Quizzes Can Push Subscriptions or Act as Webinar or Data Drivers

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I just scored 5 out of 10 on Financial Times' FirstFT newsletter's weekly quiz. I did at least get the question on what percentage of fantasy sports players are women—7%, 15% or 29%. (See below or take quiz yourself here.)

This is an excellent lead generation device. When you answer the question, it tells you right or wrong and then gives you a short description from an article covering it that week in FT. At the end, it doesn't call me anything funny for my weak score—although I'm certainly not tweeting it like they suggest—but it does give links to a fuller story in the FT for each answer. When I click on one of those stories, it takes me to a payment page. The catch is that you have to be a subscriber.

The FT has also started conducting polls in FirstFT "in an effort to encourage readers to interact more regularly with its content and ultimately increase subscriber retention," Lucinda Southern writes in Digiday today. "'It's new for us to be thinking of the newsletter platform for community building; we're working out what that looks like,' said Renée Kaplan, head of audience and new content strategies at the FT. '... When people are more committed and have a sense of belonging to a community, they open more frequently and become all the more valuable.

"The overarching question is how do we use newsletters and the audience we have around these topics and products to build not just followers but also community,'" added Kaplan.

Here are other publisher quiz initiatives:

Education Week launched their quizzes in spring of 2017 using a 3-month sponsorship model with 8-10 questions per quiz. The product's success moved them to a 1-month sponsorship model as they were able to hit their lead targets more quickly than anticipated. "We set goals for our first year that included number of sponsorships, percentage of quiz completions, percentage of people completing the quiz filling out the registration form and becoming a lead, and overall leads generated," said Dave Rosenzweig, product manager, Education Week Press. "In each of these areas, we exceeded our goals including nearly 90% quiz completions and around 60% of people completing the quiz filling out the registration form."

The Pew Research Center came up with a fun and informative quiz on science topics. It leads into a poll they did on the subject. "The analysis of the findings from the poll can be found in the full report, 'What Americans Know About Science.' " Science is not my specialty so I did not risk embarrassing myself, plus they don't give you the answers until the end.

Kiplinger has a seemingly endless section of mostly evergreen quizzes on their website: Can You Answer Jeopardy's Trickiest Investing Questions? Does Insurance Cover That? Can You Match the Famous Mascot to the Cereal? "Quizzes educate people, and one of our goals is to educate people."

Randall-Reilly asks people to take their "quiz," though it works more as a survey, so they can provide "recommendations for reaching your specific audience and accomplishing your goals." Question 10 states, "In order to send your free plan, we'll need to know how to get in touch. Please enter your contact information below."

In 2015, OPIS did their research and designed a simple but tough seven-question quiz to stump readers and convince them to register for a webinar. The copy implied that if you did not know the answers, you would have a tough time preparing and complying with new regulations. This was "our most creative email [in the series] and also the best performing"—bringing in 29% of the registrations, CEO Brian Crotty said. They also have an OPIS Product Finder Quiz. "Are you using the correct pricing tool for your fuel business? Price transparency is key to effective fuel buying... Download this infographic and take the quiz to determine which OPIS rack pricing solution best matches your wholesale fuel buying needs."

(For the question at the top, 29% of fantasy players are women.)

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Ronn Levine began his career as a reporter for The Washington Post and has won numerous writing and publications awards since. Most recently, he spent 12 years at the Newspaper Association of America covering a variety of topics before joining SIPA in 2009 and SIIA in 2013 as editorial director…