You might be surprised to learn that the number one article on “The New York Times” in 2013 wasn’t an article, it was a quiz.
This quiz, “How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk” aimed to answer the question “What does the way you speak say about where you’re from?” In less than a dozen days, the quiz received more traffic than any other article on “The New York Times” launched during the entire year.
In fact, OkDork reports that over the last several months 8 of the 10 world’s most shared articles were quizzes.
The data proves some quizzes are unequivocally shareable and engage the masses, while others fail horribly, but why? Find out what makes a quiz great and how quizzes are being used as an amazing content marketing tactic.
7 key principles of a killer quiz
Incorporating these seven principles into a quiz won’t guarantee it goes viral, but according to extensive research conducted by BuzzSumo it may greatly increase the chance.
1. Start with top-notch content that evokes an emotion
BuzzSumo analyzed the top 10,000 most shared articles and discovered the emotions they evoked. Awe, laughter and amusement accounted for more than half of the most popular emotions.
2. Launch to a relevant audience
A quiz may be amazing, but if it’s launched to the wrong audience it won’t gain traction.
3. Convey trust
Professionalism and trust are important when posting quizzes to social networks, especially Google+ and LinkedIn. Articles with bylines or bios are shared 40 percent more than those without bylines or bios. \
4. Allow people to express themselves
Regardless of how frivolous or meaningful a quiz may be (think “What kind of cat are you?” versus “What kind of worker are you?”) it offers the reader a chance to gain insight into who they are and share that insight with the world via social media. In a study conducted by “The New York Times,” one of the primary reasons readers share content is to “define themselves to others.”
5. Include a captivating image
Quizzes with at least one image get shared twice as much as those without.
6. Publish smartly
The day of the week a quiz is published on can have a big impact on how many times it will be viewed, and thus potentially shared. In general, the optimum day to publish and promote social content is Tuesday. Then wait 7 to 10 days before doing so again.
7. Give instant gratification
We’re an impatient society. Keep the quiz to roughly 10 questions or less, and ensure the typical reader can take the quiz in less than one minute. Give them results immediately.
4 knock-out quizzes
BuzzFeed has crafted a number of viral quizzes, including “What Career Should You Have,” by far one of its most popular. This quiz grabs the reader’s attention by using an image of Oprah, then quirky questions such as “What would you bring on a desert island?” keep the reader captivated. Also, the block format of the quiz is eye catching and unique- and in this case different is good. One of BuzzFeed’s most shared quizzes is “Which ‘Grease’ Pink Lady Are You?” and its “What City Should You Actually Live In?” quiz has earned more than 20 million views.
BuzzFeed’s success is in part due to incorporating many of the elements listed above, plus BuzzFeed tends to categorize the reader, giving him or her an identity, an idea of who their “equals” are and what click they “fit into.”
Obrella helps customers discover insurance options. Their quiz, “Can You Pass the California Driver’s License Test Without Cheating?” gets a lot of things right. First and foremost, it has a captivating competitive element. The reader is curious how they’ll score, and in turn they are apt to challenge their social media contacts to find out how they measure up.
The quiz also tells the reader right up front that it’s a short quiz (10 questions), so they know they won’t have to invest a significant amount of time into it. It’s relevant to its audience, uses an image, and offers a link to the author’s bio. Last but certainly not least, it tells the reader exactly what they should do: “See how many questions you can answer correctly, then tout (or embarrassingly share) your results with your Facebook friends!”
Sometimes there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. If you already have great content, get more mileage out of it by converting it into an amazing quiz. For example, this comprehensive, valuable checklist from SafeWise titled “Homebuyer Checklist:
This is something that could easily be transformed into an engaging home security quiz like this one from Good Housekeeping.
Titled “The Happiness Quiz” this engaging test is an unequivocal winner. It’s sure to evoke strong emotion, and that means it’s likely to be shared. It not only pulls in the reader by asking them if they’re “curious how their happiness rating stacks up” it also offers the reader value.
Once they’ve completed the quiz, they’ll learn “10 scientifically proven methods to increase happiness.” The quiz is likely to be viewed as trustworthy because it’s based on scientific research.
Quizzes can help us discover who we are and what we stand for. Start with quality content that engages your target, then incorporate the tips and tricks we’ve outlined and you’ll be on your way to crafting the ultimate viral quiz.
Guest Author: Elli Bishop is the head of outreach for BusinessBee, a place to discover and compare business service providers for your company. For more business tools and resources, visit them at BusinessBee.com.