The Dos and Don’ts of Answering Questions on Quora
So, you’ve chosen just the right question to answer. Now what? How do you write that answer that makes people want to click and upvote?
Writing answers on Quora can be, to paraphrase Forrest Gump, like a box of chocolates. “You never know what you’re going to get.” You can write a great answer and still not get the results you want. There’s a whole host of factors—including the age of the question, number of existing answers, number of followers, and so on—that go into determining whether or not your answer will rise to the top or be destined to sit at zero upvotes until the end of days.
So, to a certain extent, there’s no guarantee that you’re going to hit a home-run on every answer you post to Quora. That’s not to say, however, that there’s nothing you can do to boost your chances of success. Besides quality, error-free writing you can also follow these dos and don’ts to make your content stand out in the crowd.
1. Make Your Answer More Readable with Interesting Formatting
Add bullet points, numbered lists, boldface, italics, “quotes,” links—anything to break up long blocks of text and keep your readers engaged.
Keep in mind that your content may be viewed on desktop or through the mobile app, so keep your paragraphs short for those reading on smaller screens.
2. Use Images that Demand Attention
Every single answer you post should have an image to accompany it. Adding visuals could be the difference between an answer getting 100 views and getting 1,000 views.
Make sure your visuals are relevant and interesting. The answer preview, which appears in the answer feed, displays the first image that appears in the body of an answer. If there is none, no picture appears on this preview. Generally, people are more likely to stop scrolling when they see an image simply because it catches their attention more easily than text alone. Pictures of celebrities or personal photos from your life tend to perform especially well.
Also, if you’re design-savvy, considering putting together an infographic to illustrate your answer.
3. Adapt a Friendly and Engaging Tone of Voice
Find a personal writing voice that is fun and engaging. Too many people only know how to write in a dry, academic tone, but remember that this isn’t high school! Your grammar teacher isn’t going to mark you down for using a more conversational tone.
Sure, you want your writing to be clear, but you also want to let your real voice shine though. Don’t be afraid to be a little casual.
4. Work on Timing
The best days to post on Quora are in the middle of the workweek: Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays.
You know that afternoon slump when workers start to get less productive and start spending more time surfing the internet? While they’re slacking off, that’s when you should be working! Post answers during the middle of the day or late at night for maximum exposure.
Now you may feel like you have a better idea of what you need to make your answers the best they can be. But what about what NOT to do?
We’ve got you covered on that as well.
It’s not uncommon to scroll through your Quora home feed to see a user spamming the same 2-sentence answer to every question even remotely related to their business.
This is not a good way to win friends and influence people.
In fact, it’s annoying. Seeing the same answer pop up again and again on your feed is more than enough reason to click “Unfollow.”
If that’s not bad enough, it could even get you banned from the platform for breaking Quora’s policies regarding reposts.
2. Neglect to Add Value
“Check out my blog where I talk about this topic in-depth!”
Dropping a link with no context and no actual answer is another great way to get yourself banned. Not only that but it also provides no real reason why anyone would want to see any more of your content. No one is going to “check out your blog” if you don’t first demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about.
Obviously, there’s nothing wrong with providing a link to your blog for more context. (That’s why we’re here right? We want to direct traffic to our site.) However, you have to make people want to click, and you do that be providing interesting and informative content.
And that brings us to our next point…
3. Ignore Your Commenters
When you write an answer on Quora, it’s kind of like hosting to a party. Just like it would be inappropriate for a host to put out a bag of chips then ignore their guests all night, it’s not appropriate to write an answer then fail to response to follow-up questions and comments.
Even if it’s just to say, “Thank you for reading, and taking the time to respond,” you should respond to everyone who leaves a comment on your answer. That way, you’ll continue to stick in the mind of your readers and give them another opportunity to check on your name and check out your profile. (Also, it’s just good manners.)
4. Forget to Add a Call to Action
Okay, so you’ve spent a good chunk of time writing a detailed answer to a question, and you’re confident that it’s interesting and valuable to anyone who reads it. That’s it, right?
Chances are, Quora users aren’t going to take that extra step to visit your profile after they read your answer, so it’s important to add some sort of call to action (CTA) within the body of your answer, usually at the end. You can use this as an opportunity to briefly plug your business or direct people to your website for more information. The CTA is your best tool for generating leads and landing more conversions, so don’t forget to make it punchy!
5. Write an Ineffective Bio or Leave Your Profile Incomplete
Your bio and credentials are essential. You can customize which one of your credentials that you want to appear after your name when you answer a question, so filling out your profile with relevant experiences, education, employment, and areas of expertise is helpful for establishing your authority.
As for your biography, short and sweet is the way to go. Your bio can be about 500-600 characters before it’s collapsed, so try to stick under that limit since people tend to zone out if they see that a bio is too long to fit on the page.
Make sure to include links to any personal sites or businesses that you want to promote straight into your bio. Just remember to also make it personal to you. Authenticity is key to writing on Quora.
The Key Takeaway
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: Writing on Quora is all about providing value. Users tend to favor longer and more in-depth answers, and they’ll be much more likely to follow through on your call to action if you show that you’ve invested time and effort into providing valuable and engaging content.
So, get out there, and give it a shot! You’ll generate new leads for your business, make new connections, and gain new insights into your target audience. We promise it’s worth the effort.