It is a good idea to learn how to write effective list posts for your blog, because after visual content like infographics, they receive the most traffic and generate the most social shares and inbound links. Their popularity has resulted in everyone putting together list posts, but simply throwing together a list and publishing it on your blog will not guarantee website traffic, links, and social love.
We have put together a list of 10 tips to help you write effective list posts for your blog and attract the kind of engagement that you desire.
Tip #1: Write an introduction
This blog post that you are reading right now is a list post, and you can see above that it was started with a brief introduction that explains what the post is all about and what the reader will gain by reading it. Many blogs will have a great concept but they start with point #1 without an introduction. All you need is a simple paragraph that lets your reader know what it is about and why they need to read it.
Tip #2: Include visual elements
At the very least your posts should contain at least one image, as readers prefer to read content that has some visual elements, even if it’s just a simple image that relates to your list post topic. Use tables, graphs, and even infographics whenever possible to really enhance your post. Using visual content is extremely effective and really helps to emphasize points that you want to make sure the reader picks up.
Tip #3: Keep your points on topic
Focus on creating content that is jam packed with information, eliminating any fort of fluff. Many companies are so focused on the length of their content that they fail to make sure that the reader is going to be able to read through it quickly and pick up all of the points, even if they just briefly scan through it. Most individuals are going to do just that – skim through it, so make sure that they can absorb the key points without reading every word.
Tip #4: Make your blog post shareable
You should want your blog to attract social shares from every piece of content you publish. List posts are very popular and they will tend to get more social attention than a non-list post, so make sure that your readers can quickly share the post on their favorite social media network with a single click. Determine the best position for your social sharing tool, either at the beginning of the content or at the very bottom by split testing locations. Take a look at some of the most popular websites like Mashable and Entrepreneur – the most popular posts are typically list posts.
Tip #5: Don’t write a generic blog post — speak to your reader
Instead of writing a generic blog post put some character and personality into it. Using words like “you” let the reader know that you are speaking to them and not just publishing a boring information list post. You can increase engagement by asking questions to your readers that cause them to continue to engage with your brand. Adding some personal flare always produces better results.
Tip #6: Experiment with different numbers of items
You will notice that the majority of list posts include 10 items (including this post!) because it appears to be the magic number. It draws attention and list posts that feature 10 items always perform well. This isn’t to say you shouldn’t test different numbers. Use the number that is going to allow you to fully get your point across. Also, don’t be afraid to use larger number, such as 37 or 52, for example. List post headlines with large numbers like that command a lot of attention.
Tip #7: Write descriptive list points that summarize each point
As mentioned above, a large percentage of the readers are going to skim through your list post, so make sure that your title for each list point is descriptive enough that the readers can get the point simply by reading the title of each point. This is going to benefit you, because if someone skims through it and just reads the headings for each point and still feels that they received something of value they are going to hit the share button.
Tip #8: Make sure your topics are compelling
Unfortunately many companies will just throw together a numbered list post without putting much thought into it. Just like a regular blog post, a list post needs to be compelling! You want people to stop in their tracks and click your blog title because they are interested in reading more. Get creative and come up with topics that your audience will be interested in reading about. A list post alone isn’t going to bring traffic — a great topic is.
Tip #9: Build you post specifically for your audience
Publishing a list post geared towards a business owner requires a much different approach than writing a list post for a consumer. A business audience composed of CEOs and executive level personnel will respond better to data numbers and stats, while a post that features more fun facts or a compelling infographic will engage your audience better. Just be aware of who your audience is and create your content specifically for them.
Tip #10: Write a conclusion
After your last list point you need to write a small conclusion that summarizes the message again, just as you did in the introduction. Your conclusion also gives you the opportunity to insert a call-to-action – either encouraging the reader to interact with other pieces of your content or to complete an action such as filling out a lead capture form or contacting your company.
Writing effective list posts for your blog is a great way to pull in new readers, introduce new audiences to your brand, gain social media love, and even earn inbound links. Using the tips listed above will help you craft more effective content, so make sure to use them next time you sit down to publish a new list post for your blog.