But it happens to the best of us, doesn’t it? More likely than not, you’ve suffered this abomination first-hand yourself; struggling to come up with fresh, interesting content ideas for your next blog, social media post, article, email and the like.
While there are several ways to overcome the struggle, I’d like to share with you the one odd, little-known method that helped me beat my block – using Quora. The question-and-answer website houses a wealth of information that you can leverage to source content ideas. There is industry-related news and statistics, customer questions, expert opinions, current trends, competitor information, and just about everything you would need to never run out of content ideas ever again.
What makes Quora so rad?
I recently read a question on Quora that had more than 20 million views! Industry-specific questions such as this and this, each with over 15 million views, also enjoy high visibility. Now you’ll agree that for a website that is outside of the Big Five of social media – I’m talking about Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, and YouTube – these numbers are staggering.
But it’s not just the traffic that makes Quora terrific. It’s how engaged that traffic really is. Quorans actively post questions, seek out the opinion of experts of their choice (via the Ask to answer or “A2A” feature), manage quality of posts via Upvotes or Downvotes, add topics (about four new topics are added on Quora per minute!) and so on.
Quora is also the place where you’ll find the ‘rockstars’ of different industries and niches answering questions directly and in greater depth than on micro-blogging and other sites. From Jimmy Wales, Sheryl Sandberg, Gloria Steinem, and Alexis Ohanian, to Glenn Beck, Hillary Clinton, and Stephen Fry – the movers and shakers of the world have moved and shook conjectures as well as opinions on the platform, making it an exceptional content powerhouse.
Understandably therefore, when it comes to Quora, the question is not so much ‘why’ as it is ‘how’. How do you get the best of Quora?
Six ways to discover irresistible content on Quora
Start by signing up for the platform. Search engines index the questions and answers on Quora, driving traffic to a particular post. On Bing, results from Quora appear on the social side-column and on Google, in the main results. Both ways, the results are conspicuously placed and attract search traffic easily.
By signing up for Quora, you will be able to ask questions, post answers, publish comments and enjoy the complete package of its benefits, such as an SEO boost by having prospects follow a well-placed external link (in any of your responses) and land on your website or blog, and so on. So sign up!
And once you’ve done that, it’s time to come out and play.
1. Find and follow the most relevant topics
Quora makes you choose ten topics of interest. Choose, and choose smart. After this, you’ll be asked to select topics you’re knowledgeable about, so that Quora bots can direct relevant questions your way for you to answer. Here, a good idea is to choose a mix of broad, industry-related topics that have the largest number of followers and smaller, niche-specific topics that are relevant to you. You want the former for visibility and the latter for strict business.
2. Lurk before you leap
Dedicate a day or two to read and observe things on Quora before you begin asking questions or answering them. Reading the top answers of relevant posts will give you a sense of what works and what does not work on the platform. The more you browse, the more you’ll be able to identify patterns in top posts.
Do the top answers share certain common features? Are they formatted more or less the same way? What is the general tone of writing in all top posts?
A day or two of browsing will help you notice nuances and connect dots.
For instance, yes, top answers do share certain common features – they present a solid point in a fresh and upbeat tone, include at least one relevant image, and have a useful list or pointers of some sort to ease content consumption. Humor works well in most of the cases, especially when it is dished out as a display of personal wit and smarts. The top answers also appear well formatted, with the use of one or more of Quora’s three basic formatting options – bold, italics, and block quotations or running quotes.
So to make the most of this seemingly passive phase of lurking, you should note down all these patterns and observations when you come across them. Use them as guidelines later. Lurking is also the time to note down any ‘readymade’ blog topics. Came across a question that you haven’t touched in any of your blogs yet? Write the question down so that you can take it up in your blog post later. Read an interesting answer, which feels too good not to share? Note it down so that you can expand it into a full-length blog post later.
3. Come up with the right questions
The ‘right’ questions are those that address the pain points of your target audience, thereby allowing you to create quality blog posts for them. But how do you read more about customer problems when you don’t know what those problems are?
I use a set of search phrases – what I refer to as ‘Pain Keywords’ – to find relevant posts. “How can I”, “How can you”, “How do you”, “Figure out”, “Struggle with”, “Help”, “Suggest”, and “Hate” are my most frequently-used Pain Keywords. I use them not only on Quora but also outside of it, on other social media platforms and with good results.
