GREAT IDEAS

Here’s some trivia: What’s worth your while? Quizzes

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Reprinted from GateHouse Newsroom

You've got a whole checklist of things to do, so why carve time out of your busy schedule to post a quiz on your website?

You might be surprised at the return on time investment.

For example, despite all the hard-hitting, in-depth journalism the New York Times did in 2013, the most popular story on the Times' website that year was this quiz.

During a recent installment of the GateHouse Professional Development Series, Penny Riordan, the director of digital content partnerships for GateHouse Media, said that quizzes are an easy way to engage readers. Here's a quick takeaway from her presentation:

1. MAKE THEM TIMELY

Striking when the iron is hot – using a presidential history quiz, for example, just days before the elections – is a way to draw people into your site, and get them more engaged in the rest of the content on your page.

"The cool thing about Second Street quizzes is they have some seasonal and out of the box quizzes that you can take turnkey," Riordan said. "If you're looking for something around the NCAA College Basketball Tournament, or Valentine's Day, they have all these quizzes that are available and you can embed on your site. It's a great way to quick and easy content that's probably going to drive a lot of traffic."

2. MAKE TIME FOR THEM

Again, it might seem like an extra chore, but in fact, these are the small pieces that will keep people on your site.

"Something to keep in mind with quizzes, it actually increases the time on the story page, which is a big benefit, obviously, from an advertising perspective," Riordan said.

And the quizzes don't need to be groundbreaking, just entertaining. For example, the Patriot Ledger of Quincy, Massachusetts, used this quiz called "Are you smarter than an 11th grader?" as part of an advance article on a new game show starring local students.

3. CREATE A CAMPAIGN

As part of an upcoming GateHouse campaign on breast cancer awareness called "Paint it all Pink," the company's marketing arm created trivia quizzes based on breast cancer facts, as well as a personality quiz.

"We feel really great about quizzes," said Rebecca Capparelli, the executive director of promotions for GateHouse Media. "It also brings a deeper level of engagement with the advertising for our sponsors and it also brings an opportunity for us to grow databases. Whenever we can grow engagement and grow revenue together, that's a win-win."

Tim Schmitt, project manager with GateHouse Media, has spent decades in various newsrooms – some print and some broadcast. He was a sports reporter, news reporter and then managing editor of his hometown paper, the Tonawanda (N.Y.) News, where he led an award-winning editorial page. He's worked as an editor, staffer or longtime contributor with the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff, the Mesa Tribune, the Arizona Republic, the alt-weekly Buffalo Current and the Niagara Falls Gazette, where he was executive sports editor over four dailies – spearheading coverage of the Buffalo Bills and Sabres. He also worked as a weekend anchor and reporter at Buffalo's ABC-TV affiliate, WKBW, and was the news director of WLVL-AM in the Buffalo market, where he hosted a daily two-hour talk show covering local politics and current events. He moved to Austin to join GateHouse in early 2015.

Schmitt, quizzes

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