The question-and-answer site was founded by Adam D’Angelo and Charlie Cheever, two former Facebook employees, in 2009. Its success is driven by an engaged user community.
Each user must register with a real name or a Google, Twitter, or Facebook account before posting or answering questions. Answers then are edited, organized, and managed by Quora users.
I started thinking about Quora a few weeks ago, when Gigaom ran a story about the social platform raising $80 million and likely using it toward international expansion.
Alex Wu, head of product marketing, communications, and partnerships with Quora, said journalists are using Quora content to the tune of more than 30 stories across 25-plus unique outlets each week. In addition to using the site professionally, journalists also contribute personal knowledge on Quora, Wu said.
Wu cited threads like, “What is the culture like at the New York Times?”, which shows unique insight into a day in the life of a working journalist.
He also shared a couple examples: Nicholas Kristof, of The New York Times, has answered multiple questions about working for the publication. Ezra Klein, formerly of The Washington Post and Bloomberg and currently at Vox, contributes to Quora both about his profession and his personal passions.
How else are journalists using Quora? It comes down to these three ways:
- Content. Quora has in-depth content on more than 500,000 topics.
- Research. Journalists perform research on content evenly spread across five categories – technology and business, politics and economics, entertainment, life advice and other diverse news and interests.
- Sourcing. Reporters also have cited Quora content as a first-hand source in stories.
Because people write in-depth and high-quality answers on Quora, Wu said: “It’s not uncommon for us to see journalists republish our content in full, almost like a contributed article.”
To that end, Quora also has established publishing partnerships with top outlets, including Forbes, The Huffington Post, and BBC, who publish regular Quora contributed stories.
So far this year, Quora has seen more than 400 stories that have been directly influenced by its content. Some examples include:
- The Wall Street Journal: “A Palantir Founder Suggests His Startup Is Worth About $8 Billion”
- TechCrunch: “Box CEO Aaron Levie Takes To Quora About His (Sorta) Small IPO Stake: It’s All Gravy”
- Business Insider: “How I Went From Being An Entitled Kid In Seattle To A Drug Kingpin”
- The Washington Post: “This is what it feels like to win – and to lose – against the odds at the Olympics”
- Sports Illustrated: “Obama Masterfully Spun a Question about Basketball into an Obamacare Plug”
Active writers on Quora can receive upward of 10 million to 15 million views annually. And while Quora doesn’t have an exact figure on the number of active journalists there, a portion of its users have been identified here.
As far as growing internationally, Wu said the company has plans for its recent $80 million in financing.
“We hope to accomplish four main goals with our new funding: Improve Quora as a product, grow internationally, scale up our infrastructure, and most importantly, ensure that Quora lasts forever,” he said. “We are hoping to hang on to most of the money raised as insurance so that we can continue our goal of building a permanent and independent product.”
Incidentally, Quora’s D’Angelo recently answered a question about how the financing fits into future goals.
Join us this Thursday for a Google+ hangout: How Journalists Can Use Google+ to Build Their Brand