The best way to Write a Listicle [+ Examples and Ideas]

We’ve all been there. You click on on a listicle that touts superb insights and easy suggestions, solely to be introduced with nugatory clickbait. Listicles typically have a foul fame for being low-quality and offering little worth to their readers.

woman drafts a listicle in a notebook on a couch

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Nevertheless, when completed proper, a listicle can get each clicks and share useful insights. These well-written listicles can play an necessary position in your content material technique.

In actual fact, this publish about listicles is primarily an inventory publish itself. Right here, we will dive into what a listicle is, how one can write a high-quality article, and listicle concepts that will help you generate participating content material on your readers.

What’s a listicle?

Merely put, a listicle is an article written in checklist format. Every checklist merchandise will usually embody a number of sentences or a number of paragraphs to teach or delight readers. For instance, you may learn a enjoyable listicle, like “The Prime 10 Motion pictures of 2020,” or a extra informational one, like “7 Steps to Construct a Web site.”

1. Make certain your content material is sensible in checklist format.

Earlier than you start writing your listicle, analysis to make sure your subject suits into an inventory format.

If you happen to seek for your supposed key phrase and discover most entrepreneurs are creating “Final Guides” on the subject, it is higher to keep away from a listicle format.

Google Search results for Instagram marketing

For example, maybe you want to write about “Instagram Advertising and marketing.”

When you’d initially deliberate on titling the piece “10 Finest Instagram Advertising and marketing Suggestions,” your analysis has uncovered loads of different angles you would like to incorporate, similar to “why Instagram advertising and marketing is necessary” and “how one can create compelling content material on Instagram.”

These sections may match higher in an “Final Information to Instagram Advertising and marketing” as a substitute of a listicle.

If you happen to select to create a listicle, every checklist merchandise should match the subject. To create a high-quality listicle, your content material have to be constant and parallel.

If you happen to’re writing an inventory of finest practices, you must solely have finest practices in your checklist — sneaking examples will confuse your viewers.

Bear in mind: You’ll be able to at all times create one other listicle for examples afterward.

2. Embrace beneficial takeaways — no fluff!

Probably the most important indicator of a awful checklist publish is one which incorporates a ton of fluff and no tangible, beneficial takeaways for the reader. This is an instance of what we imply:

3 Methods to Enhance Your Social Media Advertising and marketing

  1. Be distinctive! Do one thing to face out out of your rivals.
  2. Take dangers. Check out-of-the-box concepts.
  3. Measure outcomes! Use your analytics to let you know what’s working.

What a implausible checklist publish! I’ve realized completely nothing. After all, you must do all this stuff in your social media marketing. But it needs to tell you how to do them.

Your listicle should give readers more than just a list of things to do and expect them to figure out how to do them themselves. It should also include valuable content that tells readers how to do each step.

An excellent list post nixes the fluff and concretely explains each item in detail. Not every tip will be new to your reader.

However, if they walk away thinking, “Well, I already put numbers 3, 4, and 6 into practice, but I can’t believe I’ve been missing out on numbers 1, 2, and 5!” — then you’ve probably got yourself a high-quality list.

Some listicles are meant to be more fun, but you can still include valuable takeaways. For example, the “Top Ten Best Ads of 2020” can be primarily visual, but it’s still essential you include advice your readers can use to create better ads for themselves.

Featured Resource: Listicle Blog Post Template

how to write a listicle template

3. Link to more in-depth information when necessary.

One of the ways you can add value is to direct readers to other resources when necessary.

Great list posts are comprehensive, so they can get long and unwieldy. If this is the case, consider pointing your readers to another place for more in-depth information.

For example, we recently wrote a list post entitled “Email Deliverability: 5 Quick & Effective Ways to Increase It.” The last tip in the list was “Check to see your emails’ legality” and mentioned GDPR, which could be a blog post in itself. In fact, it already is.

Giving our readers enough information for that section to be truly helpful would have involved copying and pasting the entirety of our GDPR post into our listicle. That wouldn’t have been the most beneficial choice (and also might’ve hurt our SEO).

Instead, we explained the tip in a moderate amount of detail and then directed readers to the other post where they could find more in-depth information if they needed it.

how to write a listicle link to more in-depth information

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Feel free to do this in your own listicles. If you have to link to an external resource because you haven’t written the post yourself — excellent.

You’ve just passed off some link love, and you also now have another article idea for your blogging backlog.

4. Explain list items using relatable examples.

Sometimes one of the best ways to adequately explain a point on your list is to use an example to support it. Of course, real examples are ideal, but sometimes even a hypothetical one works just as great.

When selecting or creating an example, keep it as relatable as possible to your readers. This can be tricky if your blog’s audience comprises a variety of readers from different industries or businesses (like ours). The key here is to keep your examples general so everyone can relate.

