The Rise of the Survey: Using the Buzzfeed Model to Create Content

Posted on April 8, 2014 by Sarah S

Love ’em or hate ’em, Buzzfeed-style surveys stormed — and conquered — the Interent in 2014.

Social media feeds are littered with information such as whether your friend is Hermione Granger or Luna Lovegood or what each person’s dialect says about them. The dialect quiz was published by the New York Times on Dec. 21, 2013. At the end of the year, it was the most popular piece on the site, beating out journalistic pieces about the Boston marathon bombings and Putin’s Sept. 2013 op-ed.

The New York Time’s quiz and a Buzzfeed quiz published on Jan. 16, 2014 are credited with launching the current fad. The Buzzfeed quiz, which was titled, “What city should you actually live in?” is still counting views after reaching over 20 million. Buzzfeed reports that traffic to the quiz is 75 percent social media driven, illustrating the power of interactive content for word-of-mouth audience building. Though businesses aren’t all going to generate millions of new views, content writers can engage readers in creative ways by taking a page from Buzzfeed.

Why are Surveys so Popular?

To create surveys that engage readers in an organization’s blog, writers must understand why quiz and survey style pieces are so popular. First, they are usually easy to read and fun. They offer entertainment, information, or both in a quick, sharable structure. Surveys also make content more about the reader than the writer or publisher, which resonates with audiences.

How to Create Survey Posts for Businesses or Organizations

Creative writers can tie surveys or quizzes to any industry by following a few steps.

  1. Identify the target audience — are readers general consumers, fans, niche shoppers, professionals such as doctors or accountants, business owners, or others?
  2. Identify something about the business that may be of interest to readers and has multiple levels, products, or points of view. For example, taxes are always a good topic on an accounting blog.
  3. Select a question the survey answers. An accounting blog targeting small business owners could ask, “What Type of Tax Payer is Your Business?”
  4. Create three or more results for the survey. The tone of the blog should guide your results. The accounting blog results might be “By the book,” “By the seat of the pants,” and “By the way, did you pay your taxes last year?”
  5. Write questions that incorporate informational aspects about the business, products, or services. Use multiple choice questions — the number of answer options for each question should equal the number of results you created for the quiz.
  6. Use a survey creation service like PollDaddy to make scoring as easy as possible. You can also create manual scoring by giving each answer option a value that corresponds to one of the results. Readers add their score up to see which category they fall into.
  7. Write an informative or funny summary for each result option.

Keep questions and answers as short as possible. Using a free quiz-creation service helps ensure your quiz or survey is readable and shareable. Don’t forget to wrap the post up with an invitation to share the results on a social media network, which could inspire others to visit the blog and take the quiz for themselves.

Sarah S creates content for businesses in a variety of niches, including healthcare, accounting, and technology. When not typing frantically, she enjoys hiking, reading, and a hot cup of tea. While working on this post, Sarah saw six Facebook posts about which Disney princesses her friends were.


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