Listicles in Content Marketing

In the last couple of years, content marketing has been highly successful in drifting away from the traditional ways of producing content through articles and blog posts. In order to go viral, content marketers have realized that the key to success lies in the way a content gets presented. Be it videos or infographics – the more a content is short and creative, more are its chances of getting social shares. But the one type of content that has distinctively stood out from the crowd is a listicle that we so often see popping up on our Facebook and Google+ feed.

What is a listicle? It is a post arranged in a list format, and each point is supported with a relevant (and quirky) image or GIF to keep readers engaged. So if you find a post titled something like ‘15 Things Every Woman Should Do Before She Turns 25’, you are looking at a listicle.

However, a listicle is not a new thing. It has been used by numerous magazines and newspapers over the years. But the main architect behind its recent resurgence in the content marketing diorama is BuzzFeed. And the phenomenal success of BuzzFeed has prompted smaller websites to adopt the format and use it to perfection.

Just like America’s fascination with twerking, many people had predicted that the booming popularity of listicles was just a passing fad. Contrary to the prophecy, use of listicles have expanded so much so that they are now being touted as the “new face of content marketing”.

So what are the reasons behind their growing acceptance? And why should every business embrace listicles as a must-have tool in its content marketing strategy?

Our Brains Love Lists

Our brains have a natural aversion to chaotic things. Our mental tendency is to incline towards a content where we can find a pattern and group things together. This makes things easily understandable and digestible. A content divided into simple paragraphs is less preferable to a content divided into points, especially the ones that end with a zero (10, 20 or 30) or a five (5, 15 or 25).

Moreover, we love lists because most of them are highly relatable. For example, we are bound to click on a listicle such as ‘10 Things We Realize When Learning To Ride A Bicycle’. This is because we can find a real-life relation with some of the points, and go back in time to relive the good memories.

Readers Know What They’re Getting Into

Courtesy to Smartphones and Tablets, we are the TLDR (Too Long, Didn’t Read) generation of Internet users. And this is where a listicle, with its short length and crisp information, becomes a clear winner. A listicle normally has a very brief introduction and conclusion, with the points written in words and pictures acting as the descriptions. Therefore, a listicle of 10 points approximately takes 2 minutes to cover minutely and a reader can take in insightful information without wasting too much time.

Moreover, the tile of a listicle distinctively mentions the number of points inside and a reader can predetermine the time needed to scan through the entire list. So when a reader has an idea of what to expect, his commitment towards the content increases. These points become milestones, and the reader is compelled to stay and complete the list.

The Power of ‘Click bait’

How many times have you come across a listicle with ‘10 Ways To Workout Without Hitting The Gym. Number 7 Will Blow Your Mind as its headline? This is one classic example of ‘Click bait’. Apart from enticing potential readers with a catchy headline, content marketers can add an extra line to lure the targeted audience.

It is very simple content marketing strategy to exploit the basic human psychology. We are curious by nature, and we are bound to quench that curiosity the moment we will see that number 7 has something extra special for us. In all likelihood, readers will land on the listicle and scroll directly to point no.7. And if it indeed offers something really interesting, readers will surely go back up and read the entire content from the beginning.

Great Traffic, Low Bounce Rate

If you consider the aforementioned points, then it will not be wrong to deduce that listicles are like magnets. Be it on a serious topic or something humorous, a listicle induces attachment. And if the points are thought-provoking, readers do not hesitate to share a listicle with their social networking followers. As a result, a listicle reaches potential readers and generates a lot of traffic for the website.

Moreover, a list has a very fascinating structure. Points are arranged vertically and one has to scroll down in order to reach the last point. Listicles usually cover interesting topics and it is hard to leave abruptly because the subject is already interesting to the reader. And each point is like a Pokémon, and you have to collect them all. In short, the topic and the structure of listicles keep the bounce rate low by making a reader stay on the page longer.

So let us embrace listicles and integrate them aptly into the content marketing strategy. And we can definitely reap some great rewards if the headline, the topic and the arrangement are handled smartly.

Read More: