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How to Write Listicles: The Dream Formula Every Content Marketer Wants To Know

PLUS Bonus Training: How To Write Listicles The Easy Way with Jasper.ai

You'll be amazed how many people ask, "how do I write a listicle?" or even "what the heck is a listicle?"


People often disparage list articles, and it's understandable, considering that there are more and more low-quality posts floating around these days, and it seems like anything goes. However, not all list posts need to be low-quality.

In fact, I firmly believe that listicle articles have a place in the world of high-quality blog content.


How to write a listicle

In this post about writing a listicle, you'll learn what they are and how to write them, listicle topics for inspiration, and tips on getting creative with your own ideas.



But first, what exactly are Listicles?


Listicles are a form of content that uses a list as its thematic structure, often titled "Ultimate Guides" or "Top Ten Lists."


The numbered lists often feature odd numbers in cardinal number format. For example, the number 10 in the title is followed by the requisite number of subsequent subheadings within the text itself.


Numbers help readers by providing them with expectation management so that they know exactly what they are getting into. Additionally, it seems that the larger the number in the headline, the better the post spreads - SEO guru Neil Patel

Writing listicles with AI

As more and more marketers compete for the number one spot in search engine results pages (SERPs), successful listicles use higher numbers to get noticed.


While there is no defined standard of how many items to include when writing a listicle, it's essential to keep in mind that you don't want the reader to become bored or frustrated with too few items. At the same time, remembering not to include so many list items that they lose interest.


Why are Listicles so popular?

They are incredibly accessible for readers, meaning they can quickly get to the content they want or need, as they don't have to slog through paragraphs of text. The list items answer their query.


Readers like them because it's a fun format that adds a little whimsy to their day. They also provide value because readers can quickly learn something or gain insight into a subject.


You can be as creative as you want with your listicle content, which means that you have the potential to reach a massive audience.


What can list articles be about?

Listicles can be on nearly any topic you want to cover. However, they are particularly successful in the realms of pop culture and entertainment. Topics can include music, movies, books, television shows, history, and even science.


Product review list articles are an affiliate marketer's dream. By keeping the focus within your niche, you can include fewer items yet still make a huge impression.



Listicle examples

What are the main benefits of using listicles?

They make it easy for users to quickly scan through your content and gain valuable knowledge or information.


According to BuzzSumo, the four most popular types of list posts on social media include Top Ten Articles (list-style), How-to posts, Fact posts, and Infographics.

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List posts, in particular, get massive social traction. Posts like this are easy to digest and fun to read.


Readers may also add their own commentary when they share such an article on social media.



Examples of listicles


Who publishes listicle articles?

Listicles are written by content creators - mainly bloggers and journalists.


Affiliate marketers use them to provide potential readers with information about products they are trying to sell. They utilize the strategy of providing an audience with valuable content before asking them to make a purchase.


They have been a popular form of content marketing in the blogging world for quite some time but exploded in popularity due to examples such as BuzzFeed's "9 Animals With Bizarre Noses," which went viral in 2014. Followed by more recent posts such as "15 Pics Of Unusual Animals That Will Make You Say "Wait, What IS That?"

Examples of fun listicles

What makes them unique is that they tell a story using a list, providing an interesting way to create content that people want to share because they are quick, easy to read, and visually appealing.


Interesting fact: Listicles work best when written at a 4th-grade level.


How can you use listicles?

Listicles work in almost any industry or niche.


For example, if you are looking to sell a product on the less expensive end of the spectrum, "20 Best Gifts for Him Under $20" might give your product more exposure than "The 12 Best Gifts For Your Boyfriend This Christmas."


Most listicles are also helpful for squeezing keywords into your content, as they allow you to incorporate more keywords into your post with less content.


They are also helpful in increasing the time spent on your website, as users remain engaged with the post for longer than they would with a conventional blog post. You can also turn your listicle into an ebook to use as a lead magnet and grow your email list!


What's the downside of using list format articles?

On the other hand, listicles can be detrimental to some niches.


Listicles are helpful if you want to attract new visitors, but for users looking for something very specific, listicles don't always deliver. Writing a great listicle won't help your website if it doesn't answer the search intent.


The 6 Step Guide To Exactly What A Listicle Blog Post Should Include.


List posts are one of the best ways to generate link clicks and social shares. Many of the most widely read content marketing articles of all time are in list format.


Example of a listicle blog

Listicles aren't just easy content.

Considered "evergreen" content, meaning they'll remain relevant for years to come, listicles are written as click-worthy headlines that compel your audience to take action.


