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A Handy Guide to Using Quizzes in Your Content Marketing

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BBC Proms, a music festival put on by the BBC, created a quiz to promote the eight-week-long music festival, and it was a hit on Twitter.

In just a few hours, the quiz was viewed more than 10,000 times, and it prompted fans to post screenshots of their quiz results to share proudly with the world.

BBC is just the latest in a string of brands having great success running quizzes.

 


However, for every success like BBC's quiz, there are many more failures—terrible quizzes that have fallen flat.

Quizzes are a content type fundamentally different from, say, articles or videos: You aren't broadcasting your knowledge to an audience; instead, you are having a conversation with each individual quiz taker in a one-on-one setting. That's a big part of the reason that quizzes have become so popular, but that also means quizzes have to be created in a new and different way.

After helping more than 2,000 brands create quizzes at Interact, I've crunched a lot of numbers to discover the best methods for building amazing quizzes that generate response and traffic.

Here are the insider secrets for how to create a quiz.

Part 1: How to Create a Great Quiz

1. Pick a quiz topic that resonates with your audience

Before you even begin writing any quiz content, you need a topic worth making a quiz about. The key is to understand your audience members and speak to them. Here are some specific pointers on how to do that:

  • Write for a smaller group of people. The temptation is to try to reach everyone with your content. I hate to be the one to tell you this, but there's no way all 7 billion people on this planet will take your quiz. The best quizzes go after a targeted group of people who will really care about them.

    Consider the BBC Proms quiz: The Proms festival attracts a crowd of 300,000, which is realistically the maximum amount of people who would be interested in a quiz titled "Are you a BBC Proms Pro?" However, the quiz was able to reach a large percentage of that audience because anyone who had attended the concert would be very interested in the quiz.
  • Talk to one person. Think of one person who would really enjoy your quiz, and write to him or her. For the BBC Proms quiz, that could be a mate who really enjoys the festival. Create the entire quiz with that person in mind, and it will set the tone for speaking one on one.

2. Give your quiz a title that demands clicks

A full 80% of people will decide whether they want to take your quiz based on its title. With the way quizzes get shared, the title and short description are really all a new quiz taker will see before deciding to take the quiz. Luckily, we've found a few title templates that do well every time:

  • The "Actually" title: Though one word may seem inconsequential, it can change the way a quiz is perceived. Consider the title "What type of traveler are you?" It sounds intriguing and gives you an opportunity to learn about yourself. However, change that title to "What type of traveler are you actually?" and it becomes a question of what you think about yourself, and it presents a challenge that you're likely to accept.

    We found that quiz titles containing the word "actually" received 1305 views on average compared with an average of 770 for quizzes without the same word (data from a subset of 1,375 quizzes created on the Interact platform).
  • The "Which [noun] are you?" title: "Which Strategy Hero Are You?"is an example. This is a standard personality type quiz that has the personalities replaced by people or products.

  • The Celebrity Comparison Title: "Which celebrity should play you in the movie version of your life?" We are all exposed to the same celebrities, and in a test we ran, we found that titles including the word "celebrity" got 50% more clicks than those that didn't.

3. Write quiz questions that connect with visitors

Quiz questions are what set quizzes apart from every other type of content. This is where you get a chance to speak directly with visitors in a one-on-one format rather than address a large audience all at once. To maximize this opportunity, follow these guidelines:

  • Use your personality. The best quizzes all have their own voice, a distinct way of speaking that identifies the content as originating from a human. Let your personality shine.

  • Follow the pub rule. Don't ask any question that wouldn't be appropriate in a pub setting. This rule comes from the Irish Post, which is famous for creating a quiz that reached a full 25% of all Irish people living in London when only 50% of those Irish people even got out to vote for the national party!

