How to Write Quiz Titles that Actually Get Clicked

Untitled design (1)Think you can’t judge a book by its cover? Well, the world of Internet marketing dictates otherwise.

So what’s in a title? In short, everything.

Consider this:

In today’s digitally-driven environment, your title is what separates you from your audience. If it’s a good one, it’s that essential bridge you need to your audience. It’s what lures in readers, causes them to take a second glance at your content, and compels them enough to click.

Once your targeted user makes the all-important click, you’re that much closer to having them do what you want, whether it’s reading more about your product or entering their information for your email list.

But getting them to click is the hard part, and it ultimately comes down to the headline.

Amateur marketers (and even experts) often spend a massive amount of time to create the perfect piece of content, only to realize they’ve run out of steam once it comes time to decide the title. They’ll proceed to casually inserting something in, viewing the headline as more of a placeholder than as a pivotal part of their marketing strategy.

Big mistake.

If there’s one place you should focus the majority of your attention, it’s on the title. There’s a 50/50 rule in marketing that’s become popular among expert content creators. The rule recommends that content producers spend 50% of their time crafting the title, and 50% on the body of the content. It’s a fascinating and somewhat foreign concept to many, even veterans in content creation.

If you can’t get the click, however, it doesn’t matter how amazing the rest of your content is.

Nobody’s going to see it.

If we’re going to put this in terms specific to lead generation quizzes, without an incredible title your audience isn’t going to take your quiz. Therefore, you won’t get social shares or collect leads.

So what does a good title achieve?
  1. Purpose. A good title lets your audience know what they’re getting into. The idea of a bait-and-switch isn’t a good one in content marketing. Your goal should be to cultivate a sense of trust between your organization and your audience. How can you do that if you’re tricking them into clicking something? If you want good, qualified leads, there’s no point in adding titles to your content that aren’t relative or are deceptive. You want to be straightforward and honest. Give your reader an accurate idea of what they’re going to be clicking on.
  2. Efficiency. You have only a few minutes to capture attention. That’s why your title should be short and to the point. If you convince your audience to click, you may have a bit more time to lure them in, but with that initial title, time is of the essence.
  3. Emotion. A powerful title should make your audience feel something. When you can trigger an emotional response, you’re more likely to draw in users and get your posts clicked. We’ll talk more about this later on.

Up to this point, we’ve been focusing on the general importance of titles in content marketing. Now, it’s time to move to something more specific, which is how to create the perfect title for your marketing quiz.

All of the same concepts hold true as were mentioned at the start of this post, but there are some specific tips and guidelines you can follow to transform your lead generating quiz from barely noticeable, to something that’s as shared as a Buzzfeed quiz.

The Concept Phase

Before you can put together the all-important title, you’ll begin with a concept phase.

Take a page from Upworthy’s book. One of the leaders in viral content, the Upworthy team will spend hours and come up with dozens of titles—at least 25 possible options—before they decide on one.

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During the concept phase, consider the following, which can be used as a framework for putting a concrete title together:

  • Who are you trying to reach? Are you going for a quiz that’s general or specific? You have to define your audience and your targeted personas before you can craft a quiz headline that’s going to appeal to them. Why? How will you appeal to someone if you don’t know who they are? Your audience is going to dictate how broad or specific your references can be, and how you can pull on their emotional heartstrings for maximum impact. Think about not just who your audience is, but what interests motivates them, and what they find entertaining. All of these factors won’t just help you create a title, but will help you develop a quiz that feels like a friendly conversation. You also need your title to be relevant to your users’ experiences and knowledge. If your quiz is pop culture related, for example, will your audience “get” your references?
  • What objective will your quiz fulfill? Quizzes aren’t all fun and games, particularly when it comes to goal-based content marketing and lead generation. You want them to feel as if they are to users, but they should achieve real and specific objectives. How do you determine these? You can look quite a few places. Look at your own social media channels and blog comments. What is your audience talking about? What quiz title would speak to their conversations, questions and interests? You can also look around at your competitors and see where their content is focused. You might also turn to big data and analytics to discover quiz titles that might garner the most interest.
  • What type of quiz will you create? There are two primary types of quiz styles: the personality test and the trivia test. With a personality quiz, you’re giving your audience the opportunity to learn more about themselves. These tests can include comparisons to celebrities or any other content that shows your audience some trait, characteristic or unique element about themselves. These quizzes are great for marketing and also sharing because they tend to make users feel good about themselves, by comparing them to something or someone they might find aspirational. Trivia quizzes are just as the name would imply—they test the audience’s knowledge, but in a similar fashion to the personality style, you still want your audience to feel good, smart or as if they’ve accomplished something by completing your quiz. Both of these quiz styles focus on the “you,” or the individual, specific person you’re meant to be speaking to.
  • Where will your quiz be shared? How do you want it to be promoted? You’ll want to craft your headline around these concepts, as much as around your audience, because this is how you have the chance to become a viral sensation.

