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I was playing a game called concept over the holidays this year. In the game you place markers on various pictures on a board in an effort to convey a concept to the other players. As the person who knows what the concept is, it’s extremely silly to watch people to desperately to guess something as simple as “Lion” without knowing what you know. Once the concept is revealed there is inevitably a collective sigh as everyone realizes how ridiculous their guesses were.

With quizzes I often feel like the person who knows the concept while potential customers guess wildly at how the interactive pieces are put together. Quizzes (interactive content) are a concept that seems complicated to do until you know how they are formed, and then they are really simple.

Because marketers often assume quizzes are complicated, they’ll hire out developers to handle the formation of pieces (we’ve seen several Elance postings asking to replicate Interact quizzes). However, the risk with doing this is that it’s firstly really expensive, and secondly, if you have a good success you have to go back to the developer to replicate the quiz.

Rather than go through all that trouble, let’s look at how you can build amazing interactive pieces from your existing content portfolio without so much hassle.

Example 1: Zagat

The original food ratings company continues their reign as the top recommender of all things food by creating interactive pieces that tie in their existing content. That sentence basically means that Zagat is using quizzes to create social media worthy content out of their existing restaurant pages.

Now I want to take a step back and think about this quiz idea for a second. Zagat as a company could simply share the various restaurant pages they have on social networks and drive engagement that way, but it’s not exactly a groundbreaking idea. What they did instead of was feature the various pizza places in a quiz format and they ended up with an interactive piece that was not only great for Facebook and Twitter, but also share-worthy for their visitors.

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Diving a little bit into the strategy behind how this quiz got built, we see that it’s a 5-question personality type quiz that’s been adapted to the pizza world. The questions have to do with food, but also start to get you thinking about how these random questions (like what kind of trends you are into) can help decide what kind of pizza you should eat.

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At the end of the quiz is a link to check out the recommended pizza place. I personally have so much respect for this because pizza is delicious. But going back to my first point about creating content that’s worth sharing, it’s much easier to share a quiz result that says you are recommended Margherita at Juliana’s than to just share Juliana’s pizza parlor. These quiz results bridge the gap between wanting to share your favorite pizza joint and actually having a good reason to share it.

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Example 2: Forbes

Forbes invests in the quality of their content. They have some amazing tools on their site that aren’t super well known but provide a ton of value. One such tool is their college adviser, which tells you which schools you should apply for based on a set of criteria. A tool like the College Adviser isn’t cheap, and I can think of more than one startup that focuses solely on doing exactly what the college adviser does.

After investing heavily in a tool like that, Forbes is incentivized to drive traffic and users into it. One way they are doing this is with an awesome quiz called “Find your perfect match” The quiz asks a variety of questions and then provides a link to the college adviser tool, which is pre filled out based on which quiz result you get.

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The quiz plays out more like a game than anything. It’s full of images and pop culture questions that look like something you’d see on a game show. These questions aren’t overly difficult to make, and this quiz took less than three days to create (not working full time on it). Most of the images are of popular culture icons and the questions help to start segment your interests so the quiz can recommend one of the sets of schools in the quiz.

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Once you get to the results the average quiz taker is pretty curious about what this all means. After all you’ve just answered questions about which celebrity you want to hang out with and now you’re being told what kind of college you should go to. That’s exactly why this quiz makes perfect sense though, because the results link out to the college adviser tool from Forbes, which recommends specific schools. The quiz itself is just a top of the funnel tool to get people from search engines trying to find “college quiz” and gives those people an entertaining tool to play with that links to the end product – the Forbes College Adviser tool.

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Example 3: Red Lobster

The Red Lobster is a forward thinking restaurant that is constantly innovating their content. Every year they do an endless shrimp promotion where they offer unlimited gourmet shrimp at a reasonable price. They have all kinds of delicious shrimp offerings, and it’s a lot to use for marketing. This year, instead of promoting each kind of shrimp on its own, The Red Lobster made a quiz to find out which kind of shrimp you are most like.

The strategy didn’t take any extra content work, the types of shrimp were already in place and being heavily publicized as part of the campaign, the quiz was a re-purposing act.

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The questions are simple but profound. The quiz looks more like a serious personality test than a fun Facebook piece, but that’s part of what makes it so special. You are finding out what kind of shrimp you are, but the quiz asks how you find inspiration, it’s goofy but amazing all at once.

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Once you find out what kind of shrimp you are, you’ve become very involved in the quiz because of how seemingly serious the questions are. If you read the results descriptions, you’ll find nothing but positivity, and that’s no mistake. Turns out when you are nice to people that translates into sharing. Over 200,000 people like this quiz on Facebook, making it one of the top Facebook posts in the history of The Red Lobster.

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The strategy used by The Red Lobster is available to so many brands who are running social campaigns. Whether it’s different types of shrimp or different brands of golf clubs, companies often have a variety of ¬†product offerings that can be turned into a quiz rather easily with some personality type magic. Quizzes have much more social sharing power than the products themselves and can help propel your brand into the social world.

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