The internet is an extremely competitive place, and readers won't bother reading something if it doesn't look interesting right away. A listicle "hooks" the reader with a catchy, attention-grabbing headline and keeps them engaged for the duration of the article, as they're reading information that is enjoyable and easy to digest.


Listicles are broken down into several key points to make them fun for the reader, with each point summarized in a few sentences.


They also include a call-to-action at the end so you can get your audience's contact information and grow your mailing list - a great example of a lead generation tactic, BTW - or direct them to make a purchase via a link.



What does an effective listicle entail?

There are 6 essential components of successful listicles:


1. Keep the titles short and straight to the point.


2. Use action verbs in the title, for example, "boost your blog traffic" or "expand your brand influence."


3. You can include a number in the title to help increase click-through rates. For example, "19 Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic" is more likely to get clicked on than "Nineteen Ways to Boost Your Blog Traffic."


4. Make sure your content is informative and new. Be original with your own post, and don't feel the need to regurgitate existing blog posts that are already shared all over the web.


5. Use at least one image in all the points you make. People love visuals, for example, photos, charts and graphs, infographics, and more.


6. Make sure your list has a clear beginning, middle, and end. Listicles that jump around from topic to topic or bombard readers with too much information can be frustrating.


Remember, when you write a listicle for your own blog, you're writing for people first! Your audience should always feel like they're getting something out of your content and that your list is laser-focused on one topic.


Make sure your article belongs in listicle format.

Make sure your content makes sense in list format. If it doesn't, don't force it.


A list post doesn't necessarily suit all content. Always ask yourself, "Can I cut into several coherent sections and put them together as a listicle?" if the answer is a firm 'Yes' - then you're good.


Narrative pieces shouldn't usually be listicles. If you want to provide information and share personal experience or instruction on Suba Diving, it probably shouldn't be a list post.


However, if you wanted to tell the world "Why you should scuba dive in Tahiti," a list post format would probably suit the topic.


In other words, if you're not sure, ask yourself, "Is my article a list of reasons and/or tips for something? Is it more than just one idea?" If so, then you might have what it takes to create a successful listicle.


It is possible that as you write, it might turn out better as a list post than a narrative. For example, "10 Things This Surprised Me When I Went Pearl Diving in Tahiti".

As is evident in this article, there has been quite a bit of research done on list posts, their success, and what they contain. The purpose of a list post is to provide information on a specific topic in a reader-friendly format.


The Dream List Post Formula Every Content Marketer Wants To Know

Affiliate marketers writing a listicle as a blog post or as a landing page (bridge page) to their affiliate offers often ask me for my top tips for writing a high-quality listicle and how I format my own listicles.


Here is my step-by-step guide that you can use for your own listicles.

Step 1. Do your keyword research.

Keywords are search phrases people type into search engines to get information and answers. When you optimize your content for specific keywords, your page will provide a more relevant result for potential consumers and rank higher in the SERPs. A list post can target these valuable terms with longtail keywords.


Use tools like Surfer SEO or Semrush for keyword planning.


Step 2. Take advantage of the curiosity gap with your title.

The age-old art of creating an attention-grabbing headline is still alive to this day. Intriguing titles that provoke curiosity and drive clicks are effective, but sensational titles that mislead readers will ruin the reputation and authenticity of your website over time.


Check that your title matches your list, and don't write clickbait titles! What bothers people about clickbait titles isn't that they're interesting but that they overpromise, employ cliches, and are often vague. It can be really annoying and can leave users without the information they're looking for.


Ask a question rather than answer one, and this will make people click. It is not necessary to tell the reader everything about your article in the title. The purpose of the title is to create curiosity, and the rest of your article should satisfy it with the supporting text.


Don't over-promise. Most probably, you've read titles like "You won't believe this" or the infamous 'One strange trick." These are so ubiquitous that you will have your readers rolling their eyes. Worse, titles like this are always overpromising.


Highlight the strength of your content. Your title is your chance to market your article. Write a title that showcases your content's strengths and gives an accurate preview of what to expect in the main points.


Step 3. Decide on the accompanying material.

Determine the information you would like to include with each point to write a comprehensive listicle. You should aim for a pretty comprehensive listicle, especially if it covers a complicated topic.


Does length matter?

There is no hard and fast rule when it comes to the length of your listicle. The main goal of a listicle is to provide valuable information in an easy-to-digest format, so the important thing is that you provide enough content for each of the main points to be fully explained. Pay attention to the amount of content included in each bullet point on competitor sites to make sure you go above and beyond with your content, but not too far!


