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More on Quora

My name is Matt Gratt, and I’m a Quora-holic.
(Hi Matt! The room shouts in unison.)

Just kidding. But I do really enjoy using the QA web application. If you love learning new things, it’s a great way to spend an afternoon.

Quora still has issues – I’ve written about those before. Quora’s answer quality is still really strong in some places, but it can be really inconsistent.

It seems that prominent users who write good answers have big networks of other users who write good answers. When these prominent users interact with a thread, it gets placed into the activity streams of other ‘good’ users. Then the answer quality can get really high.

However, when your thread gets low quality answers, these higher quality users don’t engage with it, and the answer quality starts low and stays low. (Upon further research, I see Quora’s Marc Bodnick has given some tips to get better answers for your Quora thread.)

You might call this the ‘broken windows theory’ of Quora threads.

However, in Quora’s defense, it seems that the overall quantity of the answers is improving. And according to PandoDaily, the quantity of content is improving, especially in categories like food and entertainment, life advice, and news and politics. Even JJ Abrams is answering movie questions now.

How to Write Better Quora Answers

While indulging my Quora addiction, I’ve discovered some ways to make your answers even better:

  • Include pictures. If you’re answering a web marketing question, include a relevant screenshot. It’s not hard to draw a graph to describe what you’re talking about in MSPaint or your other favorite graphics program.
  • Use facts. Cite sources. Many Quora users are still largely left-brained Silicon Valley folks – so facts are important. If you can, cite some sort of primary source or provide data.
  • Promote your answers. If you have Quora credits, you can promote your answer to other Quorans. This is a great way to get upvotes, get into more people’s feeds, and get even more upvotes, touching off a virtuous cycle of exposure and upvotes.
  • Feel free to add clarifying statements to the front of your answer. I answer a lot of marketing questions, and as you may know, all marketing is situational. (If marketing wasn’t, all marketing people would have been entirely replaced by interns reading blogs roughly 3-4 years ago.) As such, the answer is going to be very different depending on company stage, market type, etc., so I caveat a lot of questions at the beginning. If you answer vague questions, you can too.

Must-Follow Quora Users

Matthew Carroll

Matthew Carroll is an entrepreneur focused on apparel ecommerce specifically the operational, unsexy side of ecommerce. He shares great information about financial models, inventory, ecommerce strategy, and more. His writing is frequently featured in Forbes. He even became an advisor to ManPacks based on his Quora answers. And his brand is called Fail Harder perfectly encapsulating the entrepreneurial spirit.

He does a lot of data-backed trend analysis as well if you like Grattisfaction at all (or at least sometimes), youll definitely like his answers.
Great Answers:
How do Subscription Commerce companies manage the fulfillment side of their business?
How Does Gilt Groupes Business Model Work?
What is the Next Wave of Innovation in eCommerce After Flash Sales and Private Sales?

Marc Bodnick

Marc is a Quora employee working on product marketing, community, and business operations. He’s a master curator of Quora answers – simply reading his upvotes is like wandering through the sum of human knowledge.
He also co-founded Elevation Partners the PE firm that Bono is involved in. And he uses a picture of Biggie as his avatar.
marc-bodnick-quora-image

Great Answers:
Why do people sell their businesses to Warren Buffett?
Are two party negeotiations a zero sum game?
When should you trust your gut feeling?

Michael Wolfe

Michael Wolfe is a multiple-time successful entrepreneur, with startups like Vontu, Kana, and I/PRO on his resume. Now he’s the CEO of Pipewise.
He answers questions about entrepreneurship, technical strategy for startups, and life in general.
Great Answers:
What is the best place to host a Startup SaaS?
Has Google reached its prime?
What characteristic of human psychology drives people to be so territorial about their airplane seat?

What do you love and hate about Quora? Who are the best people to follow?

Marketing, Product

9 Growth Hackers You Should Follow on Twitter

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Image courtesy FAKEGRIMLOCK under Creative Commons

The Growth Hacker meme has finally taken off.

After a couple years of describing myself as a growth hacker and being met with blank stares, things are changing. Im happy that people may now understand that a growth hacker is a person who can drive customer/user/MRR growth through a sophisticated combination of marketing, technical, and analytical skills. Basically, a growth hacker is a rain maker for the modern web company.

But where can a journeyman growth hacker like me look for advice? Fortunately, there are many prominent growth hackers that tweet, blog, answer questions on Quora, and otherwise share their wisdom. Here are some of my favorite growth hackers to follow on Twitter. (A number of them are CEOs and CTOs that gives you some idea about how valuable this skillset is to the modern web enterprise.)

Sean Ellis CEO CatchFree

Sean is perhaps the original growth hacker he coined the term. He also was the original VP marketing at some companies you might be familiar with LogMeIn and Uproar and helped accelerate growth at WordPress.com, Xobni, DropBox, and Eventbrite. (I suspect theres some Im missing.)
Now hes the CEO of CatchFree an amazing resource for finding free apps. He also writes the (aptly named) Startup Marketing blog.
Must-Read Posts:
Optimization Mistakes that Kill Startups
My Favorite Online Marketing Tactic Doesnt Work
To Pay Or Not To Pay To Acquire Users?

