On December 16, 2013, The New York Times published a quiz, How Y’all, Youse and You Guys Talk . The quiz was based on a decade-old survey conducted by linguists Bert Vaux and Scott Golder, and visualized by Joshua Katz. Based on the quiz taker’s use of certain words and pronunciations, the quiz produced a heat map that showed which region of the United States the reader corresponded to linguistically.
In just 10 days, this 25-question quiz became the most viewed content on the New York Times website in 201. Why? Because quizzes are simply irresistible and people love them. But how do you create a quiz that people can’t wait to take and share? Here are our 10 practical tips that will help you create a killer quiz today.
Work backwards and start with your goal
Before we jump into creating quizzes, there is some prep work to do.
Like any good content marketer, you always start with the question, “What do I want to accomplish with this content?” Quizzes are no different.
Choose smart goals for your quiz to measure your return on investment. It can be “increase newsletter sign-up by 70% in two months” or “earn a 5% conversion rate from the early bird special by May 31, 2015 “.
However, the unique value it creates is equally – if not more – important to the success of your quiz.
Zenni Optical’s You’ve Been Framed quiz is a perfect example of this, having been taken over 450,000 times and generating over $1 million in revenue.
Most people have to select frames at some point. When we recently purchased glasses for my daughter, we were presented with a huge tray of frames. She tried a bunch and picked what felt right. However, we would have really appreciated more help in making an informed decision.
With Zenni Optical’s quiz, you can get this information without having to go to the store. Viewers can determine which frames best suit their personality and face shape. The quiz not only makes it easier to narrow down the choices, it also helps those who wear the glasses feel more confident that they made the right choice.
Do you have something in your industry that could do the same for your audience? Can you help your visitors make the right decision, tackle common misconceptions, or decide which side in a debate they should support?
Decide on your topic and research it
Before asking your questions, take the time to find out what topic resonates well with your audience, what types of quizzes have worked well, and what topics in your industry have already been covered in quiz form.
You can use tools like BuzzSumo for frequently shared quizzes, search Google for checklists that have been popular, or even view your own evergreen content, like popular list posts, which can be converted into a quiz.
Once you’ve decided on a topic, dive deeper. For example, if you’re creating a quiz about Disney Princesses, look for special traits, quirks, preferences, and quotes from your royal characters. You want to be able to ask the right kind of questions and have relevant information to offer that will push quiz participants to the finish line.
Decide on a general tone and jargon
Once you’ve identified the purpose of your quiz and are comfortable with your basic research, it’s time to decide on your overall tone, mood, and imagery. Think about your target audience. How formal or casual should it be? Does your audience use a specific language? For example, if you’re creating a Star Wars quiz, you better know Millennium Falcon references use female pronouns or you’ll quickly lose your audience.
Create an irresistible headline
Your quiz will live or die by the title. Check out BuzzFeed, PlayBuzz, and Disney for their quiz titles and you’ll see some titles used over and over again:
- The hardest ____ quiz you’ll ever take
- Which ___ do you really belong to?
- What kind of ___ are you?
As you can see, the common denominator is the word you .
Your title should be short and to the point and state exactly what result the user can expect. For example, one of the most successful quizzes of all time – What state should you really live in – makes it clear that the participant will know their state at the end.
Quiz creation is a bit backwards because you create a title and define the results before writing the first question.
Defining the results is an important step because the quiz result is what people will share on social media and what will inspire others to take the test.
To encourage as much social sharing as possible, include visuals and a story, not a dry percentage. Or better yet, make users laugh. But, if humor isn’t the way to go for your brand, make sure quiz takers feel positive about their results and give them some juicy nuggets of relevant information about themselves.
When assigning percentage points to results, don’t go overboard. You have to find the right mix – make the quiz hard enough that it won’t be seen as a joke and easy enough that people get good results. According to Qzzr, 45% of actions come from people who score perfect and 76% from people who score at least 80%.
Keep it short and sweet
People love taking quizzes because they don’t take a lot of time. According to Qzzr, the quiz takes an average of 2 minutes and 27 seconds.
So how long should a quiz last? It should be short enough to encourage people to complete it and long enough to create meaningful information. The sweet spot is between seven and 12 questions, depending on your topic and audience.