Throughout this Learn Blogging series, you are discovering different kinds of blog posts which can be particularly useful for accomplishing specific goals.
Today we’re talking about what is potentially one of the easiest blog posts to write… the Listicle… yet possibly one of the hardest types of blog posts to do well. Since it’s so easy to create a listicle post, it’s tempting to write it in a way that doesn’t actually offer the reader more value or information. Presumably, they could get a similar set of results directly from Google with the right kind of search, so my hope for you here is to not only learn more about Listicles, but also get a strong sense for what makes a good Listicle so that the posts you’re publishing are outstanding.
As quick review, in this blogging series we will learn about:
- The Roundup
- How To
- Listicle (you’re here)
- Case Study
- Personal Story
- Business News / Announcement
- Employee / Customer Spotlight
- Thought Leadership
Let’s get started learning.
Learn Blogging: What Is A Listicle Post?
Simply put, a Listicle blog post is designed to present the reader with a list of specific things that are related. Unlike a How To, which might be a list of steps or actions designed to be followed in sequence, Listicles are designed to make you aware of the things listed and give you choices. Every “Top Ten X” article you’ve ever read is a Listicle.
Why Do I Love Listicle Posts?
There are a few reasons why I love Listicle Posts:
- As an expert in your respective industry, creating a list of things to talk about in an article should be relatively easy and require little to no research. I could rattle off a list of social media marketing tools or blogging platforms or tips to be successful at content marketing with zero forethought.
- Listicles can make excellent bottom of funnel pieces of content. If your target audience has identified their issue and understands the kinds of solutions they need, an artfully written Listicle from you that lists and compares their available solution providers can drive business results.
- And perhaps most importantly, listicles are exactly what a portion of your audience are looking for when they’re at the top of your sales funnel.
At Agorapulse, for instance, where we offer a social media management tool, there’s a segment of our target audience who will decide that they need to invest in a tool, but they’re unaware of their options, so they’ll search for terms like, “best social media management tool” and their first clicks are always on lists of social media management tools. Knowing this, we’ve invested time in building our own content around these topics as well as worked with influencers to create content along the same lines!
Great Blog Listicle Post Examples
Here are a few great Listicle post examples from a variety of industries to give you a sense for what others have done:
- Top Tools for Efficient & Effective Content Marketing – Here’s an example of a listicle post that I wrote where I broke it out into different categories for easier consumption (more on that in a moment).
- Top 19 Blogs to Follow in 2019 – Another example of mine, but this time I’m listing my best recommendations of other people and bloggers to follow and learn from. Not only was this a great listicle that continues to get search traffic today (“top blogs to follow”), it was an effective bit of relationship marketing.
- 5 Best WordPress Membership Plugins (Compared) – 2021 – There’s so much to like about this listicle. It’s comparing and contrasting a similar type of thing (membership plugin), it’s dated so you know it’s recent, and it’s packed with advice and information.
As you’re going about your normal routine each day and notice someone else’s listicle, pay close attention to how they’ve structured it and made it interesting for you, the reader. What did you particularly like or were impressed by?
Learn Blogging: Listicle Post Vitals
These are the vital aspects of a Listicle post:
- Must list three or more related items.
- There’s no technical maximum number of list items.
- Make it clear in the title that this is a list and include the number, like, “15 Ways To…” or “Top 10 Apps For…”.
- The list items can be products, other brands, tips, people, places… anything which might be listed.
Listicle Post Best Practices
Follow these best practices to ensure your Listicle blog post is a success!
- For each item that you’re listing, if it’s a thing, talk about why you’re listing it. Are you recommending this thing? Is there some aspect of it that’s different or better than the other items you’re listing? Give the reader context and information whenever possible.
- If there are many options for you to include in your list, try to come up with a criteria for excellence and make it a “Best Of” list, such as “10 Best Tools For…” so that you’re not just listing options, you’re providing your best recommendations.
- If your list sports more than a dozen items, consider breaking them out into categories.
For instance, if I was going to recommend tools for digital marketing, I might first determine categories like Social Media Management, Email Marketing, and Search Engine Optimization, then recommend two or three specific tools within each category, as I did in the example above.. That will make it easier for the reader to compare and understand what’s being recommended, as well as pull in additional readers who may be looking for recommendations within a specific category!
The Secret Sauce To Make Listicle Posts Scrumptious
Want to take your Listicle Post to the Next Level? Here’s my best advice:
Don’t force it.
If you decide at the outset that you want to list ten items but can really only do 8, don’t add two more items that really don’t fit just to get to ten. It’s better to change your title and structure to be a lower amount. This is particularly true when listing concepts!
All too often I’ve read listicles like, “5 Great Marketing Lessons from Star Wars” yet when I get halfway through, I find that really only three of the points are great and the other two are pretty lame. It’s clear the author was stretching to come up with more points. Rather than write badly, it’d better to stop earlier and offer fewer recommendations.
Typically when I’m thinking about a new listicle post, I’ll start a new note and outline my ideas and list items before I start any other part of the writing. While this makes the writing a lot easier (having an outline from the start), it also helps ensure I have enough items to list to make for a worth post, as well as clue me in from the start how many items I’m likely to end up. During the writing process, I might think of other items or points to make, or may decide one or two aren’t actually good enough or interesting enough to include. In those instances, I have to be flexible enough to change my title and corresponding text!
We’ll continue to learn blogging by diving into Review Posts next. Meanwhile, if you have questions about Listicle posts that I didn’t cover here, ask ’em in the comments below. If you’re looking for a more in-depth, structured training on how to successfully launch a blog to make money for yourself, or use content marketing to promote your business, my Blogging Bootcamp is for you.
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