How Not to Get Lost in the Content Creation Wasteland

Planning an entire year in advance – who DOES that??

You should – if you want to stay focused and on track to meet your marketing goals. To be more specific – if your marketing strategy includes blogging, sending e-newsletters, or any other form of content that you share digitally, a content calendar is a powerful tool to make your online marketing more effective. And without one, you could be just another boring fish in the online marketing sea.

As someone who does nearly all of my business online and connects with thousands of people every week using online tools, a content calendar is a no-brainer. Knowing what I want to share with my audience ahead of time makes my writing more efficient and my work less stressful. It keeps me organized. It keeps me focused on the bigger goal of constantly finding new ways to serve my best customers better.

Think of it like this: let’s say you live in Oklahoma City, and you plan to drive to Los Angeles, somewhere you’ve never been. Even though you have the fantastic invention of GPS, plus a paper map and a good friend who knows the city well to help you get to your destination efficiently and safely, you simply get in your car and start driving west.

You don’t even consider what asphalt cooking in 115-degree heat could do to your tires. You ignore the signs that read “next gas station 158 miles”. You just drive aimlessly, surviving on cold fried chicken you bought at the Albertson’s in Needles because there was literally nothing else open. You’re not sure how or when you’ll get to LA.

content planYou’ll probably still get there… but it could be a much longer and more frustrating trip than it needed to be, all because you didn’t take a few minutes to plan.

Content creation is like that. Without a clear path to your destination, it becomes a vicious cycle that alternates between writer’s block and hopelessness.

Thankfully, a bit of planning will keep you from getting lost in the Mojave Desert of content development.

If you’re reading this with a sceptical eye, then you’re probably someone who struggles with the question “But how do I know what to write about?” The answer is simple: ask your audience.

If your audience is engaged with you and asks you questions, you can build your content calendar to address their needs. Your audience is probably the most powerful planning tool you have at your disposal. The more engaged you are with them, the more they’ll tell you what they want, and the easier it is to plan your content strategy well in advance.

Wondering how to create a content strategy that has your business’s longer-term objectives in mind? Here are a few tips:

  1. Focus on monthly themes. You don’t have to have every blog title, and every YouTube video script written out. But by choosing a general theme for each month, you have a framework around which to develop each piece of content. As you come up with new ideas, slot them into the most relevant themes to start building out the calendar.
  2. Plan content around your launches. Are you planning to launch a new product or program this year? Up to a month before your launch, start promoting content that relates to whatever you’re going to be selling; it brings more people into the fold who are likely to buy from you.
  3. Solve your audience’s problems. Survey your email list or Twitter followers; find out what they want to know and use that information to create your themes and your content.
  4. Be flexible. Just like a business plan, it’s impossible to stick to your content plan like glue. Be responsive to your audience’s new questions, and pay attention to current events to see if you can leverage those to make more people aware of your brand.

Ready for a smooth ride on the content creation highway? Take ten minutes today and create your monthly content themes for the rest of 2015. Your audience will thank you.

jessica omanWhen Jessica Oman (the Renegade Planner) isn’t busy helping her clients start and grow businesses that earn them a 6-figure income, she’s road-tripping in the USA with her hubby and pooch, or developing her appreciation for a good West Coast IPA. She’s written the Ultimate Guide to Leaving Your Job and Planning a Business you Can Bank on, which you can download free by clicking here.

Converting Subpar Writers In to Content Champions

Content- there is no easy button.Consumers love content. It entices them visit company websites. It inspires them to share business insights. It gives them trust in the brand. And, ultimately, it encourages them to make a purchase.

Sixty percent of B2C marketers anticipate increasing their content marketing budget within 2015, according to Content Marketing Institute. While this statistic isn’t necessarily shocking, marketers are increasingly concerned about the lack of trained professionals to fulfill these needs.

The report went on the state that more than 40% of respondents were challenged with “lack of knowledge and training” and “finding trained content marketing professionals” to produce engaging, converting content.

