List posts are incredibly useful to your audience member and you may be called upon to create these types of post to help boost your viewing. List articles are typically a good first article to submit to an editor when you are guest blogging because they are punchy, hit the spot, and can be marketed far more effectively. List posts are good value. Many blogs can exist simply from the practice of creating this type of post because the layout is simple and infinitely repeatable.
Copyblogger suggests that this type of post is a winner down to the attraction of the headline that can be launched through social medial links. The headline is a compelling opener. “7 reasons why list posts will always work” goes into further detail about “magnetic headlines”.
Problogger featured an interesting article that certainly goes into more depth than my own but covers similar topics. “10 steps to the perfect list post” is a worthy read if you are serious about making a powerful list.
Part 1: Do not set a target number of points.
Contrary to what you are told, you should group together the best list based on only those points that contribute well. If you try and fill in or top up to a number, you are likely to throw in poor quality points with your good points and your reader may feel cheated.
What I would suggest is to create a bigger list and then chop out the lower value items when you come to review the content.
Part 2: Make sure you have all the sections numbered properly.
If you promise someone 119 ways to make pomegranate salad, make sure that your list contains 119 H2 titles for each recipe.
There is nothing more annoying than getting through a list to find it is incomplete. You may feel cheated as a reader and far less likely to trust the author as a result.
Part 3: If making a big list; try and sub-group points into logical collections.
Say if you had 30 ways to blog better and 10 of those might include social media tips, try and group those 10 points together in the flow.
Part 4: Give your reader room to pause.
A nice image or some blank space every 5 to 10 points helps keep it fresh. Blank space is not to be afraid of.
Part 5: If making a small list below 10 points, try and ensure you finish with an odd number of points.
A strange psychology will draw people closer to odd numbered points over even ones.
You can combine this with Part 10 below if you finish your list with an even number of points.
Part 6: The size of the point can be large or small as long as the content is useful.
Each point doesn’t have to be a uniform size. Some points can just consist of a paragraph and a picture. There is no gun pointed at your head forcing you to overwrite each point. Less is more but accurate is better.
Part 7: Mention others in your points.
The main aim of blogging is sharing. If you can harness some good points from other bloggers, and mention them in your work, you are likely to perform well. Links are even better. Links to high ranking information score higher with the search engines because your “listicle” is more useful overall as a guide to someone.
Part 8: Don’t go straight into the list.
Sometimes a short introduction can make or break a list post. You want to describe what the need is for this list and possibly why these points are so key, so have an introduction but don’t go too long on it.
Part 9: Be top heavy.
The attention span of readers is short at the best of times. We are busy people living in a busy world. Put some of the good stuff up front to keep them hooked because many people who consider buying books or sitting down to read something like a bit of “wow” up top (no innuendos implied). Essentially you need to hook your audience.
Part 10: End on a high.
Because ending on a high is a great way to keep a reader feeling satisfied. We read a novel because we want to experience the journey then be satisfied by the conclusion. You may occasionally get some filler material amongst those epic points but a lot of the time, as long as it feels like it belongs and has value, add it. The end however, should be one of the key tips, the “I really needed to know that” tips.
Bonus Part 11: You can add bonus points.
Another bit of psychology is the bonus point or tip. Consider it your curtain call. When you put bonus in your title, you should experience a leap in interest. Bonus is a very convincing word attached to positive value and works well in Twitter and other social media outlets as a convincer in short titles.
Because 10 + 1 is so much more than 11!
The beauty of a list post is that you can make that list longer or shorter and make a new list post. Oh, the possibilities.
Over to you
Do you have any sage ideas for a list post? Do you love or hate them? Are you more likely to click on one? Anything I missed here?
Share in the comments below.