If they made “I <3 Q&As” bumper stickers, you better believe everyone at AVC would have one. After all, Q&As are an excellent way to present content, particularly if you’re looking to: jam a lot of info into a single article, make search engine optimization a breeze or position your organization (or an individual) as an expert on a topic. 

Their scannability makes them a reader favorite, too. And the best news yet is they can be super simple to write. Of course, that doesn’t mean you should skimp on strategy and creativity. 

Here’s how to go about writing a Q&A. 

First, a clarification

This article is specific to the Q&A, which is a storytelling format with a singular subject and cohesive theme. It should be able to stand on its own — i.e., run in a magazine or newsletter, independent of your website — much like a quiz, patient story or charticle

An FAQ, on the other hand, is a resource that answers buyers’ (or another audience’s) most common questions. FAQs can cover a wide range of topics — the more the merrier even! — and the answers should be as straightforward as possible. We’ll delve into the art of the FAQ in a future post. For now, let’s get to focusing on writing a successful Q&A.


1. Determine your purpose.

As with any piece of content, the first step is figuring out why you’re producing it and what message you want to get across. It’s easy for Q&As to become dumping grounds for info you can’t figure out how to work into other pieces of content (making it an FAQ). The easiest way to combat this is by determining your purpose for the piece. Are you attempting to explain a difficult-to-understand topic? Showcase an expert? Highlight your company’s expertise? Solve a particular challenge? Whatever it is, write it down and refer to it often.


2. Determine the point of view.

Q&As can be written generally from the author’s perspective or as though a particular person (or persons) is answering the questions. Before you begin crafting the questions, you’ll want to decide from which point of view you’ll be writing. If you will be positioning a certain individual as an expert, make sure the questions are relevant to his or her skill set.


3. Source your questions.

Again, we don’t want a Q&A to become an FAQ. So as you consider what the questions will be, think back to steps one and two … What is the purpose of the Q&A, and who are the answers coming from?

Ask sales what questions they get. What challenges do they hear from prospects? What are buyers struggling with? What is being typed into your chatbot? Use your SEO platform and suss out common questions related to your area of expertise. And of course, what are the questions you would need to ask to showcase a particular type of expertise that your company or expert possesses?


4. Determine the role of a subject matter expert.

For many Q&As, you will actually need to interview an expert within your organization. But that is not always the case. As a marketer, you may already know the answers that need to go into the post. In this case, you should identify a subject matter expert who can serve as a reviewer and fact-checker when you’re done writing.


5. Conduct an interview (if needed).

You have a list of questions you plan to cover in your article, so you’re all set for your expert interview, right? Not so fast. The questions you prepared are how you will organize your content. They’re not necessarily the questions you should be posing to your expert. Take into account your source’s expertise on the subject as well as their experience being interviewed. Someone who isn’t used to being interviewed may need more pointed questions than, “What is the treatment for knee pain?” 

And, remember, it’s always best to get more information than you need. Great quotes sometimes come from the most unexpected places. Plus, you never know if you’re going to decide to cut a question in the final article, so it’s a good idea to have backups just in case. 

Lastly, and this goes for any interview, ask if there’s anything else people should know that you didn’t ask about (another common treasure trove of great quotes!). And to make your life easier, be sure to record the conversation so you can write from a transcript rather than from notes.


6. Draft the Q&A.

As we mentioned, your Q&A should read like an article, meaning it needs display copy (headline and teaser) and an introduction that will pull readers in and tell them why they should care about reading further. This doesn’t need to be lengthy; often, 100 to 150 words will do it. 

Next, dive into your questions. We find the sweet spot is somewhere between five and eight questions. And try to keep answers pretty tight — if you’re going over 175 words per answer, you may want to think about splitting some information into multiple questions. For example, if one of your questions is, “What is the treatment for knee pain?” — which can easily take more than 175 words to explain — you may want to split the answer under the following questions: “What are the best home remedies for knee pain?” “What are the top nonsurgical treatments for knee pain?” and “What surgical treatments are available for knee pain?”


7. Send out for review.

Ask the subject matter expert you identified back in Step 4 to review the piece for accuracy. Then, send for other necessary reviews, which will vary by organization, but may include sales and marketing directors and legal/compliance.


8. Publish and amplify.

Q&As are easy to promote in newsletters and on social media. The questions make for great teasers and graphic posts. They’re also natural fodder for subject lines and conversation starters on LinkedIn. Be sure to tag your subject matter expert and ask him or her to promote the piece as well.

Q&A-writing checklist

Everyone loves a Q&A. Master the art of writing one by following these steps:

  • Know the difference between a Q&A and an FAQ. 
  • Identify your goals for this piece of content.
  • Decide if your Q&A will be written from your point of view or an expert’s.
  • Identify a subject matter expert and write interview questions. 
  • Conduct your interview, asking more questions than you plan to publish. 
  • Write your Q&A, complete with an introduction and display copy. 
  • Get approvals from your subject matter expert and other reviewers. 
  • Publish your Q&A and share, share, share!