For instance, in HubSpot’s listicle “17 Fun (Not Cheesy) Ice Breaker Games Your Employees Will Enjoy,” item 24 (Two Truths and a Lie) needed clarification for readers who haven’t played the game before.

To illustrate the game, I provided a personal example using a hypothetical example:

using relatable examples to illustrate listicle

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Ideally, most readers will find this example helpful for understanding the game’s premise and how it works. Plus, it makes the content more interesting to read.

5. Number your items.

This is an easy one. If you’re writing a listicle — especially when you use a number in the title of your list post — number your list items.

This is particularly important when you have a long list because readers want to gauge their progress as they’re reading through the list (i.e., “only halfway to go” or “I’m almost done!”).

Readers may also like to reference particular points on a list later or share them with others.

Being able to refer to a specific number rather than saying, “I think it’s near the bottom of the list” or “It’s the fourth bullet point down” is a much more user-friendly experience for your blog audience.

Make things easy for your readers.

6. Include an appropriate number of list items.

While talking about numbers, let’s clear up some misconceptions about them. Listicle writers believe you should choose a number before writing your list and ensure you have enough points to fit that number.

We disagree.

Sitting down and saying you’re going to write a list of 14 items makes no sense. What if only 11 solid, valuable items make up the list? Should you come up with three lower-quality items to achieve your goal of 14?

Just be comprehensive. For example, this very listicle how-to post includes ten steps for writing a listicle because that’s how many I thought were individually valuable and indicative of a high-quality list post for this particular subject.

Originally I had brainstormed 11, but as I started writing, I cut one out because it wasn’t that different from another point, and they could easily be represented as one.

As we mentioned before, listicles can quickly become unwieldy. So when you start drafting your listicle, decide how granular you want to make your topic. This will help make your list more manageable. The title you craft can also help you stay focused.

For example, if you work for a plumbing company and want to write a listicle about how you can unclog a drain. You might stick to “The Top 4 Ways to Unclog a Drain,” rather than writing a long list post covering “The 50 Different Ways to Unclog a Drain.”

Furthermore, conduct tests and research to glean some best practices for your list posts. An internal study of our blog revealed that posts for which the title indicated six items or fewer didn’t perform as well as when the title indicated the list contained seven or more items.

The lesson? While we sometimes still write lists posts containing six or fewer items, we don’t include the number in the title for those posts. We might try to title it “Why Every Marketer Needs a CRM” instead of “3 Reasons Every Marketer Needs a CRM.”

7. Use category buckets for longer lists.

When we published “34 Millennial Stats That Marketers Need to Know,” we broke up the statistics into five sections:

  • “General Stats and Market Opportunities.”
  • “Social Media & Digital Habits.”
  • “Behaviors and Financial Factors.”
  • “Education and Work.”
  • And “Political and Societal Views.”
  • If some of our readers don’t care about the average millennial’s financial situation, they can quickly scan the post and avoid that section. Perfect!

If some of our readers don’t care about the average millennial’s financial situation, they can quickly scan the post and avoid that section. Perfect!

If your listicle seems long or unruly, consider breaking it into subcategories to help readers scan for what they’re looking for and feel more relaxed at first glance.

8. Logically order each step.

Like any other post you write, your list should flow and tell a story. How you do this will depend on the subject and contents of your list, but here are some great organizational structures to choose from:

  • Alphabetical (great for glossaries).
  • Chronological (great for step-by-step guides).,
  • Popularity/importance, like most to least or least to most (great for top 10/20/50 lists).

Another best practice is to emphasize your strongest points at the beginning, middle, and end of your list to keep readers engaged throughout the article.

When I sat down and brainstormed this list, it was just that — a brainstormed list. It was unorganized and all over the place. I rearranged the furniture once I’d identified all the points I wanted to include.

Sometimes your list points will practically arrange themselves (e.g., “5 Steps to Do X”), and sometimes there won’t be as obvious a story (e.g., “20 Ways to Do Y”). Just put the time into figuring it out and ordering your items as logically as possible.

9. Make sure your listicle is consistent.

I’m not as strict about this one as some listicle purists, but your listicle should have a consistent and parallel look. Failing to do so only confuses readers.

Here are some helpful guidelines to consider:

  • Try to keep sections similar in length.
  • Use the same header style to highlight your list items, and make sure they stand out.
  • Make sure your list item headers are written in a parallel fashion (i.e., if it’s a list of action items, each should be led with a verb).
  • Finally, use images and bullet points to break up text when appropriate.

10. Have a clear and catchy title.

As we mentioned at the beginning of this post, one of the reasons people have always loved listicles is because they know exactly what — and how much — they’ll get out of them.

There is no guesswork involved, and your expectations are very clear for your readers. Make sure your title epitomizes that.

