One of the core content marketing challenges that small business owners face involves building an audience. Even if you write high quality content, schedule tweets on a daily basis, and devote a small budget to paid channel advertising, your efforts may still fall flat. No matter your business’s size, the task of building an audience is incredibly difficult. Once you overcome the initial hurdles, you’ll be on your way to building a strong community of brand advocates and loyal customers. What you need are robust tools to translate that vision into a reality.
A Tour of Quora
If you’re not yet familiar with question & answer platform Quora, your company might be missing out. This online community attracts business owners, students, investors, and subject matter experts to engage in dialogue with one another.
As an example of how Quora works, check out the following thread: “Where is the best nightlife in Houston, TX?” In a non-salesy way, the Quora community is able to give meaningful exposure to small businesses in a specific local area. There are even threads devoted to specific cities that provide opportunities for business owners to respond to user questions, research community needs, and share links back to their company websites.
Just last week, Quora announced a new feature to its core product — community blogs.
“The Internet is full of experts with no one reading their insights,” wrote Josh Constine of TechCrunch. “It takes a lot of work to build a following. So Quora launches a blogging platform that automatically distributes posts to its Q&A site users who follow related topics. Thanks to its upvote system, homepage feeds, and a new mobile text editor, anyone with something brilliant to blog, even first-timers can find a readership.”
Why It Matters for Business Owners
Quora is, in a nutshell, an audience marketplace. Business owners have an easy way to prospect demand for certain topics, which can help with idea generation and content creation. Business owners can then respond to those exact consumer needs.
“Learn what your prospective customers want,” said Gaia Dempsey for American Express OPEN Forum. “Write an answer to relevant questions, and link back to your company blog. Thanks to Quora, you’ll already have a built-in audience. Quora should become part of a larger blogging or content strategy for generating thought leadership.”
On Quora, business owners, thought leaders, and subject matter experts have an opportunity to connect with real people.
“Quora tells me active writers get over 30,000 monthly views and 350,000 annual views,” wrote Constine. “Its most hardcore contributors can get over 1 million views a year, and most great answers go viral and gets tens of thousands of reads.”
Tip: Follow the Etiquette
Ready to jump in? Just make sure to fully embrace the unspoken community rules — the most important being that you absolutely cannot be salesy in your approach.
“If you’re only there to up-sell your business, it won’t be well received,” Dempsey said. “Contribute to the conversation, and add substantial value. Don’t make your entire profile and activities about your business. Quora is all about well-rounded individuality. That’s what makes a good impression, not content that looks like a giant ad.”