Content Marketing

March 15th, 2013

How to Use Quora to Build an Engaged Audience

Quora is one of content marketing’s biggest mysteries. First and foremost, the platform seems to be a smart-conversation engine. How can brand marketers join in?

Then, there’s the question of value. Can Quora yield an effect that’s directly translatable into the language of business — that is, revenue and sales?

“Quora has brand marketing value because it can help brands and experts generate thought leadership and expertise in their given field,” explains Freya Waldern, a PR professional with a background in fashion, tech, and video for both consumer and enterprise organizations.

Then there’s the other end of the spectrum and the typical answer to the question — ‘What the best use of Quora good for ?’

“Procrastination,” says professional author, political consultant, and Daily Stag Hunt co-owner Patrick Atwater.

Quora and the Content Ecosystem

But if you’re not participating in the discussion, you’re at a potential disadvantage.

Content marketers may be surprised to learn that top Quora answers drive massive viewership numbers.

“Quora tells me active writers get over 30,000 monthly views and 350,000 annual values,” wrote Josh Constine for Techcrunch. “Its most hardcore contributors can get over 1 million views a year, and most great answers go viral and get tens of thousands of reads.”

That’s a big reason why Quora evolved its platform by launching a blogging platform. As of late January, Quora users can create blogs and posts within them.

“Authors can tag their posts or entire blogs with any of Quora’s 300,000 topics that are relevant to their content,” says Constine.

A natural next step is the ability to drive traffic back to your website. But will content marketing actually have a clear place in this ecosystem? Atwater has already jumped in and given the process a go, however, he’s still working on cultivating an effective audience development strategy.

“We’ve already carried over a Quora blog from the old boards program,” he says. “We’re still trying to figure out how to best integrate that venue with our existing Daily Stag Hunt website.”

Content that Transcends Traffic

Quora’s core value proposition is that it is not a sales tool or traffic-driving machine. The platform is, at is heart, a trustworthy place to exchange knowledge. If you start beating people over the head with an aggressive marketing message, you won’t be met with open arms. Your content will instead, be downvoted into total obscurity.

“Quora weighs thoughtful, considerate, and valid responses much higher than vapid, salesy plugs,” Waldern says.

It’s that dynamic that might be scaring marketers away, she suggests. “These types of responses require more time and energy to think through and thus contribution is not as widespread.”

But if you’re not participating in the discussion, you’re at a potential disadvantage.

“Businesses miss out if their competition responds to questions pertaining to their space because they gain name-brand recognition and could be considered more expert than those companies that don’t respond,” Waldern says.

Think Like a Leader, Not a Marketer

To succeed on Quora, you need to think past your content marketing agenda to zero in on personal connections, intelligent dialogue, and valuable information.

“I use Quora mostly to follow topics and people of interest both personally and professionally,” Waldern says.

Will content marketing actually have a clear place in this ecosystem?

It’s especially powerful in bridging connections with new audiences.

“Quora’s exposed me to fascinating thinkers I wouldn’t have found otherwise, like Venkatesh Rao,” explains Atwater.

Stop trying to sell, and start focusing on leading, influencing, and connecting instead. That in a nutshell, is how you’ll make Quora work for your brand.


GETTING SERIOUS ABOUT CONTENT?
DOWNLOAD OUR FREE E-BOOK!
And subscribe to our daily Content Strategy tips!