First things first, we all love listicles. They are like a magnet, and somehow, we are addicted to them. While many attribute the rise of the listicle to online sites, like BuzzFeed and HuffPost, listicles are used by a wide range of writers, and yes, even the New York Times uses listicles in their feature sections. (Okay, not as much as Buzzfeed.)
What Is a Listicle?
Well, it is not too hard to guess that listicles are a portmanteau of list and article. Basically, a listicle is an article presented in an easy-to-read list form.
Why Are Listicles so Popular (To Read and Write)?
Listicles are fun, visually appealing, witty, and informative. According to Maria Konnikova, in her 2013 New Yorker article: A List of Reasons Why Our Brains Love Lists, once we read a list-style article, they become our favorite to read for many reasons. They provide information in a digestible way, and somewhat, we get addicted to them without even realizing that. We always need an optimal way to filter and process information. Think about it this way: If you go to the store and forget your shopping list, it’s not that difficult to recall every single thing if we record it in “bulleted, or numbered, points,” Konnikova says since we can envision the words. Besides, it is only natural for our brains to sort things into lists. As a matter of fact, Konnikova says that it’s impossible not to sort something once we put our eyes on it because listicle lump data into small, particular segments.
When people are online, they often have short attention spans, and one of the best things about listicles is that they are scannable. They can preview and scan the material to get the general overview and then go back and reread it afterward if they wish. A 2017 study by Jason Robert Freeman of Brigham Young University puts it – listicle readers scroll faster through the scannable design than those who read regular articles.
Listicles Are Fantastic to Read Because They:
- Give you immediate information of what to expect.
- Grab reader attention and psychologically irresistible.
- Are short and focused and easy to read.
- Are skimmable and scannable.
Also, Listicles Are so Desirable to Write Becasue They:
- Are easy to plan and quick to write.
- Get more attention and attract distracted reader, like me.
- Are more memorable.
- Engages readers.
What Are the Listicle Options?
Listicles come in all shapes and sizes. You can write a list of your favorite restaurants, or your summer movie list—the possibilities are endless.
Here’s a list of some of my favorites types:
- Instructional or the “how-to” listicle: Simple and super easy to write because you talk about what you already know.
- “Best-of” listicle: You validate your favorites.
- Motivational listicle: You aim to inspire.
- Educational listicle: Your goal is to offer valuable information.
- News listicle: Your takeaway of a current event.
- Advice listicle: Your advice based on your real experience with something.
- Analytical listicle: You clarify a complex topic.
- Expert roundup listicle: You feature deep presentations from your industry expertise.
There are numerous ways to format content for online consumption, and Freeman highlights listicles are one of them that digital writers use to communicate with their readers. Listicles, like visual content, presents their work “in a way that reduces cognitive load and allows for better recall of information.” The best part, it is your decision!
How to Write a Killer Listicle?
Now, writing a listicle is easy. Yes, anyone can write one. No, not everyone can write it well. Lucky for you, flex your Buzzfeed muscles, because here’s a listicle for that:
- Pick a topic. Try to choose a relevant, exciting, or funny topic to engage your audience.
- Consider who you are targeting, why you are writing this listicle, and what’s your tone and format.
- Choose your unique angle wisely.
- Write a compelling introduction.
- Choose your listicle type.
- Brainstorm the points you are including and build a useful list.
- Decide a number of your useful and in-depth list items.
- Write in easy scannable structure and be specific.
- Enhance with graphics to illustrate your content.
- End with a zinger!
- Write an accurate and catchy title.
- Have fun writing.
You can do it! Listicles are easy and fun to write, and they are here to stay. Forever. And if you think that listicles are too formulaic you’re missing out on a blockbuster way to deliver content.
So, are you ready to write your listicle?