B2B marketing has hit a wall. Audiences are getting harder to reach, campaigns are fractured across channels and, for many brands, performance is flatlining. Whatever audiences want, they want it now.
We already know that the B2B journey is powered by content as prospects want to self-educate. Which is why so many B2B companies are turning to thought leadership to build brand awareness, enhance decision makers’ trust, open the conversation, and help close business, according to research by Edelman and LinkedIn. It kickstarts the momentum for brand awareness and credibility while strengthening lead generation efforts.
Thought leadership marketing is the art of positioning your company as a leader in its field. 56% of B2B marketing executives stated “positioning our company as a thought leader” as their top objective in a recent Economics Intelligence Unit study.
“Brand really matters,” remarks Alicia Tillman, SAP’s chief marketing officer. “It matters in people’s perceptions and it leads people to decide whether or not they’re going to buy your product and become a customer for life.” (Source AdExchanger).
Depending on your industry, demonstrating thought leadership can take different shapes. In general, B2B decision makers are looking for content about new trends, industry analysis, and key statistics they can use in their work. And they’re willing to spend time consuming content. According to Edelman’s study, “35% of respondents are spending about one to three hours per week reviewing thought leadership content.”
The point of thought leadership is to demonstrate expertise, not simply talk about it. Seth Godin shows up every day demonstrating thought leadership in the form of his blog. And if you want your brand to earn respect from your audience, provide value upfront. But what’s valuable? The short answer is offering your audience the content they want and need – when and where they’re looking for it.
Quora’s High-Intent Audience and Context
According to the 2019 study of B2B content marketing from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs, 9 in 10 of the “most successful” B2B content marketers prioritize their audience’s informational needs over the sales/promotional message. Since the questions on Quora are demand-driven, it’s an excellent platform for marketers looking to address the informational needs of their audience.
The truth is, thought leadership doesn’t have to be costly or difficult. One of the best places to establish thought leadership and earn credibility is on Quora. The platform provides the right context and a high-intent audience.
What makes Quora’s audience unique is how people use the platform. It’s the exchange of knowledge that is so conducive to people being receptive to new solutions and discovering new products including reliable information about your company, products, services, competitors, and industry. It’s within this context that thought leadership is welcomed and rewarded by the community.
Quora not only provides the perfect context for thought leadership, but also a highly engaged audience with the intent of looking answers. People don’t come to Quora to passively scroll. 300+ million people come to Quora every month to prep, research, evaluate, ask for tips, and learn more about the world around them and that includes the products and services you offer. Don’t miss out on this crucial point in the buyer’s journey by ensuring your brand is present.
Building Thought Leadership on Quora
Why do thought leaders come to Quora? They’re here because of the ability to reach a very large audience not just now, but years from now with evergreen content. It begins with your followers; which, when you first join, might be low, but has the potential to reach the right audience.
Aside from the potential massive reach, here at Quora, we’ve worked very hard over the years to really build a platform and a system that is optimal for readers, writers, and seekers of information. Here are a few ways you can leverage the platform for maximum results.
Fill Out Your Quora Profile
An easy way to gain credibility is by filling out your Quora credentials and bio. By adding your title, company, bio, and interests you’re signaling to people who are and why they should trust your answer. It also helps people find you when they are looking for experts and/or the best people to answer their questions on Quora.
In this example, Michelle Zatlyn added her title as well as a company description before she provided more of her background.
To get started, simply answer questions relevant to your industry and expertise. Look for missing information in available answers and provide additional informational value. Authenticity and credible answers will help grow your following which in turn will increase answer views.
What makes you an expert or thought leader and why should others care? If you’re an expert in HR Software, don’t just talk about how much you know. Write an in-depth article or provide an unique point of view tackling specific challenges in the world of HR Software. Not only will your audience be more interested in reading an article that could help them, but you’ll earn their trust and gain credibility.
Jason Lemkin, SaaStr & SaaStr Fund; ceo/co-founder at EchoSign, is a great example of someone who has really made the Quora system work for him. He’s been a writer on Quora since 2010, and has written over three thousand answers on Quora, earning 43k followers and over 43 million views.
