Behind The Scenes: How a Help Scout Article Is Made

Behind The Scenes: How a Help Scout Article Is Made
Illustration by Bronwyn Gruet

At Help Scout, one way that we deliver on our values is through our content — specifically, by making it helpful and trustworthy.

Before I joined Help Scout, I was already a reader of the blog because I found it valuable to my work running a customer service team. Now that creating new Help Scout content is my job, I work to maintain that same level of quality.

Watch this five-minute video for a behind-the-scenes look at how an article goes from an idea in Asana to a published piece (at least the way I do it). You’ll also learn the top three mistakes I make every single time!

My 5-step process

  1. Research: Collect information, answer questions, and read around the topic.

  2. Outline: Turn the pile of “all possible information” into a structured argument.

  3. Write: Turn the outline into prose, add links, and perhaps re-order the content.

  4. Edit: Edit first for content accuracy and effect, then for grammar, style, and tone.

  5. Publish: Take a Markdown file and a custom image into our CMS and turn it into a live web page to be promoted, measured, and maintained over time.

Items mentioned in the video

  • Southern cassowary: Australia’s heaviest flightless bird (sorry, emu, you’ll have to bulk up).

  • Asana: Our content folks use this project management tool to connect internal and external authors, editors, product marketers, and designers so everyone knows what is needed.

  • Obsidian: Obsidian lets me turn a folder full of Markdown text files into a knowledge base. I use it for daily planning, note taking, and as a personal CRM, in addition to storing information and ideas relating to customer service.

  • Ulysses: A Mac/iOS-only writing application that I have used for years. I love its clean interface, sheet-handling, and export options.

  • Focus: This website blocker can stop me from getting distracted by apps or websites, and it can run Pomodoro trackers that help me get work done. I have let go of the feeling of personal failure I used to feel when I needed this help. Now, I just love using it.

  • Ludovico Einaudi’s Divenire: This is my current “it’s time to write now” song. There are no lyrics, which is essential to me, but it has some nice dynamic changes throughout so I always feel like I am making progress.

  • Help Scout’s style guide: Our content principles, voice and tone, and house style are published online.

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Mathew Patterson
Mathew Patterson

After running a support team for years, Mat joined the marketing team at Help Scout, where we make excellent customer service achievable for companies of all sizes. Connect with him on Twitter and LinkedIn.