Outbrain’s introduction of the discovery and native advertising feed has changed modern media as we know it. Users have the ability to learn about new topics and explore interesting content without having to do the searching themselves.
An end-user just finished reading an article? Now, Outbrain recommends another one they might be interested in and that could lead to a conversion.
However, deciding on content to promote can be tricky for a business. It raises a lot of questions, like:
- Do we need to make a whole new landing page?
- Who’s going to create the new content and creatives?
- Is the customer going to find this content valuable and engaging?
- Do we have a clear CTA that’ll lead a user into the right marketing funnel?
Let me introduce you to Quora – I’m sure you know what it is – but maybe you’ve never considered it as an asset for your discovery and native advertising feed strategy.
Allow me to explain.
What is Quora and Question Marketing, and why is it effective?
Quora is a question and answer platform, where in 2018, 300 million unique visitors landed on the site every month. The numbers are continuing to grow year by year.
Quora is a content juggernaut with over 400,000 different topics. Via these topics, users looking for answers to their pain point questions can discover valuable content, and alternatively, marketers and businesses can answer these questions to build connections with customers.
Here is a Quora topic surrounding “Content Marketing”. It has over 337,000 followers!
Broadly, Quora and question marketing focus on delivering valuable content directly to customer pain point questions about a business’ operations from the top to bottom of the sales funnel.
Most importantly, when a business answers these questions, it instills a sense of trust and loyalty in the eyes of the customer. It provides the consumer with the proper information to move forward in their buyer decision process.
Quora and question marketing is truly helpful marketing.
What does this mean?
Think about the important early steps of your consumer buying process: you identify a problem or need, search for different solutions, and once you narrow your options, you decide on a product or service by asking questions.
Source: Professional Academy
Nobody executes a purchase decision until they’re certain all their questions have been answered. Moreover, a conversion will not be carried out until the customer senses a feeling of trust between themselves and the business they are purchasing from.
Quora and question marketing allows businesses to scale this process by answering not only customer pain point questions that directly relate to their operations, but even questions about their industry, trends, and innovations.
Answering customer pain point questions is about building relationships and breaking down information asymmetry with customers.
Source: Sprout Social
Consumers need to know they can trust a brand, and recognize that companies are looking out for their customer’s best interests.
Quora and question marketing is a way for brands to convey this loyalty to a wide audience with diverse backgrounds.
If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with youZig Ziglar
How to begin your Quora marketing presence
Create an optimized profile
Think about the average user’s journey on Quora: They’ve found a relevant pain point question that correctly encapsulates their skepticism about buying a company’s product.
After looking through the various answers, they find one that comes from an employee of the company.
They are impressed with the answer’s sincerity and honesty. But before these feelings can be completely internalized, they understandably want to look at the employee’s Quora profile.
This is a vital point in the user’s journey, with one of two probable outcomes:
One option is the user opens the employee’s profile and immediately feels gratified after viewing a beautifully optimized profile as the one below.
Here’s why this is a great profile:
- There’s a friendly and professional profile picture.
- The meta-line describes his position.
- His summary is warm and provides information about his work, interests, and expertise.
- The “Credentials & Highlights” section displays the proper social proof that illuminates why his knowledge in this field is credible.
Simply put, because of the way this profile is optimally presented, the user will more likely trust the answer and take action regarding what he was promoting.
However, this outcome could be very different if the employee profile
- Had no profile picture.
- Contained an ambiguous summary that conveyed a sense of skepticism.
- Had a “Highlights & Credentials” section that did not match the content they were providing an answer about.
This is unfortunately the case for many Quora profiles, and results in the content being worthless in the eyes of consumers.
Find an effective question opportunity
Finding a fantastic question to answer on Quora can be daunting: with millions of questions to pick from, it’s difficult to decipher which question will provide you the largest opportunity to reach people.
To get started, here are two critical factors you should look for when answering questions:
- Relevant keywords. These keywords can be your company name, competitors, or something related to your product or service. Make sure the keyword(s) appear in the question itself.
- Followers over answers. Once a relevant question is found, you should search for “how many followers” and the number of “answers” the question contains. The reason followers are significant is because every time you answer a question, all the people who follow it will get a notification. While the number of answers is an indicator of relevancy, questions with a ton of answers usually equate to competitiveness, and less likelihood your answer will rank highly.
Additionally, our Quora Marketing Google Chrome extension, Q-Stats, is a great way to determine whether it’s worth answering a specific question on Quora.
Here are a few key features you should know about:
- Average SEO Traffic. Q-Stats tells you how much traffic questions on Quora are getting from Google, where they’re currently positioned on Google, and how difficult it’ll be to rank for them.
- Question Opportunity Ranking (QOR) Score. Our in-house smart AI ranks every question from 1 to 5 stars based on a user’s potential in answering a question (in terms of views amount, shares, traffic from Google, etc.).
