This is a guest post from Ann Smarty - Internet entrepreneur and founder of Myblogguest.com
Of all of the question and answer sites that have been launched (some more successful than others), Quora is truly unique. It has managed to put together a valid community, filled with many experts who genuinely know the topics they are discussing.
From developers who worked on life-changing websites like Twitter and Facebook, to doctors and researchers who are well versed in topics of medicine and science, the userbase are impressive. All alongside others who may or may not have the credentials, but still have valid opinions to give.
What makes it so incredible is that everyone tries to contribute in a helpful manner. Questions are asked for genuine reasons, not to boost presence. Answers are well written, with plenty of information from experts and laymen alike. Everyone tries to be balanced, respectful and supportive.
Quora is a happy and informative place, and a real boon to the social media world.
As you have probably guessed, I am a fan. So in my time using this service, I have seen many answers hit viral status, and many more flop entirely. What makes the difference between those two outcomes? What can you do to make your answer hot on Quora?
1. Keep An Eye Out For Unique Questions
Often, the reason an answer gains popularity is because it was given to a strange or interesting question. There are actual awards given from websites like Gawker for odd questions. Often, w hen blogs repost them, they will also reference the best answers. Which leads to greater visibility.
2. Look For Areas Of Your Expertise
When you join up with the site, be sure to watch categories that you have an expertise in. Check open questions in your feed often, and answer anything that touches on a subject you know well.
One of the things I heard most from people who have had answers go viral is that they answered a question on a whim because they knew the topic.
3. Provide Sources For Data
If you are answering in an official capacity, or if you are dealing with a subject that has a great deal of data behind it, offer sources.
Even if you are sure something is entirely correct, you should double check it and provide a place for people to see for themselves that your answer is informed. Or, if you are speaking about an event, product, case, study or anything else, a link for reference to those who might not be familiar is always appreciated.
4. Explain Your History In The Area
People should know why it is you are well versed on any given subject. So telling them what your history is plays a big part to establishing credibility. Do you have a degree? Participate in a program? Take part in an activity? Were you at a specific event to see something for yourself? Maybe you have just studied the topic on your own? Be sure to let them know.
5. Tell It Like a Story
Reciting dry facts might be enough to keep the attention of seasoned academics. But the majority of Quora users, even professional ones, will feel their eyes glazing over if you are too technical. Presenting it more like a story, with at least a somewhat casual tone, will usually go over better.
6. Be Balanced and Fair
You have the right to your opinion, and you can be clear about how you feel. But you shouldn't discount other theories, feelings or views on the topic you are discussing. Your answers should be written fairly, and in a polite way. You can point out your reasons, and explain it without getting heated or calling someone else out that your disagree with. If you offer more than one viewpoint, even while being direct in your own, it will gain more fans.
7. Be Nice
Rudeness isn't tolerated very well on Quora, and people are quick to downvote questions that are unkind or unbalanced. You should try to remain polite, even in disagreement. If you do have something snarky to say, or if you do get angry, at least try to keep yourself somewhat in control.
8. Sheer Luck
This seems to be the biggest factor. Everything above covers writing a high quality and informed answer, while meeting the social standards of the site. This will increase your chances of getting plenty of upvotes, and maybe even shares. But keep in mind that there is a lot of luck involved. Sometimes, the circumstances are just right and the stars seem to align.
It can literally happen to anybody, and has. So keep writing answers and bide your time...a viral answer could be just around the corner!
Ann Smarty is the serial guest blogger running MyBlogGuest.com, the free guest blogging and content sharing platform. Don't forget to join MyBlogGuest Facebook Page! Follow Ann Smarty on Quora!
Image Credits: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8.