How to Write a Great Listicle Post in 10 Steps

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Listicles don’t should be clickbait. Those mind-numbing posts about one of the best potato chips or most ripped celebrities that you simply see on Facebook give listicles a nasty identify.

It’s completely potential to put in writing a fantastic listicle about… nicely, just about something.

In this put up, you’ll discover ways to just do that.

Listicles, in any other case generally known as list-posts, are articles structured round lists. Usually, they broaden on every checklist merchandise with further data to make them extra helpful for readers.

Why do individuals like listicles?

Here are just some causes:

  • Easy to skim as a result of every subheading often corresponds to a listing merchandise.
  • Easy to digest as a result of they’re damaged into bitesize chunks by definition.
  • Easy to gauge since you at all times know the way a lot is left from the quantity within the title.

Is that an exhaustive checklist of causes? No, however we will’t checklist all of them. Check out this post by Smithsonian Magazine if you happen to’re interested by different causes for his or her reputation.

Writing a listicle is straightforward. Just open a clean doc, checklist a bunch of issues and also you’ve received a listicle. But writing a listicle that drives site visitors and that individuals truly wish to learn is a little more sophisticated.

Here’s the way to do it:

  1. Choose a matter
  2. Ensure it makes sense
  3. Decide on size
  4. Choose a format
  5. Choose a successful angle
  6. Brainstorm checklist factors
  7. Expand in your concepts
  8. Flesh out every level
  9. Illustrate your factors
  10. Wrap issues up

1. Choose a matter

If you need your listicle to drive site visitors from search engines like google, you have to select a subject that persons are looking for.

Because key phrases sometimes characterize matters, you are able to do this with a very good key phrase analysis software like Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer. Just seek for a broad matter, then go to the Phrase Match report the place you’ll see key phrase concepts sorted by their month-to-month search volumes.

Make certain to decide on a subject that you’ve some data about. Otherwise you’ll wrestle to put in writing a novel and worthwhile checklist.


 If you’re not an Ahrefs consumer, you possibly can rise up to 100 concepts utilizing our free key phrase generator.

2. Ensure it makes sense

Not each matter is appropriate for a listicle format. That’s fairly apparent for some matters, like “how to tie a tie.” You can inform from the question that persons are searching for a step-by-step course of, not a listicle with plenty of completely different strategies.

But issues aren’t at all times so apparent…

Take a subject like “seo expert.” It’s not clear whether or not individuals desire a step-by-step information, a listing of ideas, or one thing else.

You can determine this out by trying on the top-ranking ends in Google. Because Google’s enterprise mannequin depends on them delivering related search outcomes, the highest outcomes are a fantastic proxy for what searchers wish to see.

Looking on the screenshot above, you possibly can see that just one listicle ranks within the high 5 for “seo expert.” As the remaining are step-by-step guides, this in all probability isn’t a very good matter for a listicle.


If you’re struggling to discover a appropriate matter for a listicle, strive including these phrases to the Include filter in Keywords Explorer: concepts, ideas, greatest, instruments, issues, methods, ways, checklist. This will slender the outcomes right down to key phrases that embrace at the very least a type of phrases, which can typically be nice candidates for listicles.

3. Decide on size

Generally talking, the variety of objects in your checklist ought to roughly match the variety of checklist objects you see amongst top-ranking pages. After all, in the event that they’re all nicely into the double or triple digits, then a listing of 5 objects in all probability isn’t what searchers are searching for.

For instance, the highest outcomes for “date ideas” are lists of lots of of concepts.

Whereas not one of the high 5 outcomes for “blogging tips” exceed 30.

Is this a tough and quick rule? No. If you suppose a listing of 100+ objects is totally pointless and doesn’t truly assist searchers, be happy to deviate from this recommendation. What we’re doing right here is utilizing the top-ranking outcomes as a proxy for what searchers need, however it’s not 100% foolproof.

Plus, the size of your checklist could in the end be restricted by the variety of concepts you might have, however it’s good to have a tough ballpark determine in thoughts to begin.

4. Choose a format

There are two potential listicle codecs.

a) Basic

Basic lists are quick and candy with 1–2 sentence descriptions for every checklist merchandise. Use this format when one or each of the next are true:

  1. Your checklist shall be lengthy. People in all probability don’t wish to learn an essay about every of the 50+ objects in your checklist.
  2. Your matter is easy. Let’s say you’re placing collectively a listing of date concepts. Most of those are in all probability easy issues like ‘go roller-skating’ or ‘go hiking.’ You don’t want to put in writing 500 phrases about every of these issues.

b) Detailed

Detailed lists are meatier lists the place you broaden on every level with a number of sentences or paragraphs. Use this format when one or each of the next are true:

  • Your checklist shall be quick. If your checklist will solely have a number of objects, your put up will in all probability entice extra site visitors if you happen to present extra substance and particulars about every one.
  • Your matter is sophisticated. Let’s say you’re placing collectively a listing of search engine optimization ideas. search engine optimization is an advanced matter, so readers will in all probability want sensible recommendation or step-by-step directions on the way to execute every tip.

