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How to Answer Complex Questions with Your Content and Make Your Followers Love You in the Process



MAY 2017

The Internet is a nonstop virtual Q&A session that anyone can join at any time. Popular search engines form seemingly instant connections between questions and answers for millions of people each day. Enter a question or topic and a list of corresponding page links and websites appears seconds later.

What about the difficult questions, though? There is an ocean filled with responses to simple questions online, but only a small lake of accurate responses for the complex ones. Interestingly, inquisitive minds are more eager to dive into the small lake of complexity instead of the ocean of simplicity. Here are several steps you can follow to answer complex questions accurately with your content to please the “lake-loving” Internet users effectively.

How Do You Respond in Real Life?

To discover how to answer difficult questions within the digital world, you must consider how you answer questions in the real world. Picture yourself standing behind a lectern at a press conference where millions of people would hear your responses. Chances are that you would take the following steps to answering the difficult curveballs thrown in your direction:

  1. Prepare answers for the expected questions in advance.
  2. Conduct high-quality research to address unfamiliar topics and questions.
  3. Pause before responding to properly dissect question and structure your answer.
  4. Simplify your response and eliminate confusing jargon to ensure comprehension.
  5. Engage the audience by encouraging feedback and questions before ending the session.

The same 5 steps you would take to prepare for a real-life press conference are the same steps you need to take to answer difficult questions online.

Prepare for Expected Questions in Advance

Depending on your niche, you should already be familiar with some of the difficult questions consumers are likely to ask. Perhaps you have encountered the same question numerous times before or it is a fairly new question that recently emerged within your industry. Prepare your responses for these expected questions in advance. Doing so will boost your credibility as an expert and draw more traffic toward your content by providing accurate answers.

Conduct Quality Research for Unfamiliar Questions

Consumers use the Internet to fill their own knowledge gaps every day. To answer difficult questions within your content, you must conduct the same type of research yourself. As mentioned above, you may already have prepared answers to expected questions. You must take the time to conduct quality research to answer the “curveball” questions that you may not expect. Focus on trending topics, new issues and breaking news headlines related to your niche that may lead to a brand new list of questions to answer. These are the research areas that will need your attention, because they are the targets that consumers will strive to hit within their own “Q&A session.”

Pause Before Responding to Any Question

The difference between an impulsive commenter and an expert commenter is research and patience. Just because you may be comfortable with the response does not mean you should be in a hurry to give it. Take the time to replay and dissect the question mentally so that you can provide a well-prepared, thorough and (more importantly) accurate answer in response to it. Using that time wisely will also allow you to properly structure your response, creating developed content for your website instead of unstructured comments.

Simplify Responses, Eliminate Jargon

It is easy to clutter content with technical jargon, fancy words and complex phrases. However, if you want those “lake lovers” to follow you, refrain from doing so. Why use 10 complex words for a message you can relay efficiently with 5 simple words? Treat each response as a draft article – reviewing the content to make the necessary revisions and diction replacements. Remember, it is pointless to publish a response that your readers cannot comprehend because they will just look elsewhere for an answer.

Encourage Feedback and Comments

After you have accurately addressed the targeted questions, it is time for open dialogue between you and your audience. At this point, you have already intrigued your readers with your subject knowledge and well-researched responses. To seal the deal and make them fall in love with your content, create opportunities for feedback and comments. As you wrap up your content, remind your readers that they can contact you, comment on your content and even ask additional questions at any time.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 19 years’ experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

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