Need a new bag? Find it on the Internet. Want to know your personality type? Take a quiz on the Internet. Love cats? Check out memes on the Internet. Today, the World Wide Web has all the information you need, about, quite literally, everything under the sun. But there’s a downside — information overload. So what do you do in a situation like this? How do you make your content stand out?
Well, here’s an idea. Research suggests that human brains love lists. And it’s easy to see why — listicles break down complicated information and are perfect for our limited attention spans. While magazines have been using the format for a long time, a popular news website has a new breathed life into it by writing listicles on topics ranging from pop culture to politics that instantly went viral. Other brands soon followed suit, with similar results. If you’d like to jump on this bandwagon, here’s how to go about it:
Lay a strong foundation.
I believe that research and relevance are the two most important aspects of writing any marketing collateral. So, I suggest you decide what you want to write, collect the information required, and map it out. This will help you determine the relevance of your content. Often, people skip this stage and jump into writing, only to watch the fortress collapse, halfway through the process. The result? An endless cycle of rework and a huge waste of time — both of which could have easily been avoided.
Make a list.
At this stage, think about your reader. What would make them stay at your party all night? This question will help you identify the gaps in your research and put a framework in place. Once you steer clear of any discrepancies, list down points. Arrange information. See if your structure is adding value to your audiences’ lives. After all, a great listicle begins with a great list!
Put flesh and blood on the bones.
Once you have created a hook, give them something to hang on to. Flesh out the body. Focus on little details. Add life to your list. Give your readers a complete picture. While some brands rely on the picture/GIF approach, others elaborate on the points. Whatever the route may be, I believe that a good list has to be supported with good content — be it visual, text, or both. So, see what works for your brand and take the next steps accordingly. Bonus tip — SEO. Plug in keywords and watch the magic unfold.
Give special love to your headline.
People say don’t judge a book by its cover — but everyone does, and it’s the truth. So make sure your first impression is the best impression by writing a compelling headline.
Most listicles take numbers — 10 hacks or 15 must-haves or 21 secrets, which have been successful in the past. However, I urge you to explore the road less traveled. If you truly want your listicle to stand out, you have step out of your comfort zone and craft a line that makes all the difference.
All is well when you end well.
Your conclusion is crucial — because it gives your reader a sense of closure. Though it might sound old school, always summarise your takeaways, connect it back to your main message, and give your reader something to sleep on.
Now that I’ve given you a listicle, get started on your own. And during the process, remember Woody Guthrie’s words — “Any fool can make something complicated. It takes a genius to make it simple.”
The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.