Q&A format for articles: Good or bad?

Question and answer formats aren’t always ideal. Here are some examples of when you should and shouldn’t use them.

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The Q&A format has its uses, and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) section belongs on many websites. However, you should use the Q&A format sparingly for articles.

1. Q&As are different from FAQs.

Unlike articles, people search and skim FAQs for one question; they don’t read them word for word. FAQ readers seek answers to specific questions or solutions to problems, such as “How can I fix error message XYZ?” An FAQ may include many questions, but the reader is only interested in a few.

2. Q&As make it hard to grasp an overall message.

The Q&A format makes it harder for readers to grasp your overall message than with an article. A traditional article offers an introduction, headings and a skilled writer’s transition between topics.

3. Q&A interviewees may hold you hostage.

The Q&A format works best when your interviewees are articulate and know how to hit your readers’ hot buttons. You can’t find these qualities in every interviewee.

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