No matter who you are, what your interests are or what you’re writing about, 90% of all your blog posts should be listicles, a type of blog post that provides a simple list structure to the readers.
Why do I say so? There’s a number of reasons behind this reasoning. So let’s create a listicle, listing just 7 of those reasons in this post.
Reason 1: They take less time to write
You wouldn’t have bought a domain and a server and maybe some paid plugins too just for the sake of entertaining yourself, right? I’m assuming that you are currently working as a content writer, handling several writing projects at the same time as well as maintaining your own blog. Maybe you work full-time elsewhere too? Now do you see why I kept this “take less time to write” point at the number one position?
Yes, you’ll be stressed to follow a stringent publishing schedule from time to time. There’s no need for your own blog to suffer because you have listicles by your side.
Think of any topic and chances are that the same can be written about in many different ways; it could be a detailed how-to post, it could be a thought leadership post or it could be a listicle or list-type post. Almost all types of blog posts can be written in the form of a list if you really want to. After all, each of your post is nothing but a logical structure of lots of points and sub-points. You can take those points and sub-points and easily collect your list-items. You just need to change your writing style a bit.
Reason 2: They appeal to your readers
Why do you think that almost all the articles you see on the web are listicles? Because people love reading them. Why? Because, above all, they present the information in an easy-to-digest form in an ever-growing ocean of information around us.
It is increasingly becoming more difficult for us to find the right type of information because there is just too much of it. Now if you present your message in a simple list-type blog post, your visitors are more likely to go through them just because they are easy to read.
Let me repeat the last part again, “if you present your message in a simple list-type blog post, your visitors are more likely to go through them just because they are easy to read.” Even when the list is about something they don’t know much about or when the list is totally outside their fields of interest or when the list is outright irrelevant. (I once enthusiastically read a list about the “Top 10 Things You Can Do As The President of the United States”!)
Buzzfeed quickly understood this crazy bit of human psyche about an obsession with lists and began to apply them to almost all of their articles. And the rest is, as they say, history.
Reason 3: They can be read quickly
One more reason for their everlasting appeal is the speed at which they can be consumed. Already we all are crunched for time, and listicles make the perfect content format to go through quickly.
When you’re writing a listicle, make sure your readers can skim through the list easily. You can help them by creating a ‘table of content’. The whole point of a list is to present the information in an easy-to-digest form and that includes incorporating this must-have feature into it.
Reason 4: They can get more shares
Who doesn’t love to see their own writing getting shared across various social media platforms? Writing great listicles can get you closer to that goal.
People get an innate sense of accomplishment when they finish reading a list, and interestingly they want to share this feeling with their closest. That is why listicles are one of the most shared content formats on the web.
Reason 5: They have a number in them
Humans are obsessed with numbers. This is the main reason behind the unbelievable popularity of listicles. Because each listicle starts by telling you exactly how many points is it going to cover. You can have a very close idea about how much time it will take you to read by just looking at the number, how in-depth knowledge you’ll be able to learn or even can guess about the writing style of the author.
No matter how scared we think we are about Math as a subject, we just love dealing with numbers. The number used in a listicle can tell us a lot of extrinsic as well as intrinsic information about the content itself, whether true or not.
Reason 6: They are easier to understand
I know absolutely nothing about the subject: Entomology. Yet one day I come across an article titled, “5 Interesting Ways By Which A Monarch Butterfly Can Help Us Redefine Our GPS”. Now this headline is written in such a way that appeals to even guys like me who don’t have any idea about monarch butterflies or GPS. I only know that the two seem like a very unlikely pair and that piques my attention. After reading the article though, I understand a lot of the points made in the article fairly enough. Why? Because listicles break a large block of information (or two) into manageable chunks.
Reading large blocks of text, even when coupled with interesting images and videos, is a challenging task for our brains. It needs more of our time, attention and energy. A listicle, on the other hand, alleviates the stress of information gulping by our brains, by being both tiny and simple.
Reason 7: They are loved by Search Engines
Not only your readers will read the whole of your content but the search engines themselves will love it. Now there might be some of you who may argue, “But wait! I’ve heard that listicles are bad for SEO!” Yes, and the guys who’re telling you that are also correct. You need to follow certain rules in order to get loved by search engines and listicles are just the content format in which it is easier to break those rules.
- Your listicle should be above all providing value to your readers. You can fool them once or twice with some irrelevant listicles thrown at them, but not always.
- Your listicle should not be a click-bait. Click-bait is a piece of content written solely for the purpose of getting the visitors to click on a link to a particular web page.
- Your listicle should have clear, easy-to-understand and highly targeted subheadings, URL and title. Since the search engine crawlers read your article by going from URL, then to the title, then to the subheadings and lastly to the main content, listicles actually offer you an excellent choice to get ranked if you don’t mess any of them up.
Whenever I used “listicle” in this post, I tried to mean any list-type blog post. They can of course have many interesting variations of them (Buzzfeed themselves speak of ‘The Simple Listicle’, ‘The Definitive List’ and ‘The Framework List’ as their three preferred types of posts) but their basic structure always remains the same: it must contain a list within its content.
As long as you keep your listicles good-mannered in terms of quality, value-provider to your reader base and above all relevant, you can easily follow this 90% rule in your blog. At least a large part of human psyche will be by your side if you’re feeding them listicles.