In-house marketing teams and digital agencies can help employees develop into skilled writers by providing growth structure and educational opportunities. This will not only strengthen the content team but can further propel clients toward online success.

5 Techniques to Help Writers Succeed in the Digital Sphere

1. Start With an Assessment

When a new content marketer is hired, provide them with an evaluation to get a better idea of the individual’s capabilities. The evaluation should be based on your company’s specific content needs and can come in a variety of forms.

One evaluation option is to assign an initial writing exercise followed by an editorial review that will note necessary areas of improvement, organization skills, pace of writing, improper grammar use, etc. Another assessment could be as simple as creating a grammar and punctuation test.

Assessments, in conjunction with writing samples, will give the content strategists a baseline understanding of where the writer may experience difficulties. Additionally, asking the writer if there are any key areas they’d like to develop further can set the tone for growth.

2. Establish a Style Guide for Each Medium

Consumers on each medium are typically there for different reasons, and it’s important to convey those needs to new writers. Clearly outline the company’s tone and objectives for blogs, email content, each social network and other marketing mediums to guide content writing. A concise overview of each platform’s needs is important to establish expectations for writers. Check out MailChimp’s Voice & Tone for inspiration on creating a style guide for your company and/or clients.

Additionally, new writers should be briefed on which standard of writing the company follows. Many bloggers use AP Style, others prefer Chicago Style and some companies have created an alternative variant. This resource will help the writer make quick, informed decisions and ensures the company’s content is consistent.

content-calendar

3. Stay Organized

Setting up processes for content construction is imperative to develop successful writers. There are three distinct necessities for any organization tasked with content construction:

  •  An editorial flow chart clearly outlines the process for creating, editing and approving content.
  • Utilizing track changes in Microsoft Word ensures writers and editors are clear on what changes have been made to a document and allows individuals to leave comments.
  • Content calendars track what topics should be covered and when. They can also include notes on the progress of each piece (see image). This streamlines communication and keeps everyone informed on content marketing efforts happening throughout the team.

If new writers require extra assistance, working on outlines together before the writing process begins. This can proactively address potential errors before the writer even makes them.

4. Identify Quality Resources

Editors and content strategists are often well versed on valuable tools and resource that newer writers can benefit from. Share these with content teams; advocate that writers regularly read informative blogs and stay attuned to techniques that established content marketers use. While each writer will undoubtedly have her own diction, well-written blogs can provide valuable insights on potential style and structural improvements.

The Web also offers an array of paid instructional resources that can aid in the writer’s growth.
Some websites to reference:

5. Schedule Time to Write Daily

Every writer should work to figure out when they are the most productive and creative. After learning when that is, give writers daily assignments or allow free flow writing during that time. Writing is a skill improved with regular practice. Daily writing gives time for experimentation, growth and learning new techniques and formats.

Training writers to fulfill your organization’s content marketing needs will help them feel professional fulfilled and grow with your business. It can take time and patients from an experienced editor or content strategist, but will have a lasting, positive impact on your company and clients’ online presence.

Jennifer ClineJennifer Cline is the Digital Account Lead at Element5, a Michigan-based web design, development, and marketing agency. With a background in Journalism, Jennifer enjoys working closely with content writers and companies to produce quality writing that not only informs, but also converts. Element5 helps companies achieve online success and is committed to crafting a better Web. For more article like this, visit Element5’s blog. @Element5Digital

How To Succeed At Content Marketing On A Small Budget

Here’s great news for your small business: You can succeed at content marketing without spending a fortune. In fact, you may be able to out-content market much larger competitors with much larger budgets. In this article, we’ll review a simple, focused approach to creating a content marketing campaign that is affordable and effective.

shutterstock_95024107Why You Will Succeed: Quality Trumps Quantity

Large companies sometimes turn content marketing into link building campaigns for SEO — putting the emphasis on the number of links, and hence the number of articles published. But whether for Google or people, high-quality content achieves the best results.

