‘Keep online quizzes local and true to life’

By Emily Hawkins contact

- Last updated on GMT

Online alternatives: publicans have been encouraged to look at how to incorporate online events with social distancing
Online alternatives: publicans have been encouraged to look at how to incorporate online events with social distancing

Related tags: Coronavirus

Jay Flynn, whose Virtual Pub Quiz broke a Guinness World Record earlier this month, shared his tips on running a successful online pub quiz, which include keeping question topics accessible and using word-of-mouth marketing.

At the beginning of March, Flynn quit his role as a tied tenant before the coronavirus problem had become a big issue in the UK but he still wanted to be involved in the on-trade in some way. 

He said it would be a while before normality returned and encouraged publicans to consider creating an online quiz if they had not already.

He advised: “I have kept it very simple, 50 questions split over five rounds and trying to keep it as broad as possible.”

Read the room

Flynn continued: “Avoid the niche subjects. Don’t put a Harry Potter round in if you have got loads and loads of people because not everyone might be into Harry Potter, or don’t put a sports round in if that’s not your audience. Try and know your audience.”

Keep online events as true to any real life predecessors as possible, he advised. “You go to your local pub quiz for socialising with your friends but also you like that quiz because of the quizmaster, so the quizmaster shouldn’t change. They should be true to themselves.” 

Many pubs have been hosting their quizzes for free or as a charity fundraiser, however, several have continued to charge a participation fee. Flynn’s advice for these operators is to ensure any third-party platforms are worth it.

He said: “If you go through a ticketing platform then you have to make sure you are going to get all the funds out of it. Ticketing platforms might charge you and take 10% of it. Really do your research to make sure that you do cover your costs with whatever you charge.”

Operators could send a link or Zoom password to anyone who has shown an interest an hour before and ask for a donation via PayPal. 

When it comes to marketing, Flynn recommended to stick to traditional means rather than investing in paid advertisements.

Loyal punters

He said: “There’s no better substitute than word of mouth and recommendation – asking your locals and regulars to share it. John who used to sit at the bar and just drink Guinness every night might have family in Yorkshire or in London and he shares it and someone there thinks ‘I’ll have a go’.”

Flynn is keen to work with pub companies and venues to encourage punters back into venues when they are allowed to reopen again, with a tour of his Thursday night quiz in the works.

He said: “The virtual stuff will still have a bit of a prominence because you won’t be able to put [big quizzes] on in a pub.

“Social distancing is going to massively change [pubs]. How can you have a quiz night, where you all need to be crowded around the table and be able to whisper? You can’t keep a two-metre distance with things like that.” 

However, he is confident people will return to quiz nights with the same zest as before in time. He concluded: “The majority of people doing these virtual events will be back in the pubs and bring others with them.”

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Related topics: Events & Occasions, UnitedWeStand

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