This is a guest post from Josh Fechter -- the "Top Quora Writer of 2017." He's going to drop some insane Quora knowledge on you.
Can’t find a solid channel to get leads?
Here’s how to dominate a social platform to generate thousands of leads and build a huge online community in only a few months.
The secret: Quora.
If you don’t know, Quora is a question-and-answer site and community for intellectuals to voice their opinions -- think Yahoo Answers but with actual good advice.
But think about this: even though there are over 3 million questions on Quora (with dozens of answers), most Quora writers don’t break a thousand views.
But a few seem to strike gold every day and rake in thousands of leads.
What’s the difference?
I wrote my first big hit on August 8th, 2016. I answered, “At what point should founders take a salary from their startup?”
This answer received over one hundred thousand views.
By stepping on toes, you get noticed. Top writers regularly use controversy to get traction.
What other Quora strategies do they use?
After extensive research, I discovered their closely guarded strategies (then implemented them). The results after five months:
Over 2,000 quality members (around 6,000 requests) added to my Facebook Group, Marketers & Founders
Over 3,000 leads added to my email list from an eBook I promoted on Quora strategies in my bio
Now, I have over twenty-two thousand followers and 8 million views on my work. To give you a reference, I have one of the fastest growing Quora profiles.
Views are great, but I know what you’re thinking: “ Why should I focus on Quora?”
You build your email list fast.
You establish thought leadership.
Your posts get many organic views.
Your traffic compounds as you gain followers.
You can drive thousands of more members to your online community.
Excellent posts get syndicated to major publications, including Time and Inc. Magazine.
But all that happens if you get your answers seen, read, and upvoted like a top writer.
To do that, you need the secret Quora sauce for traction.
To get traction, implement these ten strategies top writers use to identify questions, drive traffic, build community, and creating a huge, loyal following fast.
Note: To help you out, we pulled the top 1000 most-trafficked Quora pages so you don’t have to guess what pages to target. Grab the spreadsheet below.
If you want to be the best, then act like the best.
The best marketers on Quora find and answer the most relevant questions to their brand.
They niche down to portray themselves as thought leaders and dominate Google search for the topics related to their business.
You’ll see many writers on Quora focus on broad lifestyle questions because they’re the most likely to get upvotes and comments. However, if they’re not related to your business offering or lead magnet, then you’re chasing fool’s gold.
Avoid vanity metrics by optimizing your profile attributes and tagline according to your niche, then answer questions in that niche.
Add a detailed About Me section
Add your areas of expertise
Add your interests
Schools & colleges you’ve attended
Connect your other social media accounts
The tagline from your bio shows at the top of every answer:
This tagline is customizable for the different topics you write about and includes fifty characters. To customize it, click the several dots at the bottom right of your answer, then click Edit Credential.
You’ll now have an option to select pre-existing taglines or edit them to create a new one.
Stick to one tagline to create strong brand recognition across the many questions you answer. Make sure this tagline is relevant to the lead magnet in your bio to increase conversions.
If you’re interested in several niches and not sure which one to start answering questions in, then A/B test it. You can write for two weeks in one niche and use a relevant offer in your bio, then do the same for another niche the second two weeks.
To compare traffic week-by-week, go to the stats section of your profile. Here you can change the date according to the timeframe you want to analyze:
These stats will give you a strong overview of your performance, but they’re not the end-all be-all. The most important metric is the number of leads you’re driving. With that said, more views and upvotes have a high correlation to the number of leads you receive.
You could answer 1000 questions on Quora, but if you don’t generate leads, your hard work will go to waste.
That’s why you need to optimize your bio.
Top writers design their bio like a website homepage.
They use elements like:
A relevant offer
A memorable picture
Links to your other content
As you can see from my bio, I ensure to link to Autopilot organically, then I promote an eBook (which generated me over 3,000 signups). Below the offer, I include social proof to increase conversion votes.
Then, I promote a few of my favorite Quora pieces:
Another great bio example is of Nicolas Cole. He uses a mix of brand names, features, imagery, and relevant offers to drive leads.
Again, don’t rethink the wheel. Copy how top writers design their bios to drive traffic and leads. It will save you time you can use for answering questions.
Knowing how to writing quality Quora answers is important, but if you spend thirty minutes looking for every quality question, then you’ll never get traction. You need to understand what questions you should answer and how to find them faster.
To find lead-generating questions, start reading as many answers as possible in relevant topics to your business. When reading, identify a few of your favorite Quora writers in these niches.
Once you’ve found your favorites, bookmark the topics they follow. I read everything by Jason M. Lemkin, so I bookmark all the topics he focuses on by clicking on who he’s following, then selecting the Topics tab.
