When it comes to blogging in 2016, the listicle remains as popular as ever. It’s easy to digest and share, which should make it a go-to format for your blog. But despite the popularity of listicles, very few bloggers understand how to publish high-returning ones that are worth the investment. Thus, much of the effort put into writing listicles is a waste. With that being said, here’s some advice you need to heed in your quest for the perfect listicle:
Stop Writing Lazy Listicles
There are millions of listicles floating around on the internet. The vast majority of them are poorly written, unimaginative, and barely worth reading (let alone sharing). If you remember anything from this article, let it be this: Don’t write a lazy listicle!
It’s so easy to write a listicle, which is why so many of them are so bad. All you have to do is think of a topic, break it up into a few numbered segments, and voila! But next time, think before writing. Research your topic and see how well it’s been covered. Are you adding anything new to the conversation, or are you simply rewording what’s already been discussed?
Choose a Unique Topic
Generic topics may appeal to a large audience, but the truth is they don’t do much for you. Sure, a BuzzFeed article like this – titled 21 Simple Reasons Having a Cat is the Best Thing in the World – may get some clicks, but are you really creating a lasting impact for your brand, website, bottom line, etc.?
Specialized niche topics appeal to a much smaller audience, but have a much bigger impact on readers. Take this article from Gogo Charters – titled Top 20 Wedding Venues in San Diego – as an example. While the article narrows its demographic to people who are planning on getting married in San Diego, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the topic is so hyper-focused, the opportunity for meaningful shares is much higher.
Make sure you choose your topic wisely. And remember, it’s better to reach a handful of high-returning readers than a huge number of disengaged readers.
Spend Time on the Headline
Your headline is important. Not only does it set readers up for what to expect, but it’s often the deciding factor in whether or not someone clicks on your article via social media or a search engine.
Believe it or not, there actually should be some thought and planning that goes into the number you use. While most people simply stop when they run out of ideas, the number has been shown to impact shares and views. According to one study, the best numbers are 29, 91, 55, 71, and 41.
Use Lots of High Quality Images
A listicle without images is like a swimming pool without water – useless and ugly. For each numbered segment in your article, there should be a corresponding image. Ideally, these should be original high-quality images, but stock photos work in a pinch.
Make it Easy to Share
Finally, make sure your listicles are easy to share. If a reader wants to share your article, it should take them all of 10 seconds to do so. Incorporate share buttons for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram – and make sure they’re accessible at multiple points on the page.
Write Better Listicles
Listicles are valuable, but you have to work at them. Don’t assume that a listicle is the easy way out. In order to generate a tangible return and add value to your blog, think about the topic, headline, images, and shareability.