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Are you a content marketer struggling to produce some good, meaningful content? As copywriters, it can happen to the best of us – sometimes we run out of ideas! 

Writing is like driving, swimming, or riding a bike: no matter how talented you are, you’ve got to keep practising. There is no secret but to keep at it, and with time, you will improve.

There are different kinds of article formats. Among the most popular is the listicle. 

A listicle is an article comprised of a list, usually giving extra detail on each item. 

Despite condemnation by the old guard, listicles are here to stay. They remain one of the most popular formats of writing. From Buzzfeed to Huffpost, there are so many lists published each day.

List posts generate more backlinks and social shares than other forms of writing.

Here are some clues to help you craft an awesome listicle.

1. Devote More Time to Your Concept

Just because you are about to put your points in a list form, doesn’t mean you should be lazy in the writing. 

You already know the structure the content will take. But, it is important to ensure you put in more effort into the concept. This makes your ideas well defined in the writing. 

Do not forget that you want your clients impressed by your work. You definitely do not want your listicle getting rejected. 

How about starting out with a great title. Here are some tips from Amit Agarwal, one of the most successful bloggers around.

2. Check Out Your Competition

Keywords can help you search for top ranking results on certain topics. There is nothing wrong with checking out your competitors. See what they have done with topics you want to explore.

Reading your competitor’s listicles gives you an idea of the available information. It also gives you an idea of what readers are more interested in.

Be careful not to add information for the sake of it. 

Instead, look out for missing gaps in the points your competitor has given. Give finer details to make your listicle more valuable than your competitors.

3. Think Outside the Box

While writing your listicle, choose a unique angle to make it stand out. 

Remember, there are a lot of other listicles talking about the same topic you are about to write.

Writing an awesome listicle requires you to think outside the box. What is it people have not heard about this particular topic you want to explore? 

For example, If you are writing about 5 lessons you learned from starting an online business, find a new angle. Make your article different from the other content available.

This will not only make your listicle stand out, but it will also attract more views.

4. Map Out Your Subheads

Before you begin writing, map out your subheads. 

A subheading should be able to stand on its own. Otherwise, your listicle will sound boring and repetitive.

Each point should be as unique, creative, and as surprising as possible.

In some cases, you will realize you can merge two similar subheadings into one. 

Mapping out your subheads makes it easier for you to keep focused on what you want to explore. Be as specific as possible and ensure your points are clear to your readers.

5. Avoid Clickbait Titles

Clickbait titles on your listicle will put off your audience. It will leave them thinking you only want to get money out of their wallets or to increase traffic to your site at any cost. You definitely do not want your audience to think this. 

Avoid bold unrealistic proclamations that are impossible to meet. This only gets your readers agitated and may lead them to sidestep you when choosing who to work with.

6. Consider Your Listicle Options

There are different types of listicle options available for you. The type of listicle you chose depends on the topic you want to write. 

Choose the option that will bring out your topic in the most interesting way. After familiarising yourself, pick the one that works for your topic and the preferences of your client.

  • A personal essay/experience-based listicle. This is basically a personal essay retold in a list format. 
  • Advice from experience – this type of listicle may seem like a personal essay. It incorporates research and gives advice based on experience. An example would be What Should You Say to Someone Who is Mourning? 3 Cliches to Avoid – And 3 Things That Could Help.
  • Research roundup – these are researched stories in list form requiring credible sources of information. 
  • Reported List – a hard news story can be more difficult to pitch. This kind of listicle makes it easier to pass on the information you want. It is also a great way to trick people into learning.
  • Editorial-Turned-List – this kind of listicle argues a specific point. A good example would be 5 Things That Prove You Are a SpendThrift.

7. Be Specific With Each Item

One way to ensure you do not lose your audience is by being specific with each item. Know the points you want to make in each point and be as precise as possible. Being clear and straightforward keeps your audience involved.

8. Revise

write without fear

Depending on who you are writing for, it is crucial to ensure your listicle is as tight as possible. This point should be at the back of your mind, even as you start writing. Look out for formatting rules and other standards required. Proofreading is vital in ensuring you improve the quality of your work.

9. Choose Images Wisely

Even the best readers can get distracted and zone out when reading too much text. To break the monotony of text on the page, you need to enhance your listicle with images. Take your time to choose the images. Ensure they are not only relatable but also that they have permissions. The use of images helps in encouraging readers to scroll further down the page.

10. Be on Point With Your Conclusion

Listicles should add value to the person reading them. 

Having a solid conclusion should prompt the person reading a listicle to stop and think about it for a moment. A powerful conclusion should convict further action. 

While they may still be facing resistance, listicles are here to stay. To make them outstanding, be creative, and put in the work. Do what it takes to get them on the publishing list. Be sure to visit our ultimate guide for more information on listicles, and their use in content marketing.

Bonus Tip: Effective Copywriting

To be successful at content marketing, you have to improve on copywriting. For this, you require writers who are passionate, talented, and ready to learn.

Establish your expectations and communicate them. Do not forget to set up Key Performance Indicators to check on your writer’s performance. Providing learning material is also something you must do to ensure writers produce as effectively as possible.

In order to improve, you must be willing to learn. Continue your education with bundled copywriting courses from Small Revolution. 

Invest in yourself and grow your online freelance career.

Photo by Freepik / CC BY


I'm Katrina McKinnon, founder of CopySmiths and Small Revolution. I'm using my 20 years' experience in building and operating online businesses to create engaging educational materials that helps others become successful online workers. Find me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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