Your answers demonstrate your expertise and give you credibility as a thought leader. They give you a voice in questions being asked about your organization or products. Being the best answer is key for driving success on Quora.
Here are a few guidelines for what makes good content on Quora:
- Demonstrate credibility and make sure you’re factually correct.
- Clear and easy to read (formatting, actionable items, images, etc).
- Anything unique or interesting that you can offer is great as well — personal stories of failures, mishaps, successes do really well and are very accessible and humanizing and will greatly increase your Quora following.
- Bonus: It’s a good idea to try to answer a question as quickly as possible after it has been posted. The question will be fresh in the mind of the person who posted it, and they’ll be more likely to upvote your answer or engage you further. Writing the first answer also means that you won’t risk repeating someone else.
Plus, answers continue to be useful on Quora, even years after they are written. If you write answers that don’t “expire,” they will continue to be read and useful! They get seen by people following the topics you write about, meaning people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. And they can lead to further exposure, since many Quora answers show up in Google searches, or sometimes get picked up by the media.
In addition to taking part in Quora’s advertising beta, Asana, a web and mobile application designed to help teams organize, track, and manage their work, built a presence on the site through the voice of their co-founder and head of product, Justin Rosenstein. His answer to a 2015 question on top productivity tips has been viewed more than 453,000 times and was featured in articles from Forbes, Inc., Time, and Quartz.
Also consider conducting a Session on Quora. It’s similar to an AMA (Ask Me Anything). Have you ever wanted to ask a question to a specific expert, artist, or group? Or thought that it would be fascinating if a certain someone answered a particular question? Sessions are when these individuals and groups answer these questions and you can be the host.
Take advantage of sessions as an easy way to show your expertise on relevant topics by answering community questions. The first part of a session is when hosts take questions. This period usually lasts for a few days during which people can ask questions or build demand for others. At the end of this period, the host comes online and answers questions they find the most interesting.
Lastly, many businesses are already acquiring customers organically through their answers on Quora, and with Promoted Answers they can reach a wider audience. The format provides a flexible canvas to share detailed information about your product or service that goes beyond the characters allowed in normal ad copy and helps to facilitate engagement through upvotes, comments, and follows. If Quora users are already discussing your business, Promoted Answers are a great way to join the conversation surrounding your brand.
Brian de Haaff, CEO of Aha!, has over 5 millions views across 330+ answers with the help of Promoted Answers.
How do you figure out where to spend your time on Quora? Quora offers a free analytics tool that allows you to track your questions, answers and blog posts by clicks, views, shares and upvotes. Use this information to determine what works best on the platform so you can focus on sharing content that engages the community.
If you’re looking to increase awareness of your Quora content consider these two ideas:
- Amplify distribution with social media: Share your Quora answers with your existing social media audience. You can do this easily by clicking the Facebook or Twitter icons below the answer.
- Direct your customers to your answers: Share links to your Quora answers with visitors to your website, or email subscribers. It’s a great way to help them learn more about a question or topic without having to fit all of the information in a small text field.
As marketers we have an obligation to earn our audience’s attention. Channels never mattered to the consumer. People move back-and-forth through stages, across multiple channels using different devices. These stages are made of ‘micro-moments’ or brief instances in customers’ decision-making process where a brand can step in with a piece of interesting content or helpful information.
And Quora provides a great opportunity for B2B marketers to step in with helpful information and content in the form answers to demand-driven questions. Brands that focus on delivering high quality, engaging and inspiring content can positively influence the buyer’s journey on Quora.
Writing on Quora can be a fun, interesting hobby or personally rewarding, but also is something that every business and leader should be investing time in. Marketers that focus on delivering high quality, engaging, and inspiring content can positively influence the buyers journey to purchase.
About JD Prater
JD Prater is the Quora Evangelist and a regular speaker at conferences across the globe such as INBOUND, SaaStr, BrightonSEO, and SMX. JD is also the podcast host of Grow with Quora and The PPC Show. He’s an award-winning marketer with a passion for organizing data into actionable stories. JD is an avid cyclist, proud new father, and weekend traveler in his spare time.