Let’s move on to some more specifics of title creation for quizzes.

Types of Quiz Titles

We touched on this a bit already, but it’s worth going into detail to cover the kinds of titles that work well for lead generation quizzes.

The “Actually” Title

We’ve seen these quiz titles everywhere. These quizzes ask you to reveal a truth about yourself, whether it pertains to your personality or your knowledge. For example:

  • How much do you actually know about _?
  • What type of _ are you actually?
  • What should you actually be doing? or How should you actually be living?
The Comparison

These titles make a comparison between the person taking the quiz, and someone or something. The comparison should be a flattering one, otherwise, why would quiz-takers want to share it with their social media audiences?

  • What celebrity are you most like?
  • What type of food are you?
  • What type of friend, person, parent, etc. are you?

Both the actually and the comparison quiz evoke a self-serving bias, which means you’re telling people good things about themselves. People like to hear good things about themselves, thus the success of marketing quizzes.

The Knowledge Test

While perhaps not as widely used as the comparison and actually quiz title styles, knowledge and trivia quizzes can also prove useful to marketers.

With this type of quiz title you’re asking users to challenge themselves, and social media users love that concept of taking on a challenge and proving just how much they know.

This quiz title style is great for sharing, because users can not only share their own expertise but when posed as a fun-yet-engaging question, you’re going to draw users in.

After all, who can resist the chance to prove you know it all?

Current vs. Evergreen Titles

When you’re creating a quiz title, this is an important area to consider as well. Do you want your quiz to be alluring because it’s current or time-centric in some way? Think about the distinction between currently relevant content and evergreen titles.

Perhaps you want to appeal to trendsetters, or you wish to bring some element of current events into your quiz. This can be good in terms of short-term engagement although this style of quiz title isn’t going to remain fresh and relevant over the long-term, so you might not want to embed this as a tab on your Facebook page.

For that type of quiz, you want to look instead for evergreen titles, which are those headlines that will always remain relevant and have no shelf life. These titles can be more general and without the mention of current events or references that could date them.

Emotion Evoking Titles

The idea of creating an emotion in your titles and general content marketing concepts is so crucial it’s spawned it’s own fancy term: Emotional Marketing Value (EMV), which can be assigned a score.

Research continues to show that posts with a higher emotional value score get shared more.

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When you’re creating your quiz titles you can even easily calculate your EMV score using the Advanced Marketing Institute tool, which offers a free emotional value headline analyzer tool.

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It’s quite simple and shouldn’t take more than a few seconds to enter your headline and get your score.

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It’s also worth mentioning that content (including quizzes), associated with positive emotions get the most shares. Other emotions that are good to speak to with quiz titles include anticipation and surprise. These are some of the inherently appealing elements of a good quiz. Your audience is dying to know their results, which is why they click on your headline, why they answer the quiz questions and why they’re pretty likely to share their information in exchange for their results.

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When you’re crafting a headline, use action words or trigger words to evoke emotions. Here’s a handy list of 317 of the most powerful words to elicit emotions, which you can use to come up with your next quiz title and boost your EMV score.

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Keep It Concise

To wrap it all up, and summarize this guide to creating the best lead generating quiz titles, we’ll leave you with this final tip: keep it short and to-the-point.

We touched on the importance of accuracy in the start of this guide, and that’s pivotal to the perfect quiz title.

Along with relevancy, keep it short and simple.

We’ll again have you think about those BuzzFeed quizzes that have become a phenomenon. The titles have a few things in common: a self-serving bias, an emotional element, and they’re short and simple. Although the strategy may differ slightly when aiming for lead generation, the same core values hold true.

Just because some best practices come into play when crafting a quiz title doesn’t mean you have to overthink it and end up with something that’s long, complex, or confusing.

You want a clear and concise title that sums up your quiz, challenges your audience, and is compact enough to be easily shareable.

Use your title as an opportunity to frame users’ expectations. Let them know what type of outcome they’ll get, and don’t leave them guessing.

There you have it—our comprehensive guide to creating quiz titles that’ll get clicked and drive traffic. Once you follow these tips and develop your own formula, you can use it as a template for all your future quizzes and even other forms of content. Coming up with that fantastic title isn’t luck—it’s science, so put our tips into practice and see what kind of results you achieve.