Do you have an article scheduled for an upcoming issue of your association magazine or a social media post that requires an interview with an industry expert, association board member, or high-profile member? Use a Q&A format to make the article stand out from typical feature articles.
The key to a compelling Q&A article that catches readers’ attention and keeps them on the page is a combination of interesting person or topic and brevity. One professional communicator offers five tips to ensure the best results for your Q&A article. Here’s a summary of her tips:
- Keep the article short to be sure you don’t wear out your welcome with the reader – even if you are fascinated by the topic and person.
- Focus on one particular aspect of the subject – which helps you keep the article short.
- Ask unexpected questions to stimulate the interviewee to give interesting answers and keep readers reading.
- Vary the pace by following long answers with short ones in the finished piece.
- Edit aggressively to keep the article short, focused, and filled with the most interesting bits of information.
Rowan University’s journalism students were given these examples for Q&A articles that you might find interesting. Note that each example includes a well-crafted introduction that sets the stage for the Q&A and includes background information that lets the reader know why he or she will find the article interesting.
Looking for design ideas for your Q&A? There are a number of different layout ideas in this Pinterest collection that might provide inspiration.
Most importantly – remember that Q&A-style articles are a “break” in routine for most publications. While a regular column, such as a “meet your association leaders,” is okay to run each issue, don’t default to Q&A for all or many other articles or it becomes the norm rather than a surprising change.