This post is an example of a FAQ or Q&A post. It is pretty self explanatory (and very meta 🙂 ).
What is a FAQ or Q&A post?
It is similar to a “Top 10” post or a “How To” post. The basic idea is to lead the reader from point A to point Z by asking and answering questions.
The questions may be actual questions you have been asked by your readers or someone else, or they may simply be “made up” to provide an opportunity to answer “something”.
How does a FAQ post differ from a “Top” 10 post?
Unlike most “Top 10” post formats, a FAQ type of post is allowed, even encouraged, to meander a bit. You should still be on topic, but the post can cover a broader range of ideas within that topic.
Think about the FAQ pages you’ve seen on different websites in the past. The questions and answers are all related to that particular website, but they can cover just about anything a visitor might encounter on that site.
Of course, you can always make the questions and answer laser targeted to your topic as well. This has an advantage when you’re marketing something specific.
How does a Q&A post differ from a “How To” post?
Generally, a “How To” post leads someone through a specific set of steps to attain a certain goal. While you can also do this with a “Q&A post”, it’s not really intended to work that way.
Instead, a “Q&A” post is better used to enlighten the reader. Rather than explaining “steps”, it should be used to explain “concepts”. It should answer the “why” question more so than the “how” question.
A “Q&A” post is also very useful for leading someone from one topic to another, or for combining topics. Generally you would not want a “How To” post to do that.
Why use this particular type of post format?
For a number of reasons, but the primary one is that it’s super easy. In fact, it’s the easiest type of post I’ve ever written. You can start with 2 or 3 key questions, and add more as the post progresses.
If you get “stuck” at some point, it’s very easy to re-arrange the questions and answers, or even insert a new question block.
And, you don’t have to worry as much about “flow” or paragraph transitions, which is the usually the hardest part for most writers. Breaking the flow with another question works great and seems “natural”.
It’s also easy for someone to read/scan because of the layout. If they can skip over the more basic parts and get right to the meat of the post, they will be happy readers.
What is the general format for a FAQ/Q&A post?
You’re looking at it 🙂 .
First, ask the question (real or made up) using some sort of highlight to distinguish it from the answer. I use H3 tags because it works well with this theme. You could use bold or italics, it’s really a matter of personal preference.
Next, answer the question you posed. I generally write two short paragraphs. Each paragraph is generally made up of two or three sentences.
Rinse and repeat.
Any other suggestions for making it work?
Make the questions interesting. The questions should look like someone might have actually asked them (if they are made up). But, be as clear as possible while asking them.
Keep the answers short. It’s tempting to go on-and-on in your answer, but it works best if you limit that and just ask another question.
Use short sentences and lots of white space. Anyone reading the post will appreciate it (and won’t lose focus as easily).
Keep in mind that it’s easy (almost too easy 🙂 ) to go back and insert a new question anywhere in the post at any time. The advantage: editing is a breeze.
Can this post format be used for PLR?
I’m glad you asked that question 🙂 . The answer is yes, yes, yes. Here’s how to do it.
First, disassemble the PLR. I do this by inserting a break for each sentence.
Then, I reassemble the sentences into 2 or 3 that fit well together. Sometimes a single sentence will do.
(I have no idea who came up with the idea that all PLR has to be written as 3 compound sentences per paragraph. That always seems to be the case. And. it’s stupid).
Finally, insert a question between each of the sentence groupings. Sometimes it works incredibly well, sometimes you need to add a sentence here or there to make it work. Experiment a bit and see.
How did this blog post template come about?
I wish I could say I “invented” it, but I’m sure that’s not the case. Although I haven’t seen it used much, I’m pretty sure someone else uses it as well. Maybe I just “rediscovered” it.
Here’s how it came about for me.
After reading tons of articles about how to lay out articles – adding headings, using whitespace, short sentences, etc. – I still had difficulties getting my thoughts down on “paper”. I’d write a paragraph, rewrite it, decide it should be two paragraphs instead of one, rewrite it again, get frustrated, and never finish the blog post.
The same was true when rewriting PLR. I knew I should break it up with headings and whitespace, and reword some of the text – but, knowing it and doing it effectively can sometimes be miles apart. I needed a better solution.
Then, one day I was rewriting an old post to make it more appealing, and it just “came” to me. I realized you could pretty much ignore the “writing a term paper” rules if each “paragraph” was a mini-paper unto itself. And, the best way to accomplish that is to insert questions between those mini-papers.
Is that all the is to a FAQ/Q&A post?
Well, that’s all I’m going to reveal here 🙂 . Just kidding. That’s pretty much it.
I wrote this post in about 20 minutes (slow typist), and pretty much made it up as I went along. That’s the beauty of a Q&A post. Try it, you’ll see.