How to Write a Great Listicle Post in 10 Steps

Listicles don’t have to be clickbait. These mind-numbing posts about one of the best potato chips or most ripped celebrities that you just see on Fb give listicles a dangerous identify.

It’s completely potential to write a nice listicle about… nicely, just about something.

On this submit, you’ll learn the way to do exactly that.

Listicles, in any other case often called list-posts, are articles structured round lists. Often, they develop on every record merchandise with further data to make them extra helpful for readers.

Why do folks like listicles?


Listed here are simply a few causes:

  • Straightforward to skim as a result of every subheading often corresponds to a record merchandise.
  • Straightforward to digest as a result of they’re damaged into bitesize chunks by definition.
  • Straightforward to gauge since you at all times understand how a lot is left from the quantity in the title.

Is that an exhaustive record of causes? No, however we will’t record all of them. Take a look at this post by Smithsonian Magazine in the event you’re interested by different causes for his or her recognition.

Writing a listicle is simple. Simply open a clean doc, record a bunch of issues and also you’ve obtained a listicle. However writing a listicle that drives site visitors and that folks really need to learn is a bit extra difficult.

Right here’s how to do it:

  • Choose a topic
  • Ensure it makes sense
  • Decide on length
  • Choose a format
  • Choose a winning angle
  • Brainstorm list points
  • Expand on your ideas
  • Flesh out each point
  • Illustrate your points
  • Wrap things up
  • 1. Select a subject

    In order for you your listicle to drive site visitors from engines like google, you want to select a subject that persons are looking for.


    As a result of key phrases usually signify matters, you are able to do this with a good key phrase analysis software like Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer. Simply seek for a broad subject, then go to the Phrase Match report the place you’ll see key phrase concepts sorted by their month-to-month search volumes.

    Be sure to select a subject that you’ve some data about. In any other case you’ll battle to write a distinctive and priceless record.


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

    2. Guarantee it makes sense

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

    However issues aren’t at all times so apparent…

    Take a subject like “web optimization skilled.” It’s not clear whether or not folks need a step-by-step information, a record of suggestions, or one thing else.

    You may determine this out by wanting on the top-ranking outcomes in Google. As a result of Google’s enterprise mannequin depends on them delivering related search outcomes, the highest outcomes are a nice proxy for what searchers need to see.

    Trying on the screenshot above, you possibly can see that just one listicle ranks in the highest 5 for “web optimization skilled.” As the remaining are step-by-step guides, this in all probability isn’t a good subject for a listicle.


    For those who’re struggling to discover a appropriate subject for a listicle, strive including these phrases to the Embody filter in Key phrases Explorer: concepts, suggestions, greatest, instruments, issues, methods, ways, record. This can slender the outcomes down to key phrases that embody at the least a type of phrases, which can usually be nice candidates for listicles.

    3. Determine on size

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

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

    Whereas not one of the prime 5 outcomes for “running a blog suggestions” exceed 30.

    Is that this a laborious and quick rule? No. For those who assume a record of 100+ objects is totally pointless and doesn’t really 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, nevertheless it’s not 100% foolproof.

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

    4. Select a format

    There are two potential listicle codecs.

    a) Primary

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

  • Your record can be lengthy. Individuals in all probability don’t need to learn an essay about every of the 50+ objects in your record.
  • Your subject is straightforward. Let’s say you’re placing collectively a record of date concepts. Most of those are in all probability easy issues like ‘go roller-skating’ or ‘go mountaineering.’ You don’t want to write 500 phrases about every of these issues.
  • b) Detailed

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

    • Your record can be quick. In case your record will solely have a few objects, your submit will in all probability entice extra site visitors in the event you present extra substance and particulars about every one.
    • Your subject is difficult. Let’s say you’re placing collectively a record of web optimization suggestions. web optimization is a difficult subject, so readers will in all probability want sensible recommendation or step-by-step directions on how to execute every tip.

