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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