We’ve been working with great people on their Q&A sites for a while now and we’ve learned a lot in the process. I won’t try and cover a tenth of it here, but I will start building a list of it all on our Wiki soon. These are just a few things that keep coming up or are more recent insights:
Experts Increase Membership
YouSaidIt is good for community Q&A, but what makes it exceptional is the way it handles experts. Experts can be people in positions of authority (politicians for e.g.) or subject matter experts. They can be regular contributors or special guests. Experts can appear on their own or they can be grouped into panels to discuss a subject. Whatever approach you take, experts will have a huge impact on your membership (i.e people who have signed up/contributed).
Capitalize on Your Staff Experts
Your staff has a huge amount of expertise. It may be in an area that they cover regularly (food, books, theater, etc) or it may be in a hobby or in a subject they have recently researched exhaustively. Bring them into the site either as a regular contributor (book recommendations, weekend plans) or as a special guest on a subjectthey have been writing about (bed bugs, second life, health care). Make use of all that information they gathered but never included in their article.
Q&A Should Be Part of Your Content/Design
Q&A content can be amazingly good. The best Q&A content should be featured in other sections of your site. If there was a great Q&A about pizza places in your city, it should be in the food section, not just in the Q&A. And your food section should always include a link to the Q&A: “Wondering where to get the best brunch? Ask”. Even more important is linking your copy to the person who wrote it and the people who were interviewed into the Q&A. Most articles include quotes and interviews with people whose opinions are relevant or interesting. Invite them to participate in the Q&A and link from your article directly to the Q&A: “Have more questions about training your dog? Ask Doggy Man directly”.
I could go on, and should, but I’ll continue in the wiki and link to it in a future post. If you have learned things that have helped please share them in the comments. I’ll include them in the wiki with a link back to you.