Step 4. Choose a Format For Your Listicle Blog Post.

When writing your own listicle, you can choose from many popular formats.


Here are some examples:


INSPIRATIONAL

Many readers enjoy a light listicle that tries to motivate rather than persuade. Clever marketers can use these list posts to draw search traffic to your page and sell advertising space to monetize the content.


PRANK

Prank listicles are different from regular light-hearted listicles in that they often cause users to experience an emotional reaction, such as laughter or anger. It's not about content but rather the story you tell and how it makes people feel. The goal is to get readers riled up enough so they'll want to share your article with their friends.


EDUCATIONAL

Educational listicles are brimming with advice and suggestions. The objective is straightforward: consider the challenges your target demographic may be facing and see whether you can help them find solutions.


More listicle ideas

HOW-TO

How-to listicles are popular because they break down complicated issues into easy-to-follow actions in step-by-step guides. When readers need to resolve a problem, they want to know how long it will take and how much work is required.


As an authority in your niche, you undoubtedly have access to vast stores of information that is relevant to your audience. Turn high-performing material into numbered step-by-step instruction list articles containing enough list points to provide a decent amount of ideas and inspiration.


Writing listicles with AI


ADVICE

The listicle blog post is usually penned by someone who has personally faced the problem. It provides a solution to an uncomfortable or recurrent issue.


Humility-based content is generally personal and heartfelt, displays empathy, and fosters a feeling of trust and shared understanding between the writer and readers. Conveying a personal experience in your writing can help you connect with your audience and establish yourself as an expert within the niche.


OPINION

An exciting opinion list article can reveal new ideas, inspire debate and lead to increased traffic. However, you don't want to alienate a large segment of your readership by debunking widely accepted beliefs.


ANALYSIS

Listicles that lean toward analysis provide basic explanations for complex subjects. It's easy to leave out crucial information while writing in listicle format; therefore, infographics and other visual aids can be quite helpful in succinctly communicating a complicated concept.


An example of a listicle format

NEWS

A news listicle is a useful tool for communicating the essential details of a topical narrative to busy readers.


People want to keep to date but don't have the time to go through a full report on the issue. Reading a listicle with just enough points allows readers to skip over the small details and concentrate on the significant points.


CURATION

Instead of direct contact with the featured contributors, a curation listicle blog post draws material from social media and other existing digital sources. The listicle format makes it easy to link to resources while providing abundant high-quality content.


Example of the best listicles

CHALLENGE

This format will appeal to readers who want to overcome a personal challenge and gain knowledge, such as learning a new skill or trying out fun activities. They're perfect for motivating readers to try doing something new or different.


BEST-OF

This content is based on what's trending in one specific topical area rather than covering a broad topic. Write a comprehensive listicle for the "Best App for Digital Marketers" and your search traffic will skyrocket.


EXPERT ROUNDUP

Expert roundups, like best-ofs, focus on a single complicated subject. Industry experts provide thought-provoking contributions and answer questions and share their insights in the blog post.


With this list post format, you can bring in a large number of visitors through social media sharing, which may enhance your authority and establish important relationships.


Consider your content's style, tone, and goal before deciding which sort of list article to write. Then select the one that best fits your target audience and helps you meet your goals.


Another example of how to write a listicle

Step 5. Brainstorm list points.

Once you have decided on your list post format, it's time to write down some ideas. Use this initial list to write a more polished piece later by pairing down what you have with the most relevant points. And don't stress over finding the perfect word. Just remember that shorter is better when it comes to listicles, so choose your words carefully and try not to ramble on!


Stuck for words? Too verbose? I have the perfect tool to help you write short, punchy bullet points that are persuasive and sell!


Write the list of points.

Start by planning the number of bullet points you'll need to list your items by looking at your competition. Buzzsumo provides detailed insights into content your competitors are creating. Remember that not every list should be the same length, so if competitor sites have 10 points, you should aim for 15 or 20 points to improve your ranking. However, irregular numbers are more attention-grabbing than a standard figure of 15, 20, so try 17 or 21.

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Choose a unique angle.

When you have several important points to write about, you should focus on making each point unique. Think about how you can present information from a new perspective to make your list interesting for readers.


Be specific.

Make an effort to stay specific with each point or product on your list. It's essential to provide an equal amount of detail for each of your bullet points so your opinion appears objective and not biased towards one point or product.