7 Reasons Why Writing a List Post Will Attract Readers
Ever heard of a listicle? Odd word, isn’t it? It’s also another word for a list post. Writing a list post or listicle is something worth thinking about if you have a blog or website in need of content. They’re popular too – five of the top 15 posts on eConsultancy’s blog in 2017 were listicles.
If you’re considering writing a list post or two for your website, here are seven solid reasons why you should.
1. List posts are easy to scan
Many readers are in a hurry. Writing a list post means you’ve already got a structure to work from. In this post, I’ve listed seven reasons why writing a ‘listicle’ will bring in more readers. You knew when you read the headline you would get seven reasons for writing this type of article. Since each reason is highlighted with its own section, you can scan it to get the gist of the article. Then, you can choose to read it in full, save it for later, or simply learn from the main pointers.
2. Listicles are easier to plan
Oftentimes, I will begin a list article with a basic title like this:
When I have fleshed out the idea, I will go back and replace the X with however many good points I have come up with for that piece. I find that’s better than choosing some arbitrary number and trying to think of enough items to hit that figure. Whichever number of points I use, those points act as separate sections within the article.
Compare that to choosing a topic without using the list format. You’ve got your topic and you need to find a way to navigate that while making the article easy and enjoyable to read. It can be done, of course, but writing a list post does make life easier.
3. The headline tells the reader what they’re getting
10 ways to mow a lawn? Check. 21 methods for getting traffic to your website? Got it. 93 ideas to help you write better blog posts? Let’s do it.
You get the idea. If you can deliver on your headline, people know what they’re getting just from reading that headline. Simple. Writing a list post still takes a lot of planning, writing, and editing, but you’ve got a strong point to start from.
4. Writing a list post works with every topic
It doesn’t matter whether your website is about crude oil, curtains, or cruciferous vegetables. You can write a list post on any of those topics. I’m not saying every post you write should be a list post, but it’s certainly a good article format to use. You know people like them and thinking about lists can inspire lots of ideas too. I know it does for me.
When you’re developing ideas, don’t worry about the number of items that might appear in each listicle. You might have a rough idea of how many items you could include when you get the initial idea. Jot down any items that come to mind. You can then flesh out the article later.
You may find list posts work well on your site – so well, in fact, you decide to make almost every post fit this format. Just be sure each post works best as a list if you do this. Don’t be tempted to use the format when another article format might work better.
5. People can choose whether to read just the list or the whole article
This follows on from being able to scan the article or blog post. When the information is given in list form, people can look through to pick out the subheads in the list. That gives them an idea of whether they should keep reading. If the points on the list interest them, chances are they will read the whole thing.
Writing a list post means you must follow a set format. Each item on the list forms its own paragraph – its own section in that article. It almost guarantees the finished article will be far easier to read than a long article with no subheads, no clear formatting, and nothing to break it up. If you’ve ever encountered one of those online, chances are you clicked away just as quickly as I always do.
In a sense, you’re giving people two ways of reading your content. There’s the fast way and the complete way. Of course, you want them to read the whole thing. But if they don’t have the time and they still like the title and the items on your list, they might still bookmark your site to come back to later.
6. A good list post title stands out more
It’s to the point. It’s clear. There’s a number involved, whether that is three, 11, 781, or something else entirely (although that last one would be a LONG list). It’s this element that makes it more shareable. If we read a list and like what we see, we’re more likely to share that with others.
If you read about headlines, you’ll soon discover that many experts talk about using powerful words. Emotional words. Words that draw you in. Words that elicit a reaction in you – positive or negative. But those words can only go so far. Adding a number in digit format rather than using the written word immediately tells people they’re about to read a list article. And since we know people love them so much (see point seven below), that increases the odds more people will read your article.
7. People love numbers in list posts
Research has proven this time and again. MOZ found 36% of people questioned on their headline preferences chose headlines with numbers in them as the most pleasing type of headline. (Second place went to headlines addressing the reader… with a mere 21%. Quite a difference.)
This is far from the only headline research to come up with a similar outcome. We just love numbers – they’re specific, targeted, and reveal some of the promise of an article. No matter the topic or the approach, numbered lists are something you should consider if you’re looking to write more content for your blog or website.
Coming up with ideas when writing a list post
It’s one thing to like the idea of writing a listicle or two for your website. It’s quite another to come up with the ideas that sit behind these articles. This is where a spot of mind mapping comes in handy. You can begin with the topic of your blog or website in the middle and work your way out from there.
There are two things you should always remember when developing ideas to help you write a list post:
- Make sure the idea for a list post is relevant to your blog or business
- Make sure the points given in that post represent great value content
Some bloggers struggle to come up with ideas. Others have huge files of ideas but struggle to write the content. If you are in one or other of those groups, I can help. If you like the idea of writing a list post but you need some assistance with it, you can benefit from my experience (I’ve been doing this for a while – since 1990, in fact. I’m not that old, am I?)
Numbers always stand out when they’re used in headlines. Those writing list posts for their blogs, websites, and social media channels know this. There’s a reason why they’re popular. In fact, there are at least seven good reasons. Are you going to start taking advantage of them?