Small-business owners understand their business inside-out and know how to talk to customers and prospects. Thus, they are in a position to write highly authoritative and useful content — content that high-profile, influential websites and blogs in their niche are eager to publish. Such content holds several important benefits for small businesses:

  1. Improving brand image
  2. Establishing credibility
  3. Expanding brand awareness
  4. Generating sales leads and referrals
  5. Creating natural links that greatly improve the firm’s SEO visibility

shutterstock_164492432How to Succeed: A Hands-on Approach

The secret weapon to small-business content marketing is you. You know what to write about. You know how to write about it in ways that influence customer perception and action. You know the top publishing sites and may already have a dialog with some of them. Set realistic goals of publishing two articles per month and proceed as follows:

  • Set aside one to two hours per month to brainstorm topics with your team. Create a simple editorial detailing topics, key points and a target-publishing site for each article.
  • Set aside two to four hours per month to write two articles. Find an editor, either on staff or freelance, to edit as needed. The level of editing you need depends a lot on your writing skills; don’t be deterred if you are not a master writer. For more insight on editing, click here.
  • Set aside one to three hours per month to pitch your articles to publishing sites. You may be able to delegate this assignment to your top marketing person.
  • Task a staffer to monitor published articles. Keep track of the number of comments and social shares each article produces, as well as how many visits to your website were referred from publishing sites. Have this person alert you to any comments that need your response. Spend one hour per month reviewing performance data.
  • Continuously improve your efforts by looking for new publishing sites, and monitoring customer/prospect feedback and questions from whatever sources for new topic ideas.

This content marketing to-do list requires a little over one day a month from the writer (you) — and not much at all in the way of hard costs.

How to Succeed: Stay Focused on Off-site Articles

It’s tempting to expand into other types of content marketing once you’ve gotten your off-site article publishing off the ground. But take care: spreading yourself too thin could lead to mediocre execution on all fronts. Here are reasons not to venture out too quickly in certain content marketing avenues:

  • Social Media. You can labor for years to build a sizeable, engaged and relevant following on your own social media sites. Far easier is to piggyback on the established social media communities of your publishing sites.
  • Company Blog. An on-site blog is certainly a good thing, but doing it properly will consume a lot of internal resources. Effective blogs require the steady production of high-quality content and energetic marketing to develop an audience. Additionally, a blog should have an underlying SEO strategy that adds another layer of complexity and cost.
  • Visual Content. Infographics, video, slide presentations and photography have a huge “cool” factor and attract attention from valuable publishers. Nevertheless, visual content is expensive to produce and hard to do effectively, even with a substantial budget.

If you see your initial content strategy gain traction, based on lead generation, social shares, anecdotal evidence and other relevant factors, you can always expand. It’s a great problem to have — much better than trying to do too much and getting nowhere.

sn-brad-shorr-2Brad Shorr is the B2B Marketing Director of Straight North, an Internet marketing firm serving business of all sizes with their content marketing needs. You can read Brad’s work on Moz, Smashing Magazine, and About.com.

How to Repurpose Content in a Clearly Useful Way

You have read 100 times by now how important content is.  You have spent some time doing a bit of research on keywords and have a list of different content formats you know you need to create (blog, newsletter, podcast, email campaigns, advertising, the list goes on….) but the problem is:

This is a full-time job and you do not have the resources or time to sit at your computer and produce content all day, every day.

Sound familiar?  This is a dilemma that many small businesses go through.  They understand the need to be producing content, but are stuck on how to get it all done.

How can you get people to know, like, trust, try, buy, repeat and refer you using content in the most efficient way possible?

Repurpose, repurpose, repurpose.  This is one of my favorite words when it comes to content production.

To repurpose content is to give it a new life, gain exposure to new audiences and to save you time (which we all know is money).

Below are some examples on how to Repurpose Content:

Foundational Topic

  • Write a blog post on your core topic.  For example, 7 Steps to Small Business Marketing Success
  • Create an image for each of the 7 Steps and share one tip per day on social channels
  • Expand the blog post into 7 separate blog posts – one on each topic
  • Combine the posts and add an introduction.  Send off to a designer and have it turned into an eBook
  • Take the eBook and translate it to slides.  You know have your hour presentation.
  • Go even deeper and turn the hour presentation into a 1/2 workshop by adding action steps and worksheets to support your presentation.

