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Starting a blog or business website has become more reachable than ever. The difficult part is creating content that attracts readers. Combine this with the growth of social media and shift in user preferences (from reading content, to skimming it) and you get the advent of the list post. Also known as a “listicle,” this popular format makes knowing how to write a list post an important skill that can be used to deliver information and stories in a concise, navigable format.
A list post uses a list as the basis of its structure, but contains enough content to be treated like an article. If you’ve never written one before, here are some general guidelines to create your first listicle.
The first step in understanding how to write a list post is to ensure that you fully understand the topic you’re writing about, and that you map out your list’s structure.
Generally speaking, you should write about topics that you’re knowledgeable about. If there are areas you’re not entirely sure about, then you’ll need to conduct some research before you can continue. Due to the compact nature of list posts, a lack of thorough understanding can be obvious. If a reader detects this, you’ll likely lose a potential fan or customer.
Once you know your topic well enough to present it online, create a roadmap for your list post by outlining your subheadings. This will also help to gather your thoughts for each list item.
Headlines typically appear in a post’s meta title. Therefore, it’s what visitors will see when they use search engines to find your content. Crafting an attention-grabbing headline can be make-or-break. When you create a headline, use words that encourage people to click on a link. Words like how, why, best, worst, you, hate, and love all elicit emotions within readers.
Because list posts are so popular, try differentiating yours by letting some of your personality shine through. Add some humor, animated GIFs, or even your own graphics to highlight your brand’s voice. Stand out from the other articles that crowd people’s newsfeeds.
According to HubSpot‘s list of marketing statistics for 2018, articles that include an image for every 75-100 words receive twice the number of social shares. Additionally, information paired with a relevant image is 65 percent more likely to be retained for up to three days. When used correctly, relevant images can go a long way in ensuring that your article is remembered and shared.
Due to the itemized nature of a list post, it’s a good idea to include a conclusion at the end of it. This will ensure that readers understand the key takeaways and have a clear idea of the type of action you want them to take after reading your post.
The tips outlined above are a great starting point for your next list post. For an example of this structure as well as some writing ideas, check out this list of 10 writing prompts.
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