Are you a compulsive list-maker? If you're responsible for your company's content marketing, list-makers are now high in demand.
A listicle, or list blog, is part list and part article -- essentially, an article written as a list. In recent years, this easy-to-consume blog genre has proliferated and is now regarded as a staple tactic among content marketers.
The benefits of the listicle are many. For starters, they don't require a significant investment of time to research, write, and publish. Small businesses, even those that are cash-strapped, can use listicles for lead generation and to increase their visibility in the search engines. Readers accustomed to instant gratification media are drawn to listicles and seem to have an endless demand for them. Typically, readers scan them for key insights, the more practical the better.
Here is an easy to follow template to make your next listicle a walk in the park:
STEP 1: Research and Planning
As with any type of blog post, begin with a brainstorming session. Jot down the following questions along with their respective answers:
- What's on your customers' minds? What are their challenges?
- What are the industry trends?
- How can you leverage your expertise and industry knowledge for your clients?
- How can you add value?
Answer these questions before selecting your listicle topic. They will point you in the right direction. Once you have decided on a topic, the next step is to settle on a format.
STEP 2: Organizing and Formatting your Listicle
For a list post to be successful, it should be logically organized. Choose a format that is best to present the information. Obviously, you should use a numerical format if there is a number in your title, i.e. "5 of the Most Successful Lead Generation Strategies." Consider using bullet points for lists with light text.
Rankings are value judgments. Examples include the best of, the worst of, the most fascinating, and the most famous. Some listicles may have a theme that ties your points together, such as "12 Productivity Hacks for Entrepreneurs."
However you choose to organize your listicle, make sure it flows smoothly from one entry to the next. Ensure consistency in length of entry and tone.
STEP 3: Writing an eye-catching, engaging title.
It's key to spend a good amount of time on their headlines, because your goal is to ensure blog-posts are opened and read. Roughly 8 in 10 people will read your headline, but only 2 will click through and finish your post (Tweet This Stat!). To master the art of an engaging headlines, check out the Tweak Your Biz Title Generator and Hubspot's Blog Topic Generator. Both tools are completely free to use and offer a treasure trove of instant blog topics- in the form of listicles.
STEP 4: Draft your conclusion and call to action.
Restate the key points and insert a call-to-action. The point of the listicle is to generate a specific action on the part of the customer. It can be as simple as downloading a white paper or signing up for an e-newsletter. Give them something to do now, before they exit your site, or you risk losing them forever.
- While listicles remain popular with readers, some businesses rely too much on this blogging format, which risks being over-exposed. All good things in moderation.
- Check to ensure your listicle is optimized for SEO purposes to enhance your visibility in the search engines (Tweet This!).
- Use the listicle as a starting point for creating a deeper -- and more profitable relationship -- with your prospects. Help expand your readers' knowledge base; use hyperlinks in your listicle to drive readers more deeply into your blog's content.
- Use key data points and attractive visuals and graphics to capture your readers' attention. Photography, design elements and screen-shots are particularly effective.
Listicles should not be cumbersome. Readers want substance and value but delivered in a format that can be quickly digested (Tweet This!).
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