Noah Kagan Chief Sumo (CEO) AppSumo

Noah Kagan was the growth hacker behind Mint.coms initial growth. He was also an early product manager at Facebook, pushing out many of the features that everyone was incredibly upset about and soon recognized as better, like the newsfeed. (As a Facebook user since Fall 2004, I remember the incredible acrimony around the newsfeed, before it was recognized as superior.) He is now the CEO and Chief Sumo of AppSumo, a company that helps developers get distribution and entrepreneurs up their game. (And like me, Noah went to UC Berkeley.)
Must Read Posts:
Speech at UC Berkeley
How Mint Beat Wesabe
Quant-Based Marketing for Startups

Justin Briggs Inbound Marketing Leader Big Fish Games

Justin Briggs is the inbound marketing leader at Big Fish Games. Hes a gifted growth hacker, and has done everything from develop new techniques for visualizing link graphs site traffic to get coverage in publications like Wired and MSN. Before Big Fish, he was a prominent consultant at Distilled.
Key Posts:
Business Metrics for Link Reporting
Building the Implicit Social Graph
How to Build Links and Drive Traffic with Infographics

Dan Martell CEO Clarity

Dan Martell founded Flowtown (acquired by DemandForce), Spheric Technologies, and now Clarity. Hes also an angel investor and a 500 Startupsmentor.
Key Posts:
Hustlin for Conversions
Content Marketing for Startups
Why Building Great Admin Dashboards Can Lead to Amazing Products

Andy Johns Product Manager, User Growth Quora

Andy Johns is the Product Manager for User Growth at Quora. From Quoras third-party traffic data, it seems like hes doing a good job:

Before Quora, he worked on user growth at Facebook and Twitter. The scoreboard suggests he did a decent job.
Key Posts:
How Does Quora Manage to Get Such Good Google Search Placement for Its Questions?
What Are Some Top Strategies for Conversion Optimization?
Does Quora Research Its Users Behavior?
How Does Andy Johns Bring Traffic to Websites?

Dharmesh Shah CTO/Co-founder HubSpot

Dharmesh Shah is the founder and CTO of Hubspot, a large inbound marketing software company. He also wrote the Get Found Using Inbound Marketing book, and the author of OnStartups.com.
Key Posts:
Building a Startup Marketing Plan Tips in 3 Words
Startup Lessons from 17 Hard-Hitting Quotes in Moneyball
Insider Tips from HubSpots Launch of Marketing Grader

Mat Clayton CTO Mixcloud

Mat Clayton is one of the worlds experts on driving user growth through open graph actions. His startup, Mixcloud, has seen 20% user growth month over month from clever Facebook Twitter integrations.
Key Presentations:
The Next Level of Social Integration
Social Design

Danielle Morrill Director of Marketing Twilio

Danielle is behind Twilios massive adoption and near universal marketing presence. She also mentors for 500 Startups, and shares wisdom about many growth topics, especially business development and successful event marketing. (There is a pervasive myth that PR BD arent growth hacking. Growth hackers dont exclude any tool from their arsenal.)

Key Posts:
Startup Marketing 2nd Class Citizen, 2nd Rate Results
How to Hustle SXSW for Fun Profit
Close the Loop on Your SXSW Campaign Leads in 5 Steps

Neil Patel VP Marketing KISSMetrics

Neil Patel is currently the VP Marketing and cofounder of KISSMetrics, the leading customer analytics provider. (Customer analytics differs from web analytics because it integrates cohort data, CLTV, and other business metrics, rather than reporting on pageviews.) Neil also co-founded CrazyEgg ACS (a high-performance SEO digital marketing consultancy). He is also an angel investor, and frequently speaks at conferences.
Key Posts:
10 Lessons Seth Godin Can Teach You About Blogging
7 Business Mistakes That Nearly Broke Me Literally
Design is Marketing
Are You a Hustler?

The Growth Hacker Twitter List

Ive thrown all of these Twitter accounts into a Twitter list you can follow it here. Ill continue to maintain this list, and hopefully it will become one of the best sources of information on up-to-the-minute growth hacking strategy.

Follow the Growth Hacker Twitter List here.

Im sure Ive left some awesome people out there are a number of great growth hackers at startups like Zynga, BigDoor, Cheezburger Networks, and many others. Who are your favorite growth hackers on Twitter? (Please leave a comment and I will add them to the Twitter list.)

Linkbranding and Influencer Engagement: How to Do It Right

John Doherty recently coined the term LinkBranding moving beyond SEO oriented link building to get links that deliver sustainable brand value. Because these links are for people as well as search engines, they deliver more than just SEO value they drive relevant, engaged traffic AND build brand equity.

What Does This Look Like?

In great linkbranding campaigns, marketers engage relevant influencers and deliver overwhelming value to them. This is a pretty abstract concept to wrap our heads around, so lets look at an example.

I was reading one of my favorite startup blogs, Startup Lessons Learned by Eric Ries, and I noticed its great new design. (Erics blog is about the lean startup basically ensuring startups build things people want by using customer development and market validation techniques to avoid the failure of the late 90s.)

But wait! In addition to a new design, theres this badge from the design company, Digital Telepathy. (Ive outlined it in red for visibility.)

 

linkbranding-image

Lets take a closer look:

digital-telepathy-badge

This is what great online marketing looks like.

In one fell swoop, Digital Telepathy:

  • Gets in front of an incredibly influential audience of founders, VCs, CEOs, and other executives.
  • Builds trust by associating themselves with a thought leader in startup theory.
  • Gets referral traffic from Erics blog.
  • Gets a site-wide exact match anchor text link (things SEOs dreams are made of) on a high authority site that will only get better with age.

All for the cost of one custom Blogger theme. And that, my friends, is linkbranding.