Before you begin jumping into these topics and bookmarking every question that pulls your attention, know the attributes that make a question ripe for traction:
7:1 ratio of followers to the number of answers provided.
A lot of followers, but many bad answers.
A question that you can provide a personal image to complement.
An emotional pull. This pull makes it easier to write more genuine answers with thought-provoking stories.
Relevant to your bio offer.
A question with poor-written answers making yours more likely to stand out.
The fastest way to identify a poorly-written answer is to look at whether the writer focuses on self-promotion rather than providing value.
For example, in the question below, the top answer has a promotional link in the first sentence and provides little value to the reader. Moreover, there’s a 7:1 ratio of followers to answers.
NOTE: If you write many answers, you’ll eventually struggle to find questions with a 7:1 ratio of followers to answer. Just be sure to employ the other strategies in this guide, and you’ll get traction.
To start searching for questions, dive into the individual topics you chosen, then save the juiciest questions for later. This allows you to browse through thousands of top-performing questions faster because the immediate questions presented under every topic tend to have the highest follower-to-answer ratio.
When you find a high-quality question, click on the three dots next to it, then select “Answer Later.” I’ll spend 15 - 30 minutes finding 5 or 6 questions I want to answer. As I’m writing this, I currently have over 300 questions saved.
When you want to access these bookmarked questions, click on Answer at the top right of your screen, then click “Answer Later” on the left side. You’ll then see a list of all the questions you’ve saved.
Protip: Outsource the question search process by contracting a virtual assistant. Ask them to go through a list of 100 to 200 topics to find the best questions according to the 7:1 ratio of followers to answers. Tell them to create a spreadsheet where they have columns for hyperlinked Quora questions to their original source, follower ratio, topic name, and a 1-5 rating of how good the other answers are to the question (1 being the best).
I have my virtual assistant provide me thirty questions every Monday, so I’m ready to start the week knocking out Quora answers.
But if you don't feel like finding a virtual assistant, you can download this spreadsheet with all the most-trafficked Quora pages (beats guessing):
The first piece of every lead-generating Quora answer is the image.
The biggest Quora influencers (like James Altucher and Nicolas Cole), use images in almost every answer.
If you don’t have a personal photo or one of a celebrity relevant to your answer, then use Allthefreestock.com, a site that aggregates many of the best free stock photo sites.
But you want some stats right? Fine.
A study by Skyword found a 94 percent increase in viewership if a published article contained a relevant photograph or infographic when compared to articles without an image in the same category.
Diving into the science, images help release oxytocin in our brain increasing trust in products or brands. In a PLoS ONE case study, participants under the effects of oxytocin gave more money to charity than those who weren’t.
I just dropped science on you. What more could you want?
Usually, I’ll drop a celeb image to get people’s attention, especially if they’ve recently been in the news:
Warning: Only use an image of a celebrity if it’s relevant to your post; otherwise, the Quora community will throw a fit in your comments. They’ll think you’re using the image purely for click bait.
Your image doesn’t have to be at the top of your answer. Quora takes the first picture in your post to use as the preview even if it’s ten paragraphs down. Top writers use images of themselves or celebrities to generate a higher click-through rate on their answers.
In the picture below, James Altucher uses a personal picture with well-known Shark Tank investor, Daymond John:
The best Quora answers use before-and-after images because they imply a good story and draw emotion from the reader. Nicolas Cole is especially good at using this strategy. Here’s an example picture he’s used many times over for his Quora answers:
These pictures generate more upvotes because Quora readers love personal and genuine posts. You’ll notice almost every top Quora writer detail their personal experiences in their posts using images.
The top performing posts on Quora include personal stories, excellent advice, or humor. Everyone, including you, has thousands of stories to draw ideas from.
You can even turn a simple part of your everyday life into memorable content. Maybe it’s where you grab your morning coffee or something funny your friend said to you the other day. The material is everywhere.
Dushka Zapata is the most well-known writer on Quora. She takes the angle of turning everyday stories into emotion-evoking content that gets traction. If you’re looking for inspiration on how to turn simple stories into remarkable stories, then she’s your go-to.
Sean Kernan, owner of one of the fastest-growing Quora profiles, writes from an angle of excellent advice or controversial humor. Sean grew his following to over twenty-five thousand while answering only 158 questions. He’s a great example of how traction on Quora has everything to do with quality answers.
How do you pull out the little heart-rending moments from this material?
You examine every tiny physical and emotional change, then write about these changes using metaphors, similes, and emotional adjectives.