5. Choose a successful angle

Here are a number of standard angles for listicles:

Although you could possibly select an angle primarily based solely on what feels most fascinating, it’s higher to take inspiration from the highest outcomes. Remember, these are one of the best proxy for what searchers wish to see.

If we do that for the key phrase “travel tips,” we see that almost all are primarily based on private expertise:

For “dinner ideas,” just about all outcomes are centered on ease.

However, issues aren’t at all times this clear-cut. Just have a look at the outcomes for “marketing ideas” the place there are two dominant angles: inventive and free. The greatest one to decide on is anybody’s guess.

Either means, make sure that to remain away from clickbait angles. If you possibly can’t ship on what your angle guarantees, select one thing else.

6. Brainstorm checklist factors

Bringing new and distinctive concepts to the desk is essential when writing a listicle (or any content material for that matter). So whereas it might sound tempting simply to repeat everybody else, if all you create is a carbon copy of current listicles, no person will care about your put up.

Even worse, it in all probability gained’t entice backlinks, so it’ll be more durable to rank in Google and get search site visitors.

For that cause, you must jot down your individual concepts earlier than even enthusiastic about what current listicles on the subject should say. This course of doesn’t should be sophisticated. Just open a clean doc and begin itemizing potential concepts.

7. Expand in your concepts

Unless you’re tremendous educated a couple of matter, you’ll in all probability wrestle to provide you with sufficient factors for a complete listicle by yourself. Getting enter from mates or colleagues is one technique to clear up that, however you can too take inspiration from the top-ranking pages.

Here are two methods to do that:

a) Use the “also talk about” report

Plug your goal key phrase into Ahrefs’ Keywords Explorer and go to the Also discuss report. This reveals phrases and phrases frequently-mentioned by the top-ranking pages in your key phrase.

Not all of those phrases and phrases shall be significantly insightful, so it’s greatest to eyeball the checklist for solutions that would kind the idea for potential factors.

For instance, listed below are a number of phrases and phrases that present up for “date ideas”:

  • ice cream
  • movie show
  • animal shelter
  • board video games
  • mountaineering

If we mix these concepts with our personal data and customary sense, we will simply convert them into worthwhile factors:

  • Get ice cream
  • Go to the movie show
  • Visit an animal shelter
  • Play board video games
  • Go mountaineering

b) Check subheadings

Most listicles use subheadings for every level. So a great way to extract inspiration from top-ranking pages is to extract the subheadings. You can do that at no cost with Ahrefs search engine optimization Toolbar. Just set up it, open one of many top-ranking pages, then hit the little web page icon within the high left for the on-page report.

If you’re questioning why not simply have a look at the pages straight, nicely, you possibly can. But you possibly can simply take an excessive amount of inspiration that means. You would possibly find yourself studying every thing under the subheadings and your listicle quickly turns into a carbon copy.

8. Flesh out every level

It’s now time to broaden on every level and flesh out your listicle. The degree of element right here will range relying on the listicle format you’re going for.

  • For easy lists. Add a few sentences to every level.
  • For detailed lists. Write as a lot because it takes to clarify every level intimately.

Keep the angle of your listicle in thoughts when doing this. If you’re writing a listicle geared toward rookies, you’ll wish to keep away from pointless jargon and particulars. If your listicle is predicated on private expertise, now’s the time to broaden on that with additional ideas and opinions.

9. Illustrate your factors

Listicles are straightforward to skim and digest. But they’re arguably even simpler to digest whenever you break issues up with pictures and illustrations. This turns into much more necessary whenever you need readers to really bear in mind the factors in your listicle because of the picture superiority effect.

According to Wikipedia:

The image superiority impact refers back to the phenomenon through which photos and pictures usually tend to be remembered than phrases. This impact has been demonstrated in quite a few experiments utilizing completely different strategies.

If you’ve learn any of our listicles, you’ll know that we embrace loads of pictures. For instance, our checklist of 17 advertising and marketing concepts comprises 39 pictures. That’s as a result of advertising and marketing is an advanced topic and a few factors are laborious to know with out pictures for example. You don’t have to make use of so many pictures in your listicles, so don’t power them in for the sake of it.

10. Wrap issues up

Listicles generally tend to finish abruptly. You get to the ultimate level and issues sort of simply cease.

It’s straightforward to see why. Most listicle readers are skimmers, in order that they in all probability wouldn’t trouble to learn a conclusion anyway. But that’s no cause to not embrace one. For the parents that learn your listicle from begin to end, a very good conclusion can assist wrap issues up and drive the purpose dwelling.

Here are a number of ideas for writing a very good conclusion in your listicles:

  • Keep it quick.
  • Don’t repeat factors you already made.
  • Focus on the principle level you wish to drive dwelling.
  • Link to different related posts (they don’t should be listicles).

Given that we roughly observe this recommendation for our personal listicles, we thought we’d wrap issues up by sharing a number of listicles from our personal weblog that rank excessive and drive plenty of natural site visitors.

Final ideas

Not all listicles are created equal. Just as a result of Buzzfeed’s listicles are the bottom frequent denominator doesn’t imply yours must be. Choose the suitable matter, angle, format, put some effort into the content material, and you’ve got a recipe for natural success.

Got questions? Ping me on Twitter.

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