Today, the average person consumes more than 17,000 pieces of media each day. When you want to be the one out of thousands to stand out to your audience, you have to deliver information in a way that is appealing and easy to consume.
To accomplish the goal of standing out, there’s a new word that you need to add to your business vernacular: Listicle.
What is a listicle? You’ve likely read one before, perhaps an article about “The Top 10 Beaches To Visit This Summer” or “8 Ways To Boost Your Happiness.” Listicles are “part list, part article.” They are an easy and effective way to communicate information to the reader, and they have been proven to be more desirable than traditional articles. They also allow people who talk to clients for a living to leverage their conversational skills in a written form. Because of the informal nature of most lists, when writing an easy, conversational tone is best.
While listicles sometimes get a bad rap with critics, the concept of conveying information through lists has been around for hundreds of years (the earliest listicle has been traced back to 11th century Japan.) And there is a reason why listicles have survived for so long: they work!
In today’s world, the most popular online media brands use listicles to bring an array of information to their readers. Websites like Buzzfeed, Refinery 29, Bustle, Slate, and YourTango regularly publish listicles. And now you can, too.
We’ll tell you in listicle form why you should adopt this writing trend ASAP:
1. Lists make the article fun
Listicles are often associated with light-hearted topics like “The Top 10 Cutest Puppies” and “5 Ways To Smile More.” Readers view listicles as light, easy-to-digest articles that allow them to be informed without exerting extensive amounts of energy. You can capitalize on this positive association by taking advantage of the momentum that listicles have gained on the internet!
Listicles are often catchy and grab the reader’s attention. When a reader views a headline like “5 Ways to Boost Your Energy,” they’re likely to be intrigued because they know that they are going to receive informative advice in an easy-to-read format.
On top of being fun and catchy, listicles also offer positive associations and endorphin-inducing feelings of excitement upon the completion of reading the work. Robert Zajonc, a social psychologist, promoted the benefit of positive feelings from completion and how they encourage future moods and associations. For instance, if the title of a listicle reads “5 Colors to Add to Your Wardrobe” then a reader will likely feel a sense of accomplishment upon reading all five tenents of the listicle. The easy presentation of listicles allows the reader to quickly process the information and to more easily feel a sense of completion at the end of the listicle.
2. Lists are easy to write.
When you think about writing an article of 1000-1500 words, the task can seem daunting and overwhelming. But if you think about writing out a list of reasons why clients should seek out your business, the task is likely completed in less than a minute.
It’s probably instinctive for you to name the reasons why clients should sign up and what benefits they gain from your service. And that’s what a listicle is: a quick and easy way for readers to learn why they should sign up for your service!
If you are a helping professional, writing articles may not be one of your primary areas of practice. You may not have the time to write long-form articles on a regular basis. But what if you broke the writing assignment down into 200-300 word blurbs? Now put five of those blurbs together and you have a listicle! In the end, using listicles to promote your business work to your benefit.
They’re easier to write than traditional articles, you already have the information in your head.
3. Lists save time and money
Yes, listicles can save your business money. How? When you spend less time writing articles (since listicles typically take less time to write than long-form articles require) then you have more available time to dedicate to your business. Your time is money, and saving time by writing a listicle instead of a traditional article ultimately saves you money!
And while you’re saving time by writing listicles, the reader is saving time when reading them. There’s no doubt that we live in a busy world in which multi-tasking is frequent and time is scarce. For the reader, being able to skim through an article and view the main points in easy-to-read headers is both desirable and effective.
Listicles allow the reader to consume what you have to say in “snack-sized snippets of information.” Absorbing the information in smaller portions helps the reader better understand what you have to say and increases the likelihood of retention. Lists also reduce the “Paradox of Choice” for the reader in that they decrease the amount of spatial processing the reader must do and consequently make the information easier to receive and retain. What does this mean? It means that the reader is more likely to remember what you’ve written than they would be if your information was presented in a long-form article.
4. Lists have a greater audience appeal
To the reader, listicles are less intimidating to read than are traditional articles. They can be skimmed, which means that a reader can learn what you have to say while on-the-go. The ease of reading listicles is one of the most appealing things about them!
Listicles break things down so that the reader can easily and quickly understand the information. You can think of listicles like recipes: Imagine cooking a new recipe and how daunting it can be to think about making the end product from scratch, but then how doable it is when the instructions are broken down into easy-to-manage steps. You accomplish one step at a time. That’s how you should think of listicles, as articles that offer the reader easy-to-manage steps of how to benefit from your service.
And not only are listicles popular among readers, but they are also more conducive to process. The human brain relies on spatial recognition, and sorting items into categories (from color to size to shape, etc.) is a natural way of processing. Now translate that to the articles your audience reads and it’s easy to determine that the succinct categories listicles offer are preferable to long-form articles.
From saving both you and the reader time to delivering easy-to-consume information that is more likely to stay with the reader, listicles are a must for any business. And if you really needed one true reason to give a listicle a shot, the real reason they have proliferated the internet is simply because they work!
Need help moving your content marketing strategy along? We can help. Contact us for a free website/content audit to see the fastest way to leverage your writing to bring in new clients today.