You now have 8 blog posts, 7 social media posts, an eBook, an hour presentation and a 1/2 day workshop – from one core piece of content.

Podcast

  • Conduct a regular podcast with as many industry leaders as possible following monthly themes
  • Write a blog post on each interview
  • Send out the best tips on social media channels
  • Share the best interviews via a monthly newsletter
  • Combine the interviews and blog posts into a valuable online course or package them together to give out as a bonus for a different product purchase

You now have podcasts, blog posts, social media updates, newsletter content and an online course or package.

Client Questions

  • Have your support team monitor their inboxes for questions that come through
  • Compile the questions for an FAQ page
  • Pull out the best questions and turn them into individual blog posts
  • Expand the blog posts into an eBook – Best Questions from our Favorite Clients

You now have an FAQ page, blog posts, and an eBook – but most importantly somewhere for your support team to point customers towards when they need help answering those common questions.

Client Competition

  • Have your clients submit photos or videos using your product or implementing your services (in exchange for an incentive they would actually care about of course)
  • Retweet, repost, share the content they submit on all of your social channels
  • Request permission and use the content on your website – all the fun/exciting ways people are using what you offer
  • Develop sales material for your team to use that includes these testimonials/action shots

You now have momentum on social media, online referrals from your customers, content to share on your channels, content for your website, and sales materials.   Not to mention a fun way to get your clients involved in the promotional efforts.

The main thing to keep in mind here is every single time you create a piece of content, come up with a game plan on how you could get the most value possible.  To repurpose is to give you time back in your day – time to focus on the things you love such as running your business or hanging with your kids on the weekend.

Sara HeadshotSara Jantsch is the Director of Community at Duct Tape Marketing.  It is Sara’s job to see to all the little things that make our community members feel appreciated, informed, special and looked after.  She is also a Marketing Consultant and has a strong passion for working with small business owners.

 

 

The Most Excellent Qualities of Shareable Content

Today’s post is by Duct Tape Marketing’s Kala Linck – Enjoy!

You posted a picture of your new shoes on Facebook, and now the whole world is debating whether they are pink and green or red and yellow. 50 thousand shares, and umpteen million interactions. People are going to your Facebook page; most are even liking the page for updates on the real color of your new shoes… The alarm clock buzzes. Time to face reality.

Does this sound like a social media dream you’ve had? Ok, maybe not shoes, but having a piece of your content go viral? For this to happen, you’ve got to create shareable content. Your followers are looking for certain qualities in the content they share. If you’re not ensuring that your tweets, updates, blogs, etc. have those qualities, you’re ensuring that no one beyond your followers will ever see that information. Here are three qualities to consider including if you want to make that viral dream a reality:

Relatable

You’ve seen the tweets that say something along the lines of “I’m at Applebees,” or “I take good pictures.” While this sort of content might get some shares because of it’s comic undertones, many people cannot relate to this content, and some might even wonder why you’re sharing these updates.

With your content, instead provide something that people will relate to or use to help their daily routines, their business grow, etc. For example, “5 Ways to Make Your Instagram Photos Stand Out,” makes me want to share this information that I find valuable and think other might as well.

Refutable

If you haven’t noticed, people love to argue on social media. The most famous thing this year is a black and blue dress or was it gold and white? If you can get people passionate about something, and keep them talking – they will enlist the help of their followers, and the process will repeat.

Now, this might not be the kind of shareable content that you want. There is an art to having a debate happen and it being beneficial for the poster.

For example, you need your content to be less like this, “Why I Think Wisconsin Will Win the National Championship,” and more like, “We are thinking of offering training on-line in addition to our in-person training, what are your thoughts?” The comments that you get are likely to support a business decision, and this also gets people talking about your organization.

Relevant

This word comes up quite a bit when we’re creating content, and can seem like a buzzword at times. What does “stay relevant” really mean? By definition, it means “closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand.” A good starting point.