Here’s a great example from my answer to “What’s the most frustrating thing about being a high school student?”:
You stare at your teacher not listening to a word they’re saying.
You try to take notes, but they turn into doodles.
Your knees won’t stop shaking.
‘Am I nervous?’
‘Why can’t I pay attention like the kid in the front row?’
You start fiddling with your pencil.
On the flip side, here’s a bad (read: normal) example from one of the pieces:
Once you pull the emotional moments out of the tiniest details, it’s time to spark the reader’s imagination with certain phrases to get them hooked. Here are several phrases Quora readers respond to well:
“Let me explain”
“Then everything changed”
Here’s an example excerpt from one of my pieces where I use the word “imagine” a couple of times. The first time is to get the reader involved in the story; the second time is to show contrast:
Now that you’ve struck their imagination, write dialogue to re-enact events.
Writing dialogue requires a high level of empathy. If you can excel with this skill, then you’ll immediately stand out as one of the better Quora writers. Here’s an example excerpt from one of my Quora answers that received over 200K views:
By immersing the reader in the scene using dialogue, they develop a strong emotional connection to my story resulting in more upvotes.
Content is not king if design prevents people from reading it.
Before you write the most epic Quora answer, style your content for more engagement:
Be human (i.e. use metaphors and similes to describe your emotions)
Optimize for mobile (make your paragraphs one or two sentences)
Bold your first sentence, important statements, and transitions
Remove all extra words, including “very,” “really,” and “that.”
Use heavy contrast (i.e. “little did I know it would turn for the worst”)
Reflect on pain (i.e. “I could barely crawl out of bed”)
Inspire (always end on a positive call to action)
Use bullet points and numbering
Italicize most questions
Here’s an example of how you take a question worth a great story and make it boring by not optimizing for mobile, using dialogue, reflecting on pain, inspiring, or bolding sentences:
Here’s how I used my style principles to make my writing stand out. This piece received over 340K views:
If you have a background in copywriting, you’ll have a head start in understanding how to format your content. And whatever you do, don’t stop practicing. No one became a top Quora writer after their first few answers.
If you see an answer going viral, then write a follow-up answer with a plug because you’ll have a huge spike of people looking at other answers you’ve written.
But here’s the key: You have to make it look organic.
For example, if you drop a link at the end of an article asking people interested in learning more to visit a resource with no opt-in, then you’re in the clear.
Think about it: You read something clearly promotional, then by the end of article you’re dying.
If you’re trying to promote your company, then dive into the startup categories to answer questions where you can link to your company without it overtly looking like a plug.
This means avoiding hard asks and click bait to get people to visit your website.
Hard ask: “Learn more about what we do here:”
Hard ask: “Start your free trial here:”
Click bait: “For tips 11 - 20, go here:”
Instead, tell them where they can learn more without a hard ask.
Example: If this is a subject you’re interested in, we’ve written many articles about it. You can read them here: [insert link]
I hope they help you with [X pain point].“
Another strategy is to include a backlink in a list post, so you can blend it in with links to other companies. In turn, it won’t appear as if you’re overtly promoting one.
Do this right after one of your answers goes viral.
For example, I answered the question “What are the most promising Silicon Valley startups to watch for in 2017?” soon after I noticed my answer to “What is the one worst decision you took in your life that changed your life?” start to get huge traction.
This enabled me to plug my company, Autopilot, without it looking spammy:
Talk about a fantastic opportunity.
This strategy works even better if you have a low-barrier offer such as joining a Facebook Group or Slack community because it’s perceived as less promotional than a direct link to your website.
Keep in mind Quora’s readers have no-tolerance for self-promotion.
To not get on your reader’s bad side, make sure to backlink, at least, ⅔ of the way down your answer.
Don’t break this rule! Over the top promotion will get you banned from Quora.
To be safe, don’t use links that go straight to a landing page, a page with a pop-up that appears right away, or an above the fold opt-in.
Lastly, make sure you place your call to action on a relevant answer; otherwise, you’ll receive low-quality traffic which will mess with your metrics. Use a line (created by typing many hyphens in a row) to separate your call to action from your answer.
For example, here’s how I promote my Facebook Group for founders in a topic about venture capital, then use a line to separate the call to action. The offer is relevant to the topic making it a perfect fit.
A well-placed link like this one can drive several hundred relevant people to my Facebook Group in a single day:
Quora is a huge membership driver of my Facebook group. It’s one of the primary reasons I could grow the community from 0 - 7,500 people in less than six months.
If you’re trying to drive relevant traffic and leads, Moz can help rank your Quora posts for keywords related to your niche because they have a free trial for all their features.
