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Quick Content – the Value of Listicles

In the need for quick content, look no further than listicles! A top 10 or longer list is quick to pull people in, especially when written on a topic that grabs interest. Have fun with these posts and you’ll find they add very valuable content to your website.

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Jen Miller host of Be Seen Blogging, the podcast where you get ideas, tips and tricks on ways to improve your website content in under 10 minutes. On today’s episode #12, entitled, Quick Content – the Value of Listicles, we’ll be looking into why it’s important to include list-focused blog posts on your website and the basics of pulling them together.

Commonly referred to as listicles, a list based blog post typically presents text and images in either a numbered or bullet point style. Lists make learning easy. I remember the numbered spelling texts I had to take as a kid. If you’re anything like me you did great when the teacher read the words in the numbered list on the test – having those numbers helped me to order and remember the spelling. When I had teachers who liked to mix the order up, it was definitely more challenging to take those tests. Our brains like order and lists draw upon that to help organize content so that it makes sense and helps the reader feel comfortable.

You’ll see listicles on sites like Buzzfeed or Mashable and I’m sure you’ll remember the Top Ten lists from David Letterman and the Late Show way back when. Many authors use lists to create an outline as they write books. Lists can be used on every platform to help engage an audience and really, they should be included on every website, including yours!

It’s a fun trend and a form of content that is easy to read, remember, quote and share. Many listicles are opinion based as their point is to entertain. I’d suggest you focus on making your list oriented posts funny and accurate so that they show personality while still building your authority. Often times you’ll find that your lists may write themselves and if so, use that extra time to find just the right add-ins (images, videos, sub headings and amusing gifs) to deliver more punch to your piece.

Here are some other tips to follow when pulling together your listicle:

Make your headline fun. Use it to draw attention. The goal is to bring the spotlight to your list so choosing a funny, questionable and universal topic is important and must be highlighted in the title. Use a number in your title. I find that odd numbers seem to attract more visitors.

There are numbers that are more attractive than others so choose one that seems to fit your audience.

I remember when I first started in website project management. As part of the service, I would need to set up social media accounts. Often I wouldn’t know the client’s personal information and one day I asked my sister, how should handle entering birthdates – every channel wants them? She thought for a moment and then said 29. Jen, she said, everyone wants to be 29 so just subtract that from the current year and use today’s date. We laughed and I implemented that strategy. Numbers are important to people, so use them!

Number your listicle to make it easier for people to reference your points and remember how many you had. If you number your lists, it makes long form content seem more snackable. Rather than leaving the post because the length seems overwhelming, readers can scan it and read the numbers that they are most interested in and then bookmark it to return. And, if you make the commitment to go long on the post, then make sure you have plenty to offer. A long form list should have at least 33 points to call upon, while a short form post can be kept to under 7.

Visuals such as gifs and videos can be used to break up your content and really they can deliver the point much in most cases and related quotes can add flavor to your post too.

Linton Weeks NPR article 10 Reasons Why We Love Making Lists broke down why lists are so enticing to us as humans. His article was of course, in a list format – so I wanted to share it with you.

1. Lists bring order to chaos.
2. Lists help us remember things
3. Most lists are finite.
4. Lists can be meaningful.
5. Lists can be as long or as short as necessary.
6. Making lists can help make you famous. He noted that Benjamin will long be remembered for his lists.
7. The word “list” can be tracked back to William Shakespeare, according to the Oxford English Dictionary.
8. Lists relieve stress and focus the mind.
9. Lists can force people to say revealing things.
10. Lists can keep us from procrastinating.

So with that in mind, it’s time to make your own list. What topics should you feature in your listical posts on your blog? Thank you for tuning in to today’s podcast. I’d love to know your thoughts! Please reach out to me on Twitter @jenblogs4u, through my website at NeedSomeoneToBlog.com or by leaving a review at iTunes or Stitcher. Talk to you next week!

Jen Miller has been writing since she was a child and spent her early career years soaking up all the information she could discover as a journalist of newspapers and magazines. Getting out the message and spreading truth has always been a high priority for Jen. Jen began writing website content for clients in 1996 and started blogging in 2008 for Today.com. That experience created a love for the blog and she has been an avid blogger ever since. Today she writes for her clients on a variety of topics as a ghostwriter/ghostblogger and connects their messages with personality through social media to deliver the most impact possible.

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