Hacking Quora

by Scott - 3 Comments

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If you think of Quora as just a Q and A site, odds are you aren’t getting as much out of it as you could be. In addition to a playground to satiate my curiosity, I use Quora as a channel to create value in my life. Below are some of the less obvious way that you can leverage Quora to your advantage.

Content Syndication:

Quora is a great place to re-syndicate content you’ve already created. Every time I write a post, I check to see if I’m unknowingly answering a question on Quora. If I am and can provide some unique insight, I will insert content I’ve already created while linking back to the full post for additional context. Here is an example of how I used a post I already created when answering the following question: How do you approach a company you want to create a partnership with, if you have no contact person at the company? View it in full here

By leveraging digital asset that I had already created, I’m funneling new people to my blog which yields the capital an audience provides. The heavy lifting had already been done. Quora just allows me to squeeze more juice out of the fruits of my labor.

Penetrate New Audiences

But what if you’re not answering a Quora question says the pessimistic guy in the back…

Quora’s latest functionality allows you to push questions out to silos of people following certain topics…wheels turning…this setup empowers users to create opportunities for content syndication. Here’s how:

Ask a question anonymously and push the question out to relevant interest groups. Wait a few days, than answer your own question!

Yes, no one likes people that throw their own surprise parties. But the bottom line is you can create opportunities to penetrate new audiences. If the content you contribute adds value, audiences will be grateful you brought it to the limelight.

You can imagine that there are many things that you’d like to subtly expose without looking desperate for attention. Maybe you’re company is hiring, maybe you own the best biergarten in Union Sq? In each case the formula of anonymously asking then answering the question yourself is a useful marketing hack.

Just a quick sidenote – Quora did not always allow you to push questions to topical followers that were not in your network. Thus, answers to anonymous questions were few and football fields between. When I found myself wanting to ask a question anonymously, I’d combat the empty restaurant problem in the following manner:

Ask a question anonymously, answer it myself as well as I could, then tweet out my answer. This was a great way to draw attention to the question I had while avoiding the transparency that I wanted others opinions on it. Sketchy…maybe. Effective…definitely.

Grievances and Requests to Compel Action

Ever notice that getting to customer service on twitter often addresses your issue faster than calling or emailing? It’s because you’re stating your grievance or request amongst the public. Putting a company on the spot compels them to take action or respond at an expedited rate.

The same phenomenon exists on Quora and guess what…you can do it anonymously! I’d argue that Quora might even be more powerful because the greivance or request exists staticly; its like a giant whitehead on the corporate complexion until its addressed.

When you can you use this? Maybe you’re dying for a new feature, maybe you’re wondering why Chipotle charges ⅓ of a full burrito to add  guacamole, or are just unsatisfied with how your gym treats its members. In each case, stating your thoughts in the web’s town hall can push people to shuffle their feet.

And don’t let the ol “they’re probably not on Quora” prevent you utilizing this tactic. They are most definitely using a google alert which will push your Quora content their way.

Monitor Competitors

Its pretty obvious that you can monitor competitors by subscribing to questions that directly address the space you’re in. A far less obvious tactic is to analyze the implicit signals available through their activity. If you’re not familiar with the term implicit signals, it refers to instances when actions/data imply meaning, yet don’t state it outright.

Did they just follow an ancillary space they could be shifting into? If they’re answering questions here that could mean they’re pondering doing so. Did they just follow a chanel parnter of yours? If they did on top of recently connecting with them on LinkedIn they’re probably talking…read between the lines. You get the picture.

Guerilla Interview Prep

Quora is an incredible information gathering tool for startup job interviews that definitely goes underutilized. Before an interview you should always try to anticipate questions you’ll be asked and have solid responses prepared. If you’re uncertain about a question make a b-line to Quora. You have a pool of engaged experts to act as a sounding board for any question you may be battling with.

On a more personal level, you can do additional reconnaissance on the people you’ll be interviewing with. What topics do they follow? How do they answer things? What questions have they upvoted? The more data collection you engage in, the more prepared you’ll be for the interview.

If nothing else, Quora demonstrates how powerful open access to a highly engaged audience is. It has democratized the attention of the masses and by doing so created many opportunities to create value beyond simply having your questions answered. Content drives purchasing decisions and that will never change.

Are there any other unique or original ways that people use Quora? I’d love to hear them

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3 comments, add to the conversation.

  1. Alex Ragus

    I actually came to your blog because I noticed you using Quora this way, and found it obnoxious.  Emotionally, I have the same response to your hacking Quora this way as you do to cyborgs. 

    On the other hand, I like your writing, and I’ve come to some similar conclusions.


    1. ScottBritton

      Fair. I only try to contribute on Quora when I have something unique to contribute to a specific post, but I respect your opinion.

      Thanks for the kind words re: writing.


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