What Is A Listicle?

Even if you’re not familiar with the phrase listicle, you’ve undoubtedly encountered them before. If you go through any form of social media or blog post, you may see a type of article written that says for example “the top 10 best golfers”. 

This type of post is known as a listicle and it’s a great way to attract traffic to your content or your website or blog as a whole. However, due to their history of clickbait, many people will have been subconsciously trained to avoid them. 

What Is A Listicle

But this does not mean that they are ineffective anymore, and we’ll outline all of this. We’ve written a comprehensive guide about listicles and we’ll answer all of your most burning questions. 

Read on to learn more. 

So What Exactly Is A Listicle?

Listicles are at their most basic form, an article which is composed of a list format. They normally have a heading for each selection within the list and then followed up with more information. 

Buzzfeed are a well known producer of listicles, so if you’ve ever encountered Buzzfeed – you’ve likely seen a listicle before. 

The precise format of a listicle does not necessarily have the same rules to it and can be flexible.

For example, you can have five items which have much more in depth information following them, or you could simply have a picture or a GIF underneath the heading. 

Whilst there are so many different ways you could choose to use the framework of a listicle, they are undoubtedly great ways to make your point or advertise your products as a business. 

What Makes Listicles So Popular?

There’s a variety of reasons why listicles are popular. One reason is because people, in their human and almost fickle nature, will want to see someone’s picks for a topic they are passionate about, and debate or agree with the choices. 

In fact, creating debate this way can generate plenty of UGC (user generated content) and user traffic, which in turn will give your content plenty of views. A fantastic way to earn revenue from advertising! 

However, they are also popular because we love to read them due to their readability. Like any other list or “bullet point” formats, you do not need to sit and read through mountains of words. 

The format will typically have:

  • A title which informs the reader of what they’re going to expect to read 
  • An easy-to-skim readability for the important stuff 
  • The simplicity to stop and return to where you finished reading 
  • The ability to manage complex topics into manageable chunks

Indeed, listicles can give the reader everything they need to know in the title and usually the subheadings – which can also be achieved through the use of GIFs or pictures. 

This, of course, differs from traditional newspaper article headlines which aim to attract the reader to continue reading. The opportunity is there for readers to do this with listicles, but the requirement is not. 

Listicles also offer a psychological “challenge” to the reader, in that they feel the inherent need to finish the list from number 1 to number X. 

When it comes to questioning why they’re so popular with content creators, there’s a number of reasons for this too. They include:

  • They’re simple to plan, produce and edit 
  • Writers enjoy the writing process 
  • There’s a sense of achievement by creating a list 
  • It’s an easy way to create targeted keywords for SEO 
  • Updates can be completed quickly 
  • It appeals to readers for more traffic 
What Is A Listicle

Does The Order Matter?

The order of a listicle does not usually matter and this is one reason why it is so easy to produce. However, if you are creating a listicle of the “best” of something, you may need to have a definite number 1. 

In reality though, the majority of listicles will not have such a requirement and, as a content producer, you will likely be aware of what number 1 will be anyway. 

Planning A Listicle 

Listicle planning is quite a simple process. You’ll need to have these things in mind:

  • Topic 
  • Keywords 
  • Competitors 
  • What your angle is 
  • The points in your list 
  • Supporting materials 

Topic 

Your chosen topic will come through why you’re writing the article in the first place. As a business owner, you may be planning to launch a new product or service. 

Bearing this in mind, you could also answer what your angle is. For example, let’s say you are planning to sell a brand new golf club. You may wish to write a listicle of “the top 10 best golf clubs”. 

Keywords 

Keywords are the words or phrases that search engines like Google will link or associate your article to. When these words or phrases are typed, they are classified as relevant and Google will rank it higher on the search results. 

For our example of golf clubs, your keywords may include golf, clubs, golfing, green, sport, golfers etc. 

These are merely examples though and you can use fantastic tools like Google keyword planner to get a better understanding of what you’d need to include. 

Competitors 

After the previous two planning points, you’ll want to look at what your competition is doing and how they are ranking. 

You can get a better understanding of what audiences are looking for and why. Let’s say that your competitors are creating “the top 10” lists, you’ll want to create a listicle of “the top 15” which will help you fight for these places. 

Points In The List 

This is where you’ll plan the “main course” of your listicle. Don’t panic about the order of the list, just get down what you will include. 

Supporting Materials 

After checking on your competitors, you need to decide if you’ll be writing long formats and if you’re including GIFS etc. This is all up to you! 

The Bottom Line 

Listicles or “list articles” are an effective way to engage with your audience, which can be massively helpful for a new business! We hope this guide has helped you.

Justin Shaw
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