- Save questions stats. Find a question you want to save? Simply click the “Save question stats” button and all your favorite questions will be stored in one place.
Create an anonymous question
If you are having trouble finding a question that fits the specific topic you want to target, you can always create an anonymous question of your own.
It may sound unconventional but it can have outstanding outcomes. Think about it: you can tailor the question exactly how you want it. Additionally, since you are bringing tremendous value to this specific question, there’s a great chance you’ll rank as a top answer for the question.
Once the question begins to gain views, you’ll be receiving a lot of exposure,because your answer appears first.
Writing an amazing Quora answer
Much of writing an optimized answer on Quora is about the value you bring to that topic. Quora users can easily detect whether an answer is written by an expert or an individual delivering an educated guess.
However, there are multiple aspects of writing an answer that go beyond just in-depth content. Failure to follow these actions results in a collapsed answer on Quora – meaning your question is removed from public visibility.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind on your Quora writing journey:
1. Add quote blocks
When you reference an external source, it’s critical that you follow specific steps in formatting it on Quora.
Here’s a 30 second video that describes the quote block process.
2. Include an image source
Adding visual content of any sort greatly increases the attractiveness of your answer because it displays a heightened level of credibility to your reader. These can be anything from infographics, to product visuals, or customer testimonials.
If you decide to take an image from a third-party source, it’s imperative that you add a source. First of all, it’s illegal if you don’t, and secondly, Quora will immediately collapse your answer.
Below is an example of how to properly cite your image source.
3. Thoroughly describe any links
According to Quora’s policy, writers must state where the link is directed so users have complete information.
Here’s an answer that got deleted because of a link not being properly described.
Why did this answer get deleted? Because the writer included the link for the sole purpose of promotion, plus, there isn’t any mention of where the link will lead you.
Here’s a better description:
Use Ticket-Compare. What they do is scan ticket vendor websites to then show you the cheapest tickets they find. After that, you just choose a vendor, seats, and pay. If you want to check them out, here’s a link to their Premier League tickets page.
4. Don’t add unnecessary “fluff” to your answer
When writers answer a Quora question, they are tempted to include every piece of information. A good practice is to put yourself in the shoes of an end-user and to read the content from their perspective. Include the content that you imagine is useful, and cut down some parts that seem unnecessary.
Here’s an answer where I show how the writer could more effectively cut down his response.
Distributing your Quora Content: Quora Ads
Quora ads are an extremely effective channel to promote your content, and most businesses don’t even know about it.
There are three types of Quora ads:
- Text ad
- Image ad
- Promoted Answer
Text ad & Image ad
A text and image ad are basically the same thing.
As you can see in the ad above, an image ad contains a header, meta description, creative, and call-to-action button. For a text ad, you’d have the same options minus the creative.
Promoted Answers are extremely unique to Quora. It’s a fantastic promotional option because unlike the image or text ad, you are simply promoting a highly valuable question with your answer. Even if your answer is not the first result of a question organically, with promoted answers, only your answer will be shown.
Take a look at a promoted answer below that appeared on my feed.
Promoted answers look completely natural on your feed. The only promotional indicator are the words “Promoted by”, circled in red in the above image. From the perspective of a Quora user, there is no feeling of having been “targeted” by a promoted answer, so doesn’t imbue a sense of deliberate click-bait.
Try it yourself: Incorporating Quora content into your Native Advertising Feed
Let’s finally bring everything we learned about Quora marketing and Outrabin together. Through Outbrain, you can promote any type of content: So why not save some time by linking a valuable Quora question and answer to your Outbrain native advertising feed?
Here is an example native advertising feed developed by Oubrain on BBC News.
Let’s say Grammarly decides to invest in a native advertising feed on Outbrain. Here is a customer pain point answer that they could strategically promote from Quora.
The question is, “Is it worth choosing [a] premium subscription of Grammarly?”.
Why would it be smart for Grammarly to promote this question?
Because for the most part, all the people in this feed are discussing the value of investing in Grammarly Premium. Potential customers who are uncertain whether to upgrade can conquer their concerns by reading about other consumers who were once in the same position.
Additionally, if you look at our Quora marketing SaaS product, Q-Stats, you can see that this question has almost 20,000 total views, and still receives an average of 483 monthly views.
From Grammarly’s perspective, these statistics demonstrate an active market surrounding this question, which means opportunities for acquisition. By promoting the question as a native ad on Outbrain, they can present the discussion to targeted audiences browsing online, and give them answers to any lingering questions or concerns about buying a premium membership.
When a brand shows customers they are dedicated to answering their questions and meeting their needs, it gives a huge boost to brand reputation. Not to mention, it’s a generous and kind way of doing business.
Good luck on your journey.