As the leading product-led SEO agency, we spend a lot of time analyzing popular content formats.
One content format tops all. We're talking about listicles, of course. Listicles work because we live in a time when people need quick and clear values that are easy to understand. No one has the time to decipher the cleaver hieroglyphs of a high-school English teacher.
Listicles are famous in the blogosphere, because of the attention-grabbing power of the headline. The author clearly communicates the format and value. So, the reader can make an easy decision wether they're interested in consuming the piece. Easy format and clear value are two main ingredients of producing successful content.
Today's technology is another reason why listicles work so well. Screen reading is not as enjoyable as good-old paper reading. Your eyes tire much faster. Reading online also results in lower understanding and less critical reflection, according to the National Library study.
So, here are 7 reasons why the listicle structure is always actual.
What we’ll cover:
1. Clear Value
Authors make specific promises. List headlines communicate clear value for readers, and the structure gives the opportunity to skim the story and retain the most valuable information.
2. Historical Popularity
Lists are popular since blogging itself. BuzzFeed has based half of its content strategy around listicles. Some of my best performing content are lists.
Acclaimed writers might hold a grudge against this form of writing, calling it the “Cosmo cover-lines for geeks.”
3. Current Screen Technology
Your eyes might become sore, tired, and achy after looking at the computer screen for a long time. The muscle that controls eyeball motion and pupils is not adept for current screen technology.
Listicles might fall out of fashion with future commercial screen technology, just like analog films and cameras with the digital world.
4. Skimmable: Short-Time Investment
Lists offer straight-to-the-point value. A 4-year-old can understand what it is all about. You’re not straining your mind to read listicles.
5. Optimized for Short Attention Spans
You can argue that the ever-shorter attention span is not a good thing, and I’m not disagreeing with you. But listicles are not to blame. The whole social ecosystem has changed.
Lists come as an answer for hyper-informational society by packing diverse content inside a simple-to-understand structure.
6. Ideal for All-Level Writers
If you can think of better ways to practice value writing, please write them down in the comments.
Lists are easy to understand and offer a perfect opportunity for aspiring writers to practice how to communicate real value to an audience.
7. Predictable Format
The human brain prefers lists. The structure offers finite, reassuring, and predictable format.
The world of paper information is draining your computer and powers by offering too much choice. With lists, you know exactly what kind of content you’re in for.
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