To search engine optimize your posts, take advantage of Moz’s Keyword Explorer to understand what keywords to go after first.
Because I’m an evangelist for Autopilot, I use the keyword phrase “onboarding SaaS” to find corresponding queries. As a result, I have hundreds of related keywords I can choose from. To help segment these related keywords, I can choose only to display certain matches.
In this example, I chose to “only include keywords with all the query terms.”
From there, I save the resulting eighteen keywords as a list under the title, “SaaS Onboarding.” To access this list, click “Keyword Lists,” and it will appear.
When I click on the title “SaaS Onboarding,” I get redirected to a page with an in-depth analysis of each keyword by Rank, Volume, Difficulty, Opportunity, and Potential.
Difficulty uses a click-through rate curve model to exemplify when weaker pages rank higher. If the difficulty is low, then it’s easier to rank for that particular keyword.
Opportunity provides an estimate of how likely someone is to click on an organic web result. For example, if the Opportunity Score is a 37/100, then it means only 37% of the clicks will go to organic results. What happens to the other 63%? These clicks go to Google AdWords ads.
Potential combines all the metrics to help give you an understanding of what keywords you should optimize for first. I wouldn’t rely solely on Potential for ranking the keywords to take action on. This number is highly subjective based on the time it takes you to create the content to rank for these keywords among many other variables.
Using these metrics, you make a list of many keywords to take into consideration when writing Quora answers. From there, you’re almost ready to write (FINALLY).
Once you know the keywords you want to rank for, then search for pre-existing questions including the keywords you’re considering.
I know what you’re thinking:
How well do these questions rank?
When you Google “best onboarding software for saas,” the first two results are on Quora. If you had a SaaS company, this is prime Google real estate to capitalize on.
What if there are no questions that use the keywords you want to optimize for?
If there aren’t questions that use your keyword, then you can have a friend ask keyword-optimized questions. You want to make sure to include the keywords in the description of the question, too. Here’s what that looks like:.
This take balance.
If Quora thinks you have someone dedicated to asking you keyword-optimized questions, then they’ll ban you. To play safe, split your answers fifty-fifty among keyword-optimized questions and ones that aren’t.
I use Quora to get the attention of big industry players to partner with my company. I find questions they've answered on Quora, then answer them. Sometimes I'll tag them, too.
After getting the attention of these industry influencers, use it as an opportunity to take the conversation further whether over coffee or a phone call.
Using this tactic, I’ve gained a new fan of my writing. He's one of the top voices in B2B marketing. I've tagged him multiple times, answered many of the same questions, and suggested edits to his answers.
Here’s a snippet from his bio:
"Jason has co-founded two successful start-ups selling to the enterprise. Most recently, he served as CEO and co-founder of EchoSign, the web’s most popular electronic signature service, from inception through its acquisition by Adobe Systems Inc."
I also got the attention of Dennis Yu, the CTO of BlitzMetrics and writer for Adweek, by thanking him in an answer for excellent public speaking advice he gave me.
In return, many of these big players will tag you on Quora resulting in an influx of traffic to your bio which will generate more leads and followers.
Ok. This one seems a little far-fetched. But I promise you can actually achieve it.
If you write an excellent answer, the Quora staff may pick it up to publish it on major media outlets. You can increase your odds by writing better content faster in niches frequently syndicated to publications and carefully watched by Quora’s media team.
To know what topics to contribute in, find someone with the phrase, “Quora Media and Publishing Team,” in their bio. From there, you can select the topics they follow to get an idea of where they’re looking for answers and whose work they enjoy to read:
The fastest way to find these writers is to dive into the answers of questions to do with Quora Publishing.
The Quora Publishing team looks for well-designed content for publications. I suggest using lists and staying away from complex words. Furthermore, break your piece down into actionable steps by focusing on how-to content mixed with personal storytelling.
Here’s a snippet of my Quora answer re-published in Inc. They start the answer with a couple of links to my Quora bio which sends traffic to my lead magnet.
And if you haven’t figured it out yet, answer questions popular on Quora. The more people who follow an answer, the more likely it will get seen by the right pair of eyes.
A re-published Quora post like this one can result in hundreds of more leads depending on how well Inc.’s audience enjoys the content.
Quora is far more than a platform to write on; it’s a platform to build a huge community of people around your work while developing thought leadership.
And if you use the outlayed strategies in this guide to establish your presence on Quora, it may become one of your top traction channels giving your business a huge competitive edge.
To help get you started, we created a list of the 1000 most-trafficked Quora pages. You can take the spreadsheet, see what gets the most traffic then let the answers rain on those pages.