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

Photo courtesy of delightfuldisney.tumblr.com

What is important here is to figure out what exactly is the “matter at hand,” and then provide information pertaining to, or providing value for it. For example, on LinkedIn, a post that says, “2015 PowerPoint Presentations are now available on the website from those presenters who granted us permission to post their slides,” might be relevant if your following went on LinkedIn to find your PowerPoint presentation, but is that what they are looking for?

It would be my thinking that the first thing people would do when looking for said PowerPoint presentation would be to check on your website, or send an email to your organization.

A more relevant post for LinkedIn would look something like this: “Meet the VP that could be hiring YOU.” People get on LinkedIn to look up connections and jobs, and to find encouraging workplace content. Think about your audience and what they are really seeking on each social media platform, and that will help you create more relevant content.

There are lots of reasons that things go viral. Maybe they contain a cute baby or a puppy, or maybe they make you laugh or bring you to tears. More often than not, viral content pulls an emotion out of the reader or viewer. Making sure your content is relevant, refutable and/or relatable is a good way to start inviting those emotions that will make people want to share your content. And who knows, maybe your dreams of viral shoes will come true. What aspects of content make you want to share it?

Kala LinckKala Linck is the Community and Content Manager at Duct Tape Marketing. You can find her blogging her travels, praying for summer or tweeting about coffee and cats @tadasunshine.

Turning Leads Into Customers With an Email Autoresponder

Today’s Guest Post is by Jack Reamer – Enjoy!

Imagine if your marketing ran on autopilot…

You could sit back, kick your feet up and watch your sales go through the roof.

You could grow your business (and take that much-needed vacation) without worrying about how you’ll get your next customer.

Sounds good, right?

Now, you know that marketing isn’t that easy. But a good email autoresponder can bring you new customers like clockwork – even when you’re not working.

What is an email autoresponder?

An autoresponder is an automated series of emails that gives your leads value, draws them closer to your brand and eventually makes them buy what you’re selling.

Basically, it puts your email marketing on autopilot.

How can your business sell with an autoresponder?

Photo credit: Banquet hall via flickr (license)

Photo credit: Banquet hall via flickr (license)

Picture yourself in a 10,000 square foot banquet hall that’s packed with your potential customers.

You’re holding a microphone, and your potential customers are waiting to hear your best sales pitch. What would you say? What would you want them to know before they made a buying decision?

Those are your selling points. And as long as you have your lead’s attention, your email autoresponder can deliver your selling points just like this fictional banquet hall sales pitch.

You need to know two things to sell with an email autoresponder:

  1. What do your leads care about?
  2. What are your selling points?

If your autoresponder messages are about things your leads care about, they will open and read your emails. So earn their attention by sending emails that will help your leads solve a problem or reach a goal.

Then how do you sell? Easy. Just connect one of your selling points to each email.

Let’s look at an example:

Let’s say you’re a bookkeeping company that wants to turn your leads into customers with an autoresponder.

Your leads are busy small business owners who care about saving time running their business. And one of your selling points is you can save business owners one hour a week by doing their bookkeeping.

An email that would work well in your autoresponder is:

“How any business owner can save 5 hours this week”

Then, inside that email, give five time-saving tips for small business owners.

Make sure one of the tips talks about hiring a bookkeeper to instantly save 1 hour every week. (Include a link back to your website so your leads can click to learn more about your bookkeeping service.)

Why does this email work well?

  • It’s a topic your leads care about so it will get opened.
  • You provide five helpful tips so it will get read.
  • You tie your selling point to the email so your leads can click for more details.

Three email ideas for an autoresponder that sells:

1) Welcome Email

Use this email to get your leads to look forward to future emails (by telling them what’s coming up) and to ask, “what are you struggling with?” so you know exactly what your leads need help with.

2) Problem Solver

Help them solve a problem they’re struggling with. (Just make sure the problem relates to your business.) Give your leads helpful tips to establish your credibility and to prove you’re an expert.

