4 ways to write better listicles

Readers can’t seem to resist listicles (articles in list form). But not all listicles are created equal. Here’s how to make yours stand above the rest.


Are you suffering from lackluster listicles?

Listicles, or list articles, get great click-throughs. People are more likely to click on subject lines that contain numbers.

That said, not all listicles are created equal.

Here are four tips for writing more robust listicles:

1. Treat your listicles with care.

Too many articles are in list form for no reason other than being in list form. Lists can boost click-through rates and search rank, but you can’t sacrifice content quality for those numbers.

If you write a how-to article or a collection of tips, lists make sense. But if your motivation for making a list is, “Well, people like to click on lists,” regroup.

Unless you’re Buzzfeed, balance listicles with long-form content.

Download this free white paper to discover 10 ways you can improve your writing today.

2. Make your listicles stand out.

Once you’ve identified why you’re writing a listicle, don’t borrow someone else’s. Do a quick Google—or LinkedIn—search to make sure someone hasn’t already written your listicle. If there’s a decent amount of content on your topic, think of a unique position or hook to differentiate your article.

3. Tie your listicles to a larger body.

While listicles should stand on their own, they’re more potent when they’re supported. Listicles balance long-form content, but they also augment it. Tie all your content to a business purpose and marketing storyline to ensure consistent communications.

4. Test your listicles’ strength.

Click-through rates, open rates and traffic are great metrics to measure your subject lines’ effectiveness, but what about content?

Marketers are after engagement; measuring engagement helps you understand what stays with your readers. Metrics such as time spent on a page, bounce rate and social media shares indicate content’s success.

Do you have other tips for listicles? Share them in the comments.

Leslie Nuccio is a social media and content marketer who believes in the power of people, the magic of dialogue marketing and the idea that a monkey can make almost any advertising more compelling. A version of this article originally appeared on the Meltwater blog.

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