    5. Select a successful angle

    Listed here are a few standard angles for listicles:

    Though you can select an angle based mostly solely on what feels most attention-grabbing, it’s higher to take inspiration from the highest outcomes. Bear in mind, these are one of the best proxy for what searchers need to see.

    If we do that for the key phrase “journey suggestions,” we see that the majority are based mostly on private expertise:

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

    Nonetheless, issues aren’t at all times this clear-cut. Simply have a look at the outcomes for “advertising and marketing concepts” the place there are two dominant angles: inventive and free. One of the best one to select is anybody’s guess.

    Both approach, make sure that to keep away from clickbait angles. For those who can’t ship on what your angle guarantees, select one thing else.

    6. Brainstorm record 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 copy everybody else, if all you create is a carbon copy of current listicles, no one will care about your submit.

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

    For that cause, it is best to jot down your personal concepts earlier than even serious about what current listicles on the subject have to say. This course of doesn’t have to be difficult. Simply open a clean doc and begin itemizing potential concepts.

    7. Increase in your concepts

    Except you’re tremendous educated about a subject, you’ll in all probability battle to provide you with sufficient factors for a complete listicle by yourself. Getting enter from buddies or colleagues is a method to clear up that, however you may also take inspiration from the top-ranking pages.

    Listed here are two methods to do that:

    a) Use the “additionally speak about” report

    Plug your goal key phrase into Ahrefs’ Key phrases Explorer and go to the Additionally speak about report. This reveals phrases and phrases frequently-mentioned by the top-ranking pages on your key phrase.


    Not all of those phrases and phrases can be notably insightful, so it’s greatest to eyeball the record for solutions that would kind the premise for potential factors.

    For instance, listed here are a few phrases and phrases that present up for “date concepts”:

    • 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
    • Go to an animal shelter
    • Play board video games
    • Go mountaineering

    b) Test 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 are able to do this without spending a dime with Ahrefs web optimization Toolbar. Simply set up it, open one of many top-ranking pages, then hit the little web page icon in the highest left for the on-page report.

    For those who’re questioning why not simply have a look at the pages immediately, nicely, you possibly can. However you possibly can simply take an excessive amount of inspiration that approach. You would possibly find yourself studying all the things under the subheadings and your listicle quickly turns into a carbon copy.

    8. Flesh out every level

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

    • For easy lists. Add a couple of sentences to every level.
    • For detailed lists. Write as a lot because it takes to clarify every level in element.

    Hold the angle of your listicle in thoughts when doing this. For those who’re writing a listicle geared toward newbies, you’ll need to keep away from pointless jargon and particulars. In case your listicle is predicated on private expertise, now’s the time to develop on that with additional ideas and opinions.

    9. Illustrate your factors

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

    In accordance to Wikipedia:

    The image superiority impact refers to the phenomenon in which footage and pictures are extra seemingly to be remembered than phrases. This impact has been demonstrated in quite a few experiments utilizing totally different strategies.

    For those who’ve learn any of our listicles, you’ll know that we embody loads of photographs. For instance, our record of 17 advertising and marketing concepts comprises 39 photographs. That’s as a result of advertising and marketing is a difficult topic and a few factors are laborious to perceive with out photographs to illustrate. You don’t have to use so many photographs in your listicles, so don’t pressure them in for the sake of it.

    10. Wrap issues up

    Listicles have a tendency 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, so that they in all probability wouldn’t trouble to learn a conclusion anyway. However that’s no cause not to embody one. For the oldsters that learn your listicle from begin to end, a good conclusion can assist wrap issues up and drive the purpose house.

    Listed here are a few suggestions for writing a good conclusion on your listicles:

    • Hold it quick.
    • Don’t repeat factors you already made.
    • Give attention to the principle level you need to drive house.
    • Hyperlink to different related posts (they don’t have to be listicles).

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

    Ultimate ideas

    Not all listicles are created equal. Simply because Buzzfeed’s listicles are the bottom frequent denominator doesn’t imply yours want to be. Select the precise subject, angle, format, put some effort into the content material, and you’ve got a recipe for natural success.

    Received questions? Ping me on Twitter.


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