A compelling listicle title should accomplish three things to entice readers actually to read the post:

  1. Capture the readers’ attention
  2. Clearly indicate the value or what the reader will learn
  3. Suggest how much they will learn with a number.

For example, consider this post, “5 Steps to Create an Outstanding Marketing Plan [Free Templates].” Do you wonder what this post will be about? Not at all.

You know that you’ll learn how to create a marketing plan (in 5 steps), and you’ll have templates if you need help.

Listicle Examples

As marketers, we’re often tasked with writing about drier topics to educate our viewers and attract leads. A listicle can help the reader scan for the information they need and feel less overwhelmed by the amount of content.

Let’s explore a few examples to inspire you.

1. HubSpot’s “6 Secrets to Achieving Work-Life Balance, According to HubSpot Marketing Managers”

listicle, tips for achieving work/life balance

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This post from HubSpot explores how you can achieve work/life balance, so you can be your best self every day.

What we love: This post includes plenty of quotes from marketing managers explaining their secrets. Quotes are a great way to provide value to your readers.

2. Buzzfeed’s “24 Of The Most Anticipated LGBTQ+ Books Of 2023

listicle, book releases on Buzzfeed

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In relation to e book opinions, Buzzfeed is aware of the proper components. The location creates listicles of each current releases, in addition to titles that might be hitting cabinets quickly.

What we love: Every merchandise on this checklist features a launch date for the e book, in addition to a abstract. The listicle additionally hyperlinks to the place readers can order the e book.

3. Southern Residing’s “Soups To Make Every Month Of 2023

listicle, soups by the month on southern living

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In relation to cooking, what’s in season adjustments each month. Southern Residing blends the most effective of a cooking calendar and a listicle for this assortment of soup recipes.

What we love: This checklist makes use of intelligent group, ordering recipes by month. And with 12 recipes highlighted, this listicle is straightforward to digest.

4. UpgradedPoints’ “The 12 Best Websites for Booking Flights at the Cheapest Prices

listicle, cheap airfare sites

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UpgradedPoints created a listicle to assist vacationers save on their subsequent trip. This text gathers websites that supply flight reductions, together with an inventory of professionals and cons for every.

What we love: On the finish of every checklist merchandise, the writer features a “scorching tip” that may assist readers save much more. Through the use of icons and distinct colours with this textual content, this tidbit attracts readers in.

5. Polygon’s “The Best Super Bowl Commercials of 2023

listicle, superbowl ads

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Whether or not or not you watched the massive recreation, everybody on the workplace might be speaking concerning the commercials. Polygon gathers the advertisements everybody might be discussing on this article.

What we love: It’s not sufficient to explain the advert. Individuals have to see it. This publish breaks up chunks of textual content with movies of the advertisements themselves.

Now that we have explored some examples, let’s dive into some concepts you should utilize to create yours.

Listicle Concepts

Lastly, let’s discover some listicle concepts to assist your advertising and marketing crew brainstorm extremely participating content material on your readers.

We’ll discover a number of extra tactical items you may write for an ecommerce, B2C, or B2B firm, however we’ll additionally dive into some enjoyable, “trendier” concepts should you work for a publication trying to broaden your attain.

Listicle Concepts For Ecommerce or B2C Firms

  • 14 Important Methods to Construct a Timeless Wardrobe
  • The best way to Apply Black Lipstick in Three Simple Steps
  • 20 Issues You’ll Want in Your First Residence
  • 13 Issues You Ought to Know Earlier than Shopping for a Couch
  • The 7 Finest Sustainable Furnishings Firms

Listicle Concepts For B2B Firms

  • The best way to Select a CRM in 4 Simple Steps
  • The 11 Finest Web site Builders
  • 5 Steps to Making a Advertising and marketing Playbook
  • 3 Steps to Create a Higher About Us Web page
  • 7 Communication Channels Your Staff Wants in 2023
  • 12 Entrepreneurs Inform Us Their Favourite Advertising and marketing Campaigns of 2023

Listicle Concepts For Publications Trying to Development On-line

  • The best way to Make These 3 Meals With Solely 5 Elements
  • 10 Cool Devices You may Positively Want This Summer season
  • 7 Hilarious Movies Trending on YouTube Proper Now
  • The best way to Grow to be an Entrepreneur, In response to 11 Profitable Ones
  • If You are a Chief, You Have to Settle for Some Harsh Truths. These Seven CEOs Clarify Why.

There you have got it! Do not forget that listicles ought to serve the identical objective as some other advertising and marketing content material — to draw the proper viewers to your services or products.

Sit down together with your crew and brainstorm challenges your readers is likely to be dealing with, after which resolve whether or not that problem might be solved with a step-by-step information or an inventory of instruments (that features yours).

Now, you are nicely in your approach to having extra listicles in your content material technique. Pleased planning!