Everyone loves a list. Whether it’s a to-do list to keep your day on track, a list of life goals, or just a list for popping to the shop, lists are life. So it makes sense that listicles would become one of the most popular formats for online articles. In this blog post, we’ll show you how to write a listicle that will engage your readers and deliver quality content.
What is a listicle?
It’s easy to define listicle: listicle is an article formatted as a list. You’ll have seen them everywhere, but they’re particularly popular on Buzzfeed. They cover an astonishing variety of topics. Everything from wellness tips and must-visit restaurants to top dog photos of the week and must-read webcomics can be found as a listicle.
Why is the listicle format so popular?
You’ve probably heard of the 15-second rule, which claims you have 15 seconds to grab your reader’s attention before they leave your website. There’s even been a study carried out by the Technical University of Denmark which suggests the human attention span has narrowed due to the wealth of information available to us now. This means it’s more important than ever to capture your reader’s attention as quickly as possible.
A listicle is a great way to do that. Readers want to click on a site and be able to scan the page quickly for the information they’re after. If they see the listicle format, they’ll know they can easily digest the information on offer.
How to write a listicle
We’ve put together our top tips on how to write a listicle that will impress your readers. Let’s get started!
1. Set out your intentions from the start
You’ll notice that we told you in the title of this blog post how many tips we’d be giving you. That was intentional. Readers like to know what they’re in for when they click on an article. This is a good chance for you to get specific and show off your niche knowledge.
Titles are the first thing a reader sees, so it’s essential that you craft the perfect title. Take a look at some of these for some inspiration.
If you’re an expert in your field or a well-known name, include that for clout. People also want easily actionable items, so ‘simple’ is also a buzzword to include if you can.
2. Stay on topic
Okay so the listicle might be a bit of a fun and superficial format, but that doesn’t mean you only have to write lighthearted or funny listicles. That wouldn’t be appropriate for your accounting blog.
A listicle is just an effective way of presenting digestible information. You can 100% write a listicle about the ‘Top 10 Accountancy Software Tools You Need To Be Using’. It’s all about appealing to your target audience, whoever that may be.
3. Keep it fresh
While you don’t want to veer completely off topic, you do need to keep your content original and engaging. Brainstorm listicle blog ideas to come up with new articles. Remember making mind maps at school? Those are a great way to brainstorm exciting listicle ideas.
With millions of new blog posts uploaded every month, it’s crucial that you don’t just regurgitate what thousands of other bloggers are putting out there. There are tonnes of listicle examples out there – you need to make yours stand out.
We’ve all seen hundreds of ‘50 Best Restaurants in Manhattan You Need to Try’. Get specific and demonstrate to your reader that you have something new to offer. ‘The 20 Best Restaurants in Manhattan for Brunch with Perfectly Instagrammable Tables’? Now we’re talking.
4. Avoid misleading your reader
Clickbait titles are a huge no-no. We’ve all been tricked into clicking on those articles – ‘10 Weight Loss Tips You’ve NEVER Heard Of – Number 9 WILL SHOCK YOU’. These might sound flashy, but most people know by now to avoid these kinds of articles.
Let your content speak for you, rather than trying to lure a reader in with an outrageous title, only for them to leave disappointed. The probability of them then returning to your website will be low. Building a brand is partly about building trust with your clients. This includes providing them with high-quality articles – and listicles!
5. Make it visually pleasing
It’s easy to make your post look appealing, and it will help your reader stick around for longer too. Try to keep the body of all your points around the same length. Having one point with two lines beneath it followed by a second with three paragraphs will look jarring and inconsistent.
It’s also a good idea to use images. A lot of websites these days are very visually focused, which appeals to younger readers. Images also help break up chunks of text to make your listicle even more readable! This works even better if your listicle includes cute animals.
This Stylist piece is a perfect example of good imagery use, and all of the text in the body is around the same length for each entry.
6. Know when to stop
When you’re writing something fun and exciting, it can be easy to get carried away. But don’t forget, content length does have an impact. Obviously it depends on your topic, but generally we wouldn’t suggest going above 20. The more entries you have, the more difficult it will be to create meaningful, engaging content for each point.
A higher number also might result in people only skimming your list rather than engaging with it properly. But with that in mind…
7. Make your listicle digestible
This is one of the main points when it comes to how to write a listicle. The USP of a listicle is its readability. Ideally, the reader should be able to glean all of the information from the headings. Avoid making the body of each entry too long as well.
Someone could skim the headings of this blog post and come away with the key facts on how to write a listicle. Obviously you would like the reader to appreciate the effort you put into expanding your points, but sometimes that’s not how the internet works!
8. Finish strong
Don’t just leave your listicle hanging on your last entry. Every blog post you upload should finish with a strong call to action. Otherwise, your reader will just exit the page after finishing the list, with no conversion to sales or new email sign ups. Your reader should always finish reading an article on your blog and feel inspired to do something afterwards.
9. Avoid the pitfalls
You might think that writing a listicle is ‘easy’ and not give it the same amount of effort you would with a 2000-word, in-depth article. This is a mistake. Although the listicle format is fun, you still want to give something of value to your reader. They need to take something away from it, whether that’s a few new restaurants to visit or some new tips for knocking out a killer blog post.
You also don’t want to try to force a topic into a listicle that would be better off as a regular article. Chopping up a 2000-word article and attempting to force it into a list will only result in a clunky and unreadable mess. Know your format and know which topics will work with it.
You’re ready to write a perfect listicle
Embody these tips and you’ll be crafting fabulous listicles that will enhance your blog or website. Above all, the most important things to remember are finding your niche, offering your clients something of value, and keeping it easy to read and digest!
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