Note: this piece was originally posted in January 2018
If you’ve made a Google search within the past few years, you’ve surely come across Quora in your search results.
Google ranks this Q&A unicorn company high for almost any keyword you can imagine. The company has raised over $85 million in funding and is lead by Adam D’Angelo, personal friend of Mark Zuckerberg and Facebook’s first chief technology officer.
If you’re not already excited about Quora, the following details ought to grab your attention:
Statistics aside, Quora is a platform that connects curious people with subject matter experts to answer their questions.
Here’s a quick overview of how Quora works
Let’s use a real example from Quora. In late October, a user asked the question “Will automation lead to loss of jobs?”
Quora’s algorithms work on the backend to match the question with potential people to answer it based on the questions they’ve already answered. Their backend also lets the person who asked the question (or other Quora users) invite relevant people to answer the question.
As answers start to come in, users get to vote for the top answer. The website requires you to use your real name, so users can easily verify the expertise and credibility of whoever is answering the question.
In this example, the editor-in-chief of National Economics Editorial provided an answer to this question.
This one answer generated 1,100 views. Not bad, considering it probably took him 10 minutes to write and publish his response. It gets even better when you consider that he posted it on October 22, and it will continue to gain views.
Let’s take a look at the person who answered the question.
The Quora interface tells us he has 425,300 views on 116 answers. That’s an average of 3,666 views per answer.
Assuming each answer takes ten minutes to write, that means he would have spent about 20 hours writing in total.
Who wouldn’t trade 20 hours of time for more than 400,000 impressions on their insights and opinions? If it sounds like a no-brainer, that’s because it is.
Let’s keep digging.
Looking at the original answer, you may have noticed that there were a number of links throughout his post.
Guess where that link goes?
GASP! To his website!
What about the next one?
It takes you directly to Amazon to buy his book.
You get the point by now, but going through the rest of his answer, you’ll find three other direct links to his website.
It’s clear that Spencer wants to establish himself as a thought leader in economics. He’s already mastered the key foundation of thought leadership: become the ultimate resource.
Why is Quora a thought leader’s gold mine?
It’s all about value.
Let’s look at the core strategy we use to build thought leaders.
With most organizations, when we define the objective and the why for becoming a thought leader, it boils down to being positioned as the ultimate resource in their industry.
Because the media will come to you when they need an expert source.
Because conference organizers will invite you to speak at their events.
Because customers searching for solutions to their problems will find you first.
By adding value, you become top of mind. We preach thought leadership PR, which is all about getting your opinions and insights in front of your target audience. This is a completely different mindset from conventional PR, which is all about you. And no one cares about that except for you, your team, and (probably) your mom.
People don’t actually get value from reading a news story about a startup that just raised $50 million. But if a CMO gets instant value from read “Top Marketing Trends CMOs Must Know In 2018.” That’s something they do care about.
Okay, okay, you get it — adding value is key. Here’s where Quora comes in and why it’s a gold mine.
When it comes to adding value, we advise clients to focys on the following channels:
And now, Quora.
Quora is a channel filled with one of the most important elements of marketing: intent.
If someone posts a question on Quora, that represents intent. They had a question, now want an informed answer.
Imagine this scenario for us — what questions could we answer to indicate intent and that we can add value?
This looks good…
This one too…
We have unique and valuable insights on these questions that can truly add value for those asking them. It makes a whole lot of sense for us to take a few minutes to reply to these questions while linking back to our relevant blog content because we also know it also has value.
This is what Quora means to your thought leadership strategy — it’s a platform of potential customers signalling intent. So how do you execute on this?
Let’s get down to the actionable part.
Build thought leadership with Quora
To help you execute, we’ve created a free Google Sheets file that you can use to plan your strategy. Click HERE to access your copy.
The initial goal should be to find 100 questions that you can add value to. In doing so, you’ll develop a foundation from which you can zero in on the questions most consistent with your overall thought leadership strategy. Once you’ve laid that foundation, you’ll just need to maintain it on a weekly basis, answering any new, relevant questions that come up.
Step 1: Go to Quora.com and begin searching your keywords. Let’s try “big data in healthcare” here.
Step 2: Begin reviewing the questions one by one. You’ll want to look for questions with a high follower count as well as top answers with high views.
Step 3: As you find relevant questions to answer, copy the link and question into a separate Excel file. Follow this process until you hit 100 questions.
In our planner, we focus on the following:
Step 4: Once you have 100 questions, you can start the most important part of the process: writing answers! Just like any other type of content creation, quality is key here. If you aren’t dedicated to creating the most incredible content you possibly can, you’re wasting your time.
In a separate Google document, copy and paste the question and start writing your answer. When writing your answer, you’ll want to keep the following in mind:
Step 5: Now that you have answers written, it’s time to focus on creating new content and linking to existing content.
Existing content: Looking through your answers, find relevant places that you can link to the content you already have. Do you have a great blog post that supports something you mentioned in your answer? Perfect! Add that link.
New content creation: Going through the answers should have given you some unique ideas for topics that your audience would be interested in. You’ll want to create e-books, blog posts, LinkedIn posts, byline content, or anything else that can add more weight to your answer.
Your ideal scenario is to add enough value that it gets people out of Quora and onto a platform you control.
Step 6: Your final step is to go back to each question and add your answer and hyperlinks. From there, you can evaluate what’s resonating, what’s not, and and plan your next wave of 100 questions.