NICOLAS COLE

Writer

Quora Part 2: How I Became A Top Writer On Quora

CreativityNicolas Cole1 Comment

In my previous post, Quora Part 1, I wrote about why Quora is my favorite social media platform out there right now.

To delve a little further, I would like to share with you how I became a Top Writer on Quora, how I became a Top 10 writer in over 15 different categories, and how I got published in TIME, Forbes, Fortune, Inc Magazine, The Huffington Post, Popsugar, Thought Catalog, and Quora's 2014 Print Anthology—so that you can do it too.

1. Read

For the first 4 months I used Quora, all I did was read.  I didn't respond to a single answer.  All I did was read and read, captivated by the fact that I could learn first hand from Google engineers, billionaire entrepreneurs, published authors, touring musicians, etc.  The things I was reading had so much more depth and knowledge than any blog I had read in the past however many years. Each answer was gold, straight from the source.  

2. Write

Eventually, I got the idea that maybe I should start writing answers too.  At first, I picked answers that not many people had answered yet, which I thought would give me more visibility.  This was true, to some extent, and a few people would comment back thanking me for my answer or disagreeing with what I wrote, etc.  Regardless, it gave me a taste of how to engage with the site, and slowly I started picking harder questions, ones that would require a more emotional or thoughtful response than something that could be written in 5-10 minutes.

3.  Write, Write, Write—and then Write some more

I didn't really get a taste of Quora until one of my answers went viral.  The question was: How Can I, As A Teen, Improve My Life The Most In A Single Day?  I responded back with a story, detailing my years playing World of Warcraft at an extremely competitive level.  I showed how even through a video game I was able to learn an extremely important lesson, and that was the importance of Discipline.  The article racked up over 250,000 views, 3.1k upvotes, 50+ comments and 136 shares.  Overnight, I gained about 200 followers on Quora, and I started to understand how I could bring value as a writer to the community: I had to share my story.

From there, I told myself I was going to write an answer every day, no matter what.  I did this for almost 6 months.  And sure enough, combining emotional depth with consistency, I went viral over and over again.  My next hit answer was, Is It Possible To Change Your Mentality So Much That You Cannot Recognize Yourself Anymore?  I remember writing this answer after work one day.  A few hours later, my phone started going off with notifications.  The next morning, I woke up to a text message from a friend saying he just read my story on Reddit.  I'd made it to the front page.  I had dozens upon dozens of emails sitting in my inbox from people asking me questions.  The article racked up over 1,000,000 views, 7.5k upvotes, 110+ comments, and 75 shares.  This was the answer that got the attention of Quora's publishing team, and they started reaching out to me asking if they could republish my other answers in popular publications like TIME, Forbes, etc.  

Since the answer had been focused around personal development and specifically how bodybuilding had helped me transform myself, I had people from all over the world emailing me about how they could change themselves too, asking for my specific nutrition plan and workout routine.  That weekend, while I still had the attention of the Internet, I quickly threw together this website, wrote an eBook on working out and an eBook on nutrition, put them up on the website, and then linked to it from the Quora answer.  I sold over 50 copies in 2 days, and have sold over 250 since then.

4. Top Writer

After about seven months of writing on Quora, I had attracted the attention of some of the site's more popular writers.  Someone had asked the question of who the most read writers on Quora were, and they did a study compiling every writer on the site.  One day, I received a notification saying I had been mentioned in the answer, and there was my name in the Top 100 Most Read Writers on the website.  I had over 2,000 followers and almost 3,000,000 article views.  People started asking why I wasn't a Top Writer yet.  I didn't even know how they selected that award.  All I knew was that as long as I kept writing, good things would continue to come.

Sure enough, less than a week later, one of Quora's admins reached out to me, letting me know that I had been selected as a Top Writer for 2015 and that I would be receiving my badge within the next few weeks.  But that wasn't what got me really excited.  The real reward was the fact that one of my answers had been selected to be part of Quora's 2014 Anthology.  It is a real, printed book, compiling all the best answers from the year, and a copy would be sent to me for free.  I was ecstatic.  My first piece to be printed in a hardcore book came from an answer I had written on Quora to this question: Should We Ban World of Warcraft Since So Many Teenagers Were Addicted To It And Had Their Lives Ruined?  

Overall, it took me about 8 months to achieve the above.  8 months of writing 5-7 days a week.  8 months of reading other people's answers, learning which articles became popular and which ones didn't.  8 months of pushing myself to embrace the things I have experienced, good or bad, and share them wholeheartedly with others.  That was the key.  I would not have become a Top Writer if I had just stuck to simple answers that required technical answers.  My niche was speaking from a place of emotion and experience.  

If you want to utilize Quora or even become a Top Writer yourself, my one word of wisdom would be: Don't try to be someone you're not.  Don't pretend you know a lot about something if you really don't.  Speak from your own experience and be YOU.  That's what people are going to resonate with.  

And as always, be consistent.  

Every day, no matter what.  For 8 months.