Search results returned by these keywords will help you – a) boost your understanding of the practical needs and wants of your target market segment, b) make a difference in the life of distressed consumers (by sharing your knowledge or method of resolution on the Quora thread in question), and c) make life easier for other consumers who may or may not have encountered similar problems (by creating a blog post discussing both, the problem and the solution, at length). It’s a win-win for both – you and your customers!
Another way of asking the ‘right’ questions is asking the audience directly (instead of searching for it via keywords). So use Quora to ask questions about your competitors and to evaluate your competition. Ask anonymously if you’re not comfortable talking about competition just yet. You could outright ask for some blog ideas as well, like this. Crowd-sourcing of this kind works especially well on Quora because it allows you to show your audience you’ve taken their suggestions seriously.
All you need to do is share a snippet of a user-suggested blog post as a comment on the original Quora question thread and invite the reader over to your blog to check out the detailed post.
4. Ask the right questions, the right way
You want to make sure that the direct questions you post on Quora are all unique and have been categorized correctly. Repeated questions stand the risk of being ignored by community members as well as of being either redirected to an already answered question or removed from the thread completely. Proper categorization on the other hand improves targeting efficiency, ensuring the right audience find and engage with your question.
Boost engagement on your questions with the help of the Suggested List provided by Quora after your question has been posted. Use the list to invite one or more experts to provide answers. You can also look up industry experts whom you know by name using the search function.
Another good idea is to do a quick review of the active users in the categories under which you’ve listed your question. Clicking on each category link will take you to a dedicated page where you can view a list of the ‘Most Viewed Writers’. Invite one or more of these writers to provide their insights on the topic you’ve raised in your question.
5. Repurpose your Q&As to create irresistible content
- Besides creating long-form blog posts using the ideas sourced through Quora, you can also repurpose your Q&As to create different forms of content.
- Use snippets from questions or answers to create short but intriguing Facebook and Twitter posts.
- Take a small excerpt and share it on LinkedIn using the ‘Publish a Post’ feature. Or, take it up a notch and share a small quote from your post on LinkedIn using the “Share an Update” feature.
- You can also republish your posts on sites such as Medium and Reddit for additional traction.
- Turn a detailed answer that you shared on someone’s question thread or the top (say) five answers that others shared on your question thread into an infographic.
- Similarly, create a shareable slide deck based on your answers or the answers to your questions.
- Compile a set of related Q&As and turn it into an eBook. Or turn it into a downloadable guide or an expert-advice newsletter.
- Create a podcast or a video of you discussing important Q&As from your posts.
The possibilities are limitless!
6. Repurpose other Q&As to create irresistible content as well
Quora is such a goldmine of great content that it fills even the most absent-minded lurker with fantastic content ideas. I have in fact, made some of my most terrific blog-post-topic finds while taking a break from work and browsing through my Quora feed. I’ve already discussed the method of saving ‘readymade’ blog-post topics for later. I’d like to sum this post up by sharing a nifty tactic I use to search for not irresistible but outright explosive blog topics. I call it, ‘The Opposite’.
Here’s how you do it:
- Choose a topic of your liking and checkout the top contributors for the same.
- Pick a contributor that appears to be the most popular among the bunch and review the questions they have answered.
- Select the most popular of these questions and read through the top few answers on the thread.
- Look for an answer you disagree with.
It’s done. You have found your new blog topic!
Detail the specifics of the parent question in your blog post, noting down the answer you disagree with. Explain why you don’t agree and what, according to you, should be a better alternative.
An added advantage with these types of posts – apart from the fact that they don’t require heavy brainstorming and are inherently interesting because of diametrically opposite opinions – is that they work to up your Quora credentials as well. Share it as your answer to the parent question posted on the Quora thread and you’ve killed two birds with one stone!
So that’s about it from my end. Got any tips or tricks that I’m missing but should have knowledge of? Tell me; Quora is my favorite these days and I would love to know!
Author bio: Shilpi Sagar writes about social media and content marketing. She is a jack of all trades and master of some. When not thinking or writing about marketing, she’s probably obsessing about being a good parent to her dog.
Feature image via Pexels.com