7 guidelines for content marketers to craft winning listicles

The ubiquitous format has its detractors—but it also has legions of devotees. Success depends not just on matching the topic to your audience, but on making it digestible. Here’s a tip sheet.

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Some content marketers—and readers—have grown weary of listicles.

Commentators have lambasted listicles as repetitive, shallow fluff and even clickbait. The format’s been blamed for ruining attention spans, destroying prose and oversimplifying complex issues.

Still, listicles work.

Defined as “writing or other content presented wholly or partly in the form of a list,” listicles communicate succinctly. They continue to draw readers, or at least skimmers, and often rank high in search results. They lend themselves to online sharing and increase web traffic.

Our brains seem inherently attracted to lists. Numbers in listicle headlines stand out in a sea of text search results. With their defined limit and structured organization, listicles are easily digestible.

The format helps readers absorb and retain information. Rather than being overwhelmed with complex, extensive information, we prefer to learn in bite-size nuggets. They also appeal to our desire to categorize things.

The listicle “5 Clever Interview Questions to Uncover Candidates’ Hidden Strengths” was shared 12,599 times last year, Buzzsumo research reveals.

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