No matter what field you’re in, you probably get asked a lot of questions. I know for me, I love answering questions about social media, press releases and content on a regular basis, be it at a kids’ birthday party or on Twitter. But do you realize how providing those answers positions you as an expert? It truly does.
People have questions. That’s why they search for things on Google. They might want to know how to get a wine stain out of carpet, or what the best accounting program is. You have answers. By connecting the two, people with questions and you with your answers, you’ve got a pretty potent formula for potential sales.
Where to Answer Questions
There are several places you can provide answers to questions that people have about your industry.
1. Your Blog
Your blog is a great place to talk about the things people commonly ask you. Focus on articles that provide value to your readers. Give them how-to advice, product tips, your picks for tools in your industry, reviews of books and products you like…the list of valuable topics goes on and on. Do a little homework to see what keywords people are searching for (I like Wordtracker’s Keyword tool), then target your posts around these keywords.
Aim for 2-5 posts a week, and be consistent. It’s fun to set up certain days to talk about certain topics. Maybe you do a Top 10 list on Mondays, Industry News on Wednesdays and Customer Questions on Fridays.
2. Question Sites
My new favorite expert tool is sites like Quora, LinkedIn Answers and Focus. Here, people ask questions in every industry. It’s your opportunity to provide your knowledge to answer these questions. Next to your answer, your link to your profile and/or website is provided. People see your smart answer and may contact you or connect with you.
Strategy-wise, I suggest setting up profiles on each of these sites and answering at least one question a day. For people who answer more questions on LinkedIn, their profiles are featured on the Answers page as Top Experts. Can’t beat free publicity like that!
3. Social Media
Twitter and Facebook are other great places where you can answer people’s questions. Join Facebook Groups in your industry (or with your target market). Participate in hashtag conversations on your industry on Twitter, or search for keywords to lead you to the questions. Make yourself available as an expert in your field, and share links to articles and blog posts.
You can write books, whitepapers and reports that address people’s questions. Give speeches or presentations at conferences. Participate in webinars. Leave comments on people’s blogs. There’s no end to the way you can provide value in answering questions as a consultant or small business owner.