5 Tips On How To Write Listicles That Convert

One of the biggest hurdles that any writer will face when learning how to write listicles is to find a topic that hasn’t been written about already. Most people think that they have been overdone and some are tired of them. Check out these 5 tips on how to write listicles that convert.

A popular way to deliver content these days is in list form, also known as a “listicle”. I have been running listicles a lot more lately because I find paid traffic sources are still kind to them. There are many ways to monetize a listicle, but my two favourites are:

1. Have all of the pieces of the list leading to an affiliate offer, or

2. I write engaging content that gets shared, and get more user engagement and clicks on my Adsense ads.

They are concise but flexible ways to convey ideas to your audience. Whether you are delivering action-packed news articles or a silly blog post. A successful listicle is one that has a narrow topic and a clean format. Once you have nailed these two things down, you can create the amazing content that your audience and search engines are looking for.

1. Make Sure Your Article Is Not Clickbait And Belongs In List Format

Before you begin writing your listicle, take a moment and consider whether your article should actually be a listicle. Listicles are great, but they are not for every subject or situation. Be sure to ask yourself, “Is my article able to be broken down into many distinct points?” Don’t waste your time if the answer is not yes.

how to write listicles computer image
Numbered List Articles Are Called Listicles

Storytelling-type content usually won’t work for listicles. If you want to share your story about catching a huge bluefin tuna off the coast of Nova Scotia, it most likely shouldn’t be presented as a list.

On top of reading this article on how to write listicles that convert, definitely check out 7 Critical Elements for Affiliate Marketing Niche Websites.

Clickbaity or misleading headlines generally look bad and result in poor conversion rates. Accurate and truthful titles are super important for listicles. Ensuring that your title is correct will help help you steer clear of getting a bad reputation.

Just like Justin Beiber, listicles are popular but do not have an excellent reputation with everyone. Many times listicles mislead their audience. You don’t want your content to be associated with clickbait or misdirection, particularly if you are attempting to be a source of high-quality content. This is very important when you approach how to write listicles.

2. Hook the Reader’s Attention With A Captivating Title

Listicles are very shareable on social media platforms. If you want your content to be shared as much as possible on platforms like Twitter and Facebook, you will need to hook the reader’s interest so they click on your content and hopefully share it (just remember clickbait is a bad thing and could get you banned on FB ads.)

cartoon man getting hooked on stage
Try To Hook Your Audience

So when you are learning how to write listicles, many of the rules are straightforward. Use powerful and demonstrative sentences. If you are deciding between using a short or long word, generally the short one is a better choice.

Using a tactic called the “curiosity gap” will help with getting more clicks without using clickbait.

It is good to not tell your audience everything about your listicle in the title. Instead of answering a question, ask one. These are called “curiosity gap headlines”, and they are known to make people click more.

So now that I have many of you confused, let me explain the difference between clickbait titles and curiosity gap headlines.

The word “clickbait” is many times used too much. There’s nothing wrong with writing a title that makes your audience want to click on your listicle. Curiosity gap headlines usually ask a question, this is ok.

Sometimes words get used to freely, clickbait is one of those words.

Overpromising, being too vague or using cliches are great examples of clickbait titles. Stay away from these tactics.

Make sure that you give your readers what you promised them in your title while showcasing the value of your content.

3. Choose Listicle Items That Will Surprise Your Readers

A fantastic trait of listicles is that they generally pull your audience forward. Using numbered headings, there is a certain feeling of forward movement while you are reading, making the reader want to get to the next number on the listicle.

woman reading a shocking article
Surprise Your Reader With Compelling Information

Listicles are scannable. They are super easy to skim when the reader is short on time and helps them to focus on the items that interest them the most. They should be clear, concise and give real value.

Make sure that you use entries that your reader may not expect. This is different from creating great, high-quality content, which is always important. It is about hitting the reader with content that they didn’t expect to see in the first place.

One of the hardest things to accomplish in content marketing is to get peoples’ eyes on your content.

Once you have accomplished that, you can count on the quality of the content to keep them reading. You will be rewarded by Google and other search engines the longer you keep people on your website. If you are unsure of your writing ability you can take a course on creative writing or hire someone from websites like Upwork.

4. Your List Should Be Scannable

Although great content is very important, don’t forget to use correct formatting.

person scanning items at the grocery store
Being Able To Scan A Listicle Easily Is Important

One tip that you will see in nearly all articles about how to write listicles that convert, is how important scanability is.

Most people have attention spans that could rival that of a goldfish. Keeping your content clear, concise and to the point is very important to avoid having your readers lose interest.

5000 words straight without any kind of image or subheading, may be ok for a history textbook, but in a listicle on your blog, it will certainly be awkward and hard to read for even the most avid scholar.

A good listicle summarizes the main points in a brief sentence and elaborates on them in the body.

Listicles have a great advantage over other types of articles as they make it really easy for readers to digest the information that you are providing to them. You will need to format your content wisely. You should use H1 or H2 in your listicle. This will make search engines and your readers very happy for a few reasons.

One of the most important things in this article on how to write listicles that convert is to keep your paragraphs short and sweet. When people read blogs they don’t expect textbook-like long paragraphs. You will notice the most successful blogs use this tactic.

Adding images strategically to your posts will make your listicle easier to scan. It will also help with your site’s SEO ranking. Adding a cleverly placed joke or well-placed dig on someone famous doesn’t hurt either.

5. Pick the Right Number of Entries:

You will certainly find articles on how to write listicles that tell you different information on the optimal number of items on your list.

a group of cartoon numbers

Most articles recommend a certain number.

Some say even numbers are good, others odd. Some will say 5, 10 or prime numbers do the best. You can’t follow this advice in all situations.

I am not saying that all that advice is completely hooey. It is certainly backed up by stats and data. Sometimes things just feel right. If you were writing an article about being lucky, seven would certainly fit the bill.

You should pick the number that matches the exact number of high-quality items on your list, no more no less.

If your listicle is about “Kitchen Utensils That Every Person Needs” and you have 14 of them, then your list should have 14 items on it. If you leave out items on your list you risk having a competitor use that content to outrank you on search engines.

Switch to the other side of the spectrum. If you read an article on how to write listicles that say make your listicle 19 items long, you will certainly compromise the quality of your content. The extra entries will feel like filler and make your reader disinterested, and we definitely do not want that.

Boring content can be the death of your Listicle dreams.

When people become bored they are more likely to click the back button on your browser to leave the article. Google and other search engines see that and penalize you accordingly.

Keeping SEO on your brain is important, but you can definitely overthink it. I also use listicles on paid traffic campaigns. There is a lot of money to be made with high quality engaging listicles that link to CPA offers.

If you talk to anyone making bank in the SEO game they will tell you that top-quality content is king. Just keep that in mind while you are filling out your SEO checklist.

Is it possible to have a listicle that is too long?

Probably not, but if your list is over 30 entries you could break it up into more articles or make each entry short, sweet and to the point.

If the number of items on your list exceeds the teens then you will need to keep the entries very concise. On the other hand, if your listicle is only 6 entries long each one should be a few paragraphs or more.

Joey Babineau

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