The FAQ: An Ideal Content Form

Good content marketing is about aligning with your business objectives. It's also about creating quality content to stand out from the pablum flooding the market. One surefire example of meeting these goals is to use an age-old communications device: the FAQ.

FAQs have long been used in public relations to answer questions about major announcements or crisis events and by marketers to address product features and customer service issues. Now FAQs are an ideal format for content marketing. They can be used to showcase your expertise without self-promotion, and from the perspective of developing content, they can be utilized to convey various types of information while eliminating the need to construct a cogent storyline and narrative.

For example, you can create an FAQ to discuss your mission or address a thought leadership platform. An FAQ can be used to ask and answer questions about your company's business mission or to address your community of customers and industry insiders with critical insights. Even big and emerging brands like Amazon Web Services, The Honest Company and Heroku, a division of Salesforce, use FAQs to frame their products, industry, culture and mission.

So here's a quick primer on why you should consider making FAQs a preferred content marketing form:

Address customer pain points: A principal rule of marketing is to speak to customer needs, and FAQs can do just that. You can provide valuable content that addresses customers' most pressing concerns via timely, accurate and highly-specific questions and thoughtful answers (if you include hyperlinks or contact referrals, make sure they work.)

Deliver straightforward, digestible information: You can develop FAQs in a declarative, straightforward fashion, supported by facts and evidence that leave no doubt about the depth of your expertise and truthfulness of your answers. What's more, in an environment where there is a preference for information in bullets and snippets, FAQs provide information in a highly-focused and digestible format to make the content easier to remember.

Ensure Dynamic content: FAQs also offer an opportunity to deliver dynamic content. They can be designed to be interactive, allowing for customer dialogue to expand on published answers. And by their very definition, FAQs should be updated frequently to address new and important questions that surface.

"An FAQ will almost automatically make you an 'expert' in your field. People will contact you and help you update your FAQ, either by asking you more questions or simply by getting hold of more relevant information, based on their own experience that can be added to your FAQ."
— Avengate Digital Commerce

Re-purpose across channels: FAQs can be re-purposed across the full spectrum of print and digital forms. They can be transformed into articles or blogs, used for video content, and printed as collateral, and they can be posted across social media and to your website for maximum distribution and exposure. And given their straight-forward nature, they create great opportunities to obtain earned media.

Enhance SEO: FAQs help to improve SEO. When a question is entered into a search, there is a greater likelihood it will algorithmically match to your FAQs, thereby securing a higher search ranking. This can direct customers and prospects to your website — a primary goal of content marketing.

Gain business insights: Somewhat vicariously, FAQs also help to conduct qualitative research and gain business insights. Maintain an inventory of the ever-growing list of questions about your company, products, market, competition, features and customers. The answers to these questions typically help to improve your current products, inform product development and enhance customer service.

Insert metrics: Smart content marketers also can embed simple metrics around individual questions. If particular questions garner significant attention, it makes sense to home in on the issues around that question to determine if a problem needs to be solved or if there is an opportunity your sales force should aggressively pursue.

And for the creative marketers out there, an FAQ doesn't need to be labeled as such. Instead, content marketers can offer creative titles to present the kind of fresh, objective and smart thinking that an FAQ presents.