “Relevant Links” that will appear to the right of your published article by selecting the “+” symbol on the right of each result.  

 

Click the tags tab to select from the most popular and commonly used tags.

 

tags.jpg

 

At the bottom of the page, you will see all predefined labels. Click to choose as many labels as apply to your article. 

 

labels.jpg

 

Click the arrow next to Featured Article Teaser to drop down the teaser pane. You can enter a brief description of your article and include an image here. The teaser will display at the top of the knowledge base page when your article is featured. (Ask your community manager to feature your article once it’s published.)

 

Finally, if you have any files you would like to share, such as a CAD model, you can upload them using the File Attachment button. Be sure not to break any laws or contracts when deciding to share a file!

 

Once you are ready to publish your article, select Save & Request Review. Your article will be submitted as a draft, and the appropriate community manager will be notified via email. Once the community manager has reviewed and approved your article, it will be published to the knowledge base.

 

If you get stuck or need some additional guidance, don’t hesitate to ask one of the community managers for help! That’s what we’re here for. Smiley Happy

 

We’re happy to have you as a valued contributor and guest author. Thanks for being part of the Siemens PLM Software community!