Quora – More than Just Questions and Answers

Quora is, to put it simply, a great source of information. “The best answer to any question” would lead you to believe it’s just a question/answer site. However, Quora users can setup blogs as well, providing more meaningful content for readers on the website.

Think of question/answer sites in the past. You’re probably thinking of Yahoo! Answers, Ask or Answers.com. Quora is different. For one, you will find much more meaningful content on the website. It’s also a lot more focused towards learning rather than just simple answers to basic questions (although you will find those here too).

Quora: Main

How to Get Started with Quora

Create a Profile

Getting started is quite simple. Setup an account (you can sign up through Google, Facebook or Twitter as well), log into your profile, and get started.

Quora: Create Profile

If you’re using Quora to establish yourself as an expert in a topic – one of the big reasons why so many online marketers or social media professional use Quora – you need to fill your profile in properly. Include basic information like education, employment, experience and location. Add a professional photo of yourself. Your bio can also include links to your Twitter, website, or landing page you want to drive traffic to.

Quora: Profile

Choose Interests

Once you’re done setting up your profile, choosing topics you’re interested in, and basically letting Quora know what kind of content to push your way, you can go over to the Home Page to see content relevant to your interests. As someone interested in helping other freelancers, especially writers, I was happy to see a lot of questions I could add my two cents to, as well as stories and blog posts I was interested in learning from. Content created by people you follow will also show up here.

Quora: Read

Quora Features

Ask Questions

Most people use Quora to ask questions. While you can click on “Add Question” in the top right corner of the page at any time to ask a question, it’s more advisable to make sure someone hasn’t already asked the same question.

To do this, just write out your question in the search bar and see what shows up. If someone has already asked the question, it’s better to head over to the answers provided instead of asking the same question again.

Quora: Search

Assuming no one has asked the question, or something similar, click “Add Question” to get started. Quora requires that questions be detailed and well thought out, so that experts who want to answer them have a clear understanding of what information you are looking for. During this process, Quora will show you similar questions, but you can skip that and add your question to the relevant interests tag to post it.

Quora: Ask

Ask to Answer

Sometimes no one has answered a question, mostly because the relevant people haven’t seen it yet. You can ask experts to answer a question directly using the Ask to Answer feature (also known as A2A). This is only an option for questions that have no answers yet.

Quora: A2A

When you select Ask to Answer, you will get a list of experts that have answered questions in the same category/interest, as well as the “credits” it will cost to ask them. Since you can see who is online, and has a high response rate, this is a quick way of getting an answer to a quick question.

Quora: A2A Options

Answer Questions

To get started answering questions, go to “Open Questions”. This will bring up a list of questions that still need answers and are relevant to your interests.

One of the things to know is that while shorter answers are ok, they aren’t necessarily going to help you build your authority as an expert. Instead, answer questions with meaningful content, and try and make sure the reader (or person who originally asked the question) has all the information they could need to make a decision or get informed.

Quora: Answer

Questions that completely answer the question are more likely to get shared, and get you more followers on Quora. You can include links, images, and it’s always better to break large blocks of text with headers and line breaks for easier readability.

Create a Blog

For those interested in building up a readership on Quora, creating a blog is a great idea. Plug in a name, URL (hosted on Quora) and description to get started. Blog posts show up on the homepage of people interested in your content, so this could be a great way to gain followers.

Quora: Blogs

View Stats

Quora has a nifty little stats dashboard that lets you see all content you’ve created and how well it’s doing. I have had a Quora profile for a while, but never got around to doing anything with it unless I sat down to review it. I answered a handful of questions related to writing and freelancing, and within 5 days had about 1000+ views.

Quora: Stats

Why is this information so valuable? Well, it’s broken down by post. I can see what kind of answers did better than others and if I’m interested in building an audience I could target those kinds of questions in the future.

Send Messages

In the drop-down menu under your avatar is the “messages” section. This is your Quora “inbox” where you can send and receive messages. You don’t have to be following someone, or be followed by someone, to be able to send them a message, which is quite interesting as it might open up the potential to spam people.

Quora: Messages

Quora Credits

Since Quora allows you to follow anyone you want, and the Ask to Answer question directly sends questions to the person’s notification screen, they had to stop people from spamming each other. Enter Quora Credits.

The main thing to know is, you can’t buy credits. Your credits balance is refreshed regularly. You can earn credits: when people follow questions you asked, when your answer is upvoted and when an answer you requested via A2A is upvoted.

You use credits for the Ask to Answer feature. Everyone can set a “price” for asking them an A2A question. This is a great way to increase or decrease the number of questions you receive.

Reading List

Another handy feature is the Quora Reading List. When you’re browsing through your feed, you might come across a large number of blog posts or answers you want to read, but might not have the time for.

Quora: Add to Reading List

One click can add these to your reading list which can be accesses when you have time to read through everything.

Quora: Reading List

Other Ways to Utilize Quora

Quora can be more than just a question and answer site. It can also serve as a great way to track what people are interested in learning about, and learn how people perceive your brand.

Get Ideas

Want to write a blog post but don’t know where to get started? Go to Quora, plug in the niche you’re writing for, and see what people are asking. It’s an easy and free way of understanding the questions people have around that topic.

Track What People Are Saying about You

If you’re a brand, company, or even a well-known writer/marketer, you might want to start tracking what people have to say about you on Quora. Answers questions, engage with your audience, and make sure your brand is well-represented.

In Conclusion

Quora is a great way to connect with like-minded individuals, answer questions in your niche, establish yourself as authority and carry out free research. The fact that it’s free to use, connects with other social media site easily, and allows you to import content from your own blog makes it a potentially powerful marketing tool.

Nida Rasheed is a freelance writer and business owner with a serious caffeine addiction. She loves her dogs, wants to travel the world, and dislikes referring to herself in the third person. Follow her on Twitter: @nidarasheed
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