3) Case Study

Talk about a past customer’s problems (and how you helped them solve it), so it’s helpful to your leads. Make sure to provide insights with this case study, but don’t forget to include a testimonial.

Have any questions about selling with email? Leave them in the comments, and I’ll answer each one.

Jack ReamerJack Reamer is an email marketing expert who specializes in helping B2B companies turn leads into customers with helpful & engaging emails. Jack shares actionable email marketing insights on his blog emailsthatsell.com. Want to bring in more sales with your emails? Click here to learn the four biggest mistakes business owners make with email marketing (and how to avoid them.)

5 Ways to Captivate Customers with Storytelling

Today’s guest post is from Corey Pemberton – Enjoy! 

Small businesses can’t match the marketing budgets of mega-corporations like Apple or Coca-Cola.

But maybe they don’t have to. They have another weapon in their arsenal that can help them level the playing field and stand out from competitors: storytelling.

Everyone has a story to tell

My Life Through Photograpy via Photopin.com

You can use storytelling to get your target customers’ attention and resonate with them on an emotional level. It works in every niche because it relies on human psychology instead of gimmicks.

Here are five ways to tap into the incredible power of storytelling to captivate customers:

5. Choose the Right Protagonist

Most businesses have spent a lot of time and money developing quality products or services. They’re understandably proud of what they’ve created. This creates a tendency to discuss what they’re selling at length.

But potential customers aren’t interested in your product or service taking center stage. They’re only interested in hearing about what you’re selling in a limited context: what it can do for them.

Choose the customer as the hero instead. Framing the story from their perspective helps you focus on what’s most compelling. It’s relatable because your marketing starts to sound exactly like the conversations already taking place in their heads.

4. Set High Stakes

Worrying about Middle Earth keeps us reading The Lord of the Rings. We keep watching The Devil Wears Prada to see if Anne Hathaway will ever stop suffering at the hands of her crazy boss.

Your agonizing decision between a ham or turkey sandwich, on the other hand, probably isn’t compelling enough to keep people interested. The stakes aren’t high enough.

A lot of your ideal customers are in a comfort zone of non-action. Many don’t even realize how much better their lives could be with your product or service in them.

What would happen if the “heroes” of your marketing stories don’t become customers? What if they do?

Make the stakes clear, and spell them out early on. By doing so, you give people a reason to keep listening—and encourage more to become buyers.

3. Appeal to Multiple Senses

Great storytellers pepper their stories with sensory details that spark the imagination; we feel like we’re really there, right in the middle of the action.

You can do this with your marketing too. Invoking the five senses paints a mental picture in people’s minds and gets them receptive to what you have to say.

A lot of businesses get bogged down marketing on strictly a logical level. That has a time and place, but it can bore people to tears if you don’t create an emotional connection first.

Use descriptive language and imagery to get your target customers seeing, feeling, hearing, smelling, and tasting how different their lives would be with your product or service. Then support that with logical selling points like features and technical specifications.

2. Start in the Middle of the Action

Do you think Saving Private Ryan would have been better if it started with a thirty-minute introduction about the history of the Third Reich?

Me neither. The movie grabs you from the start by dropping you right in the middle of the action: soldiers storming the Normandy beaches.

You have only a few seconds to capture someone’s interest. If you don’t, they’ll find one of your competitors instead.

What do your customers care about the most? What keeps them up at night? Lead with your strongest points—ones that shake them on an emotional level.

1. Begin with the End in Mind

Ask a lot of small business owners about their marketing goals, and they’ll fill your ears with warm and fuzzy answers like “repeat exposure” and “brand awareness.”

Those answers might work for corporations with huge marketing budgets. But they aren’t helpful for smaller businesses looking for an immediate return on investment.

It helps to start with the end in mind. For every marketing material you create, what concrete action do you want someone to take after engaging with it? It could be joining your email list, scheduling a consultation, trying your software, etc.

Understanding where you’re going, hones your focus; it keeps you from rambling and losing valuable attention.