4. Craft quiz results that get shared

Once you've gotten someone to click on your quiz and answer all the questions, it's time to show the results. This is where you get a chance to amplify the reach of your quiz through social sharing; get it right or your quiz will go nowhere. Here's how to get it right:

  • Be kind. We share things that make us look good. The most viral quizzes use uplifting language to describe every result.
  • Be honest. Even though you want to be upbeat, quiz takers will know if you're just blowing smoke. To retain your integrity, focus on the positives of your quiz and expand them into the result text. For example, even if you tell someone they are a truck, focus on how reliable and strong it is and overlook the part about being big and bulky.

  • Be ready for sharing. There is a formula for how quizzes get shared. It goes "I got (my result) (title of the quiz)" so make sure your quiz results are prepared for this so that when you do get shared the shares will show up nicely.

Part 2: Three Ways to Use Quizzes in Your Content

1. To provide personalized content recommendations

Quizzes can guide your audience to content that best fits their interests. The quiz acts as a director, guiding the flow of traffic to pieces of content best suited for each visitor. A great example of this comes from Hotelschool The Hague, which created a quiz to help prospective students find out whether they should apply:

At the end of the quiz, you are presented with a specialization in hotel management that fits your personality type, and you're prompted to click on a link to learn more about it:

To create a quiz like this, select 4-6 pieces of content you want to focus on (for Hotelschool, those pieces were descriptions of degree specializations). Once you've got your content pieces, build a quiz that leads people to the content that best fits their interests or needs.

2. As content to keep audiences engaged

The BBC Proms quiz referenced above falls into this category: This type of quiz is meant to primarily entertain and secondarily keep people interested in your business. Let's dive into the BBC quiz to see how that's done.

The BBC began by making a knowledge assessment quiz ("Are You a BBC Proms Pro?") and made sure the content was hyper-relevant to its audience.

The quiz then follows through by giving you a score and a letter grade with a chance to share your prowess with the world:

The method BBC used can be replicated for any event or production. Use it to test people on their knowledge of a TV show or content series, or use it to check in on students taking an online class.

Quizzes like this are very effective at keeping engagement rates high when you don't produce your main audience attractor every day.

3. To sell personalized products

Personalized product recommendations convert shoppers to paying customers 355% better than non-personalized recommendations. Instead of building algorithms to provide those kinds of recommendations, use a quiz to achieve a similar result.

Online retailer of Hookah products Hookah and Shisha did just that with its quiz "What Hookah Are You?" and was able to provide a personal touch for each visitor without investing in expensive software:

The quiz spits out a product that matches your personality based on seven simple questions, along with a link to buy that hookah:

To create a quiz like this, pick out 4-10 of your most popular products and make a personality-type quiz with a product replacing each personality type.

Conclusion: Get Interactive

BBC Proms successfully connected with its audience using the interactivity of a quiz. Quizzes provide the opportunity to build stronger connections with your audience through one-on-one communication.

Unlike any other form of content, quizzes afford you a chance to interact directly with your audience on a personal level. Simply follow the guidelines above and begin implementing awesome quizzes into your content today!


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Josh Haynam is the co-founder of Interact, a place for creating beautiful and engaging quizzes that generate email leads. He writes about new ways to connect with customers and build trust with them.

Linkedin: Josh Haynam

Twitter: @jhaynam

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Comments

  • by Ann Tue Nov 18, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the article, Josh! Do you have any recommendations on where to post quizzes start driving traffic? I create quizzes for some of my clients and often struggle to drive that initial boost that the rest of the content typically gets.

  • by Josh Tue Nov 18, 2014 via web

    Hi Ann! Glad you liked the article. The best strategy is to post on your own social accounts and embed the quizzes in your blog, I always find it turns out better in the end when people work hard to improve their quizzes rather than spending time/money on heavy promotion, that way when you do attract an audience it's sustainable.

  • by Shiva Krishnan Tue Nov 18, 2014 via web

    It's a nice article Josh ! Really liked the content & it gave me a brief idea work on with my next quizzes. As you said Quizzes provide the occasion to make stronger relation with the audience via one on one communication.

  • by John Sat Nov 22, 2014 via web

    Thanks for the interesting information.

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