Questions are the seed of human knowledge: If it weren’t for the classic questions “What if I do this?” or “How can I do that?” we wouldn’t be where we are now. So it is natural that, with the development of technology and the democratization of the internet, people have more access to answers than ever before, which in turn increases their thirst to question.
And that’s an important consideration because questions are sustainable; we’ll never run out of them; and everyone’s got at least one. That is why user-run Q&A platforms like Quora (“a place to gain and share knowledge”) pop up at the top of so many Google searches.
Although science and mysticism can be used to tackle most of our doubts, sometimes all we want is another human being (preferably one with firsthand experience in our chposen topic) to show the way; that’s the humanistic aspect which makes Quora so popular. Like Wikipedia, Quora relies on and is propelled by the sharing of communal knowledge, allowing anyone who has a thorough understanding of a subject (a quality unfortunately rare sometimes) to contribute to the collection and curation of free-access information.
Unlike Wikipedia, however, Quora’s multidirectional internal mechanisms — which join users with topics, users with users and questions with questions –, make the entire experience more dynamic and trustworthy.
But what if beyond personal questions, you could use Quora professionally, incorporating it as an actual tool into your business marketing approach? What if you could tap into it to build an audience, thereby increasing your number of followers and ultimately streamlining your business or brand?
According to Hanson Cheng, an American videographer who at one point got over 1 million views on Quora in under 45 days, questions found on Quora can prompt entrepreneurs to write responses showcasing what they know and/or care about in a clear-sighted way. “Quora seemed like a great way to flesh out my ideas to create content,” Cheng told me in an interview. “It was my way of finding out what people were interested in learning about and whether any of my experiences could help them.”
Clearly, Cheng had his own goal in mind, and it extended beyond just providing readers with potential solutions to their problems, “When I started testing Quora, I wanted to see if I could grow my Instagram account,” he said. “In under two months, I was able to grow my account from 2,000 to a little over 4,000.”
Besides boosting his number of followers, Cheng said he increased his revenue, acquired a new revenue-generating skill and locked in three new clients. For those keen to borrow from his experience, Cheng highlighted for me three steps to get started on your own Quora journey and effectively structure an approach that helps you reap what you’ve sowed — in short order.
Define and prioritize your goals.
We all want more than one thing, but “over-wanting” can often hinder instead of help. So, in order to optimize your workflow, it is vital to prioritize your goals and structure your Quora strategy according to what you need most at present. Are you actually hoping to get more clients or just increase your Instagram following? Perhaps you just released a new EP and want people to listen to it and follow you on Spotify?
Related: Why is Quora Everyone’s New Favorite
“Once you know your goal, you can reverse-engineer the structure of your answers to get them to act,” Cheng said. An example of that is choosing the most time-effective questions you’ll answer. For example, focus on questions that have popularity, but do not yet have satisfactory responses. As a rule of thumb: If a question has more than seven followers for every answer, it’s in high demand and should be worth considering crafting a response for.
Copywriting for for your call to action
What you write about is just as important as how you write about it, and when it comes to giving answers to someone’s questions, the post has to be engaging (read: “structured”). After all, your final goal is to promote some sort of call-to-action for your business. That’s when a basic understanding of copywriting techniques come in handy.
To start, there are two ways to go about copywriting: trial-and-error or learning from Quora experts such as Nicolas Cole, who offers an online course on how to write great answers. The course proved effective for him, Cheng said, but regardless of which approach you choose, here are some of the main structural points to always keep in mind:
- Start smart. You have probably stopped reading a post because it didn’t catch your attention from the beginning. Hence, your aim is to do the complete opposite and make your answer stand out by hooking the reader from the start.
- Use an image to help tell the story. It doesn’t take long to find a free stock photo and add a visual element to your answer so as to make it look more appealing. If you do that, it’s an even better idea to plug a link to your favorite social media handle in case readers want to find out more about you.
- Write easy; read easy. Your main goal is to provide an answer, not to create more questions. Therefore, avoid tenuous, unclear language and back up your affirmations with examples and personal stories that readers can easily relate to.
- Call To action. Every text needs a conclusion, and in the case of a Quora post, there’s no better way than summarizing your answer into a short paragraph. This is also the time to redirect readers to where you want them to go (e.g., check out your Instagram profile or have a look at the book you just launched.)
- Practice leads to perfection and results.
Like most things in life, results on Quora don’t come overnight. So it goes without saying that you’ll need to write with consistency in order to build a loyal audience and begin witnessing more tangible results to your strategy. Here, Cheng highlighted how writing one post every day (ideally at the same time) is crucial to achieving the results he himself aimed for in such a narrow time-frame.
One of the main reasons Quora is such a unique platform and has the potential to impact your digital marketing strategy is because it incorporates aspects of social media into a typical Q&A website. People on Quora are hungry for information, which means that if you’ve designed your post smartly, and the answer you’ve provided has been useful, they are likely to keep feeding on your knowledge.
As Cheng put it, “The only thing I do is focus on writing quality answers to great questions. Every question I write acts like an invisible salesman, telling people to connect with me — whether it’s [as] new friends, followers or business opportunities.”