So, how do you use storytelling in your marketing strategy?
corey pemberton duct tape marketingCorey Pemberton is a copywriter and blogger for hire. He uses storytelling strategies to help small businesses and software startups get more leads and customers online. Feel free to stop by his website or say hello on Twitter.

 

 

 

How to Incorporate Quizzes To Amp Up Your Content Marketing Reach

When you put together your annual content marketing strategy, you may not have incorporated quizzes — and that’s okay. However, that doesn’t mean it’s too late to update your content calendar with a quiz or two, because they are easy to put together using quiz software, and they generally require no help from your development team.

Where Does a Quiz Fit Into My Strategy? 

Before you decide which channels to promote your quiz, you should ask yourself, “What is my number one goal for this quiz?” 

In some cases, your top goal may be to drive a bunch of social traffic. Conservative website Media Research Center saw immediate success with their first two quizzes, resulting in nearly 100,000-page views between the two of them. The first one, “7 Questions All Marine Corps Fans Should Be Able To Answer“, has been taken more than 65,000 times, and the second one, “12 Simple American History Questions All Patriots Should Be Able To Answer“, has been taken 127,000 times.

In other situations, your goal should be to  convert existing visitors on your website into email subscribers or customers. In that case, placing the quiz on your homepage or a very popular page on your site makes a lot of sense.

For example, Zenni Optical placed a quiz on their site helping consumers decide which eyeglass frames were best suited for their specific budget and lifestyle. Over 140,000 people took the quiz resulting in 7,000 new email subscribers and a $124,000 increase in revenue! 

Zenni Optical

And Zenni Optical isn’t alone. When online collectibles retailer Sideshow Collectibles wanted to increase awareness for their Court of the Dead brand of collectibles, they decided to run a quiz. For their campaign, they created a quiz that invited fans to discover which fictional character from Court of the Dead best represented them.

Court of the Dead

The results? The quiz was taken over 27,000 times, brought in 15,000 new email subscriptions and generated 1,800 orders delivering $75,000 in revenue! Of those 1,800 orders, 1,220 were first-time customers! 

How to Make a Quiz Go Viral 

The recipe for making a quiz go viral may not be as complex as you think. Here are the ingredients you must have to make it work:

  • The quiz must be relevant to the audience. A quiz like, “Which season best represents you?” may not be the best way to promote your shoe company. You could instead ask a very relevant question such as “Which shoe represents your personal style?” Keep it relevant and simple.
  • There should be an incentive for taking the quiz. When Court of the Dead ran their quiz campaign, they offered a coupon and guaranteed entry into a giveaway. Keep in mind that not every incentive needs to be monetary. For example, if you’re a university looking to generate email leads for your English degree program, you can put together a grammar quiz and have your participants share the results for bragging rights. After all, being able to brag about your intelligence is a big incentive for many people.
  • The quiz must be user-friendly and mobile-friendly. One of the key elements for getting a quiz to go viral is to make it easy to take. Moving through the questions should be effortless and quick — on both desktops and mobile devices. Qzzr, a quiz software company, reports that roughly 53% of all quizzes being taken are on mobile devices! Don’t miss out on this big piece of the pie! Also, make sure the quiz is easy to share. Offer buttons for users to share on Facebook, Twitter, etc. once they reach the results page.
  • You must ensure people take the quiz. “If you build it they will come” is an outdated concept. The competition for your audience’s attention is too big to ignore. The burden to make your quiz campaign successful rests with you. Placing the quiz in a high traffic channel is the number one step towards generating desirable results. This may mean your homepage, your social media channels or even spending money building Facebook ads to direct traffic to the quiz.

The quickest way to fail is to not recognize a quiz campaign as a true marketing tactic. Similar to all of your other content, you must promote your quiz campaign and drive traffic to it. When you follow these steps, quizzes will become a staple of your content calendar for years to come.

Chris Kilbourn 1Chris Kilbourn is a content strategist at Qzzr, an online quiz tool that allows you to create quizzes and post them anywhere. In past lives, he was a professional rock star (seriously), and he built and sold 2 successful companies from the ground up. You can connect with him via email at [email protected].