For the last four weeks, Food52 has been consistently cranking out quizzes that garner 10′s of thousands of views. Each Sunday without fail they release a quiz and within minutes it begins to spread on Facebook and Twitter, continuing to drive traffic right up to the next quiz. It seems they have mastered the art of quiz making, and so we decided to discover just what it is they are doing.
Here is how Food52 is creating killer quizzes like clockwork.
1. They make their quizzes hyper-relevant. Food52 is a foodie’s paradise, with recipes and pictures galore. The way they are able to manufacture such potent quizzes over and over again is that they are using the best of their existing content. Let me unpackage that a little bit – Food52 has thousands of recipes on their site from years of content creation. Each quiz they make helps you find a recipe that is right for you. They create the quizzes by picking the most popular recipes from the site and using those as the basis for the quiz.
This is a method of re-purposing great content, which I am a proponent of. Essentially they are re-surfacing great articles from the past by using a quiz to draw attention to them. Food52 knows the recipes were popular in the first place, so they are taking less risk with their quiz knowing that it will be popular.
2. They create questions you want to answer. Quizzes are 85% to entertain, 10% to inform, and 5% to sell. Sure, you are directed to check out an article that matches your personality after taking a quiz, but that’s not the only thing Food52 quizzes do. They create fun and thought-provoking questions with their quizzes that you want to answer. They also do a great job of keeping their quizzes short, the longest one they’ve got is 10 questions.
The best questions are a bit brash and forthcoming. They get the quiz taker thinking and engaged with the quiz, as well as excited to find out what their results might be. The questions should sound like your fun friend who’s a bit strange and is constantly asking off-the-wall things. This is called the Pub Rule, named after the Irish Post who said that you should never write anything that wouldn’t be appropriate to say in a pub with your mates.
3. They craft results that are irresistibly share-able. It’s a thing of beauty to look at a stream of tweets from very intelligent hard-working professionals who are excitedly sharing what type of cake they are.
Food52 understands that you must create snippets that are entertaining. Social networks are a popularity contest, the number of re-tweets or shares we get on a post can make or break a day. Every Food52 quiz result is designed for maximum likes and re-tweets.
While there is still no “viral button” that will magically turn your site into a traffic machine, there are tactics you can use to maximize the probability of success. For Food52 it was a combination of using already-popular content, writing fun questions, and planning for their quiz results to make quiz takers look like fun.