We blog content writers, though, should go quite a few steps beyond that who-knows-anything-at-all-about-this-topic format, I thought, having come across the “Now What?!?” page in Real Simple Magazine. Actually, I realized, that page offers some examples of the why’s and how’s of using Q&A in business blog posts.
“Curate” material from different authorities, adding your own “take” on the matter. In answer to the question “How can I save an oversalted dish?”, Bethany Parker auotes Ken Origer, chef at Clio’s restaurant in Boston (who suggests folding in pureed beans) and Alice Walker, chef at a New York City cooking school (who advises serving over-salted meat over an unsalted starch. Parker adds her own advice (accompanying the food with a sweet, bubbly wine). Very importantly, she explains her thinking to readers (bubbles cleanse the palate of salt).
As I stress in corporate blogging training sessions, curation of others’ content is a great strategy, but only if you add your own viewpoint and give readers the benefit of your own professional experience. That way, readers connect with YOU, and with your business or practice.
Use compelling CTAs (Calls to Action). Real Simple Magazine does: “”Have a disaster that needs solving? Scan this page and share your problem or go to realsimple.com.”
In writing for business, one goal is to make clear what opportunities will be lost if readers don’t respond – and in timely fashion.
The one aspect of the Real Simple “Now What?!?” page that doesn’t serve as a good model for blog content writing is that it deals with three different topics on the one page. I prefer to use “the Power of One”, focusing each blog post on one central concept, leaving other topics for other posts. Start with the “Pow!” opening line, discuss your topic, then tie back at the end, I say.
Question-answer is actually a very good format for presenting information to online readers. But there’s no need to wait until readers actually write in their questions. Every practitioner hears questions from clients; every business owner fields customer queries daily. Sharing some of those in blog posts reminds readers of challenges they face and issues they’ve had with their current providers of products and services.
Answer/Ask is a great way to write business blog posts!