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Listicles: Definition, Types & Best Practices For 2022

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The word listicle is a mash-up of the word list and article.

Listicles are a type of content that can go viral.

This type of content presents information in an easy-to-read format that viewers can quickly scan to absorb lots of information.

Continue reading to discover the different types of listicles, how to write them, and ways to incorporate listicles into your content strategy.

What Is a Listicle?

A listicle is an article or blog post that’s in list form.

Each item in a listicle typically includes a description with more information about why it’s worth being included on the list.

Difference Between Listicles and Roundup Posts

A roundup post and a listicle are similar because these types of content list things and include descriptive text for each item.

However, roundup posts feature expert advice, while listicles are generic lists.

For example, someone writing a roundup post about the best blogs would ask bloggers about their go-to inspirational websites and compile their answers into a list.

On the other hand, a listicle about the best blogging sites is written by the blogger based on their opinion or research.

What Is the Purpose of Listicles?

The purpose of a listicle is to compile related items or concepts and present them in an easy-to-read format.

Listicles are one of the best types of blog content to insert affiliate links into so that bloggers earn a commission from affiliate sales.

Why Are Listicles Important?

Listicles are important because they are easy for our brains to digest and offer a wide selection of similar options so users can compare products before making a purchase.

Listicles have many benefits to both the reader and the writer.

For the reader, listicles are easy to skim without missing pertinent information.

Listicles also offer choice and product information so readers make educated buying decisions.

For the writer, listicles allow several opportunities to make an affiliate sale from one blog post.

Common Types of Listicles

Some of the most popular types of listicles include the following:

  • Informational Listicles: These types of listicles present information in an easy-to-read list form. For example, 15 facts about the stock market or 23 fashion tips.
  • Recommendation Listicles: These types of listicles recommend products to readers. A recommendation listicle can include one product type, like the 12 best red lipsticks, or follow a theme, such as the 27 best Amazon finds.
  • Educational Listicles: Educational listicles feature a list of facts. Like flashcards, educational listicles quickly show the reader information as a heading, then go into details in the text.
  • How-To Listicles: How-to listicles outline the list of steps for doing something, like DIY home decor, how to write a blog post, and how to find a job.

What Types of Listicles Are Most Popular?

All types of listicles perform very well.

What makes a listicle more popular than others is the content inside.

Listicles are easy-to-read and can focus on lighter topics to gain popularity with wider audiences, like the 15 things all dog lovers do or the 37 funniest memes.

Or, a listicle goes viral because it provides useful information that broad audiences find interesting, like the 13 things you need to know about the food you eat or 12 things not to do on a date.

Examples of Listicles

Below, we’ll explain more about the different types of listicles and include examples for each.

1. Informational Listicles

Informational listicles present readers with a list of information that doesn’t look like a textbook.

Check out this listicle by Timeout about the best films of 2022.

This informational listicle by Timeout features the movie title as headings, an image from the film, and text underneath.

The text provides readers with a brief synopsis and reasons why they’ll enjoy the film.

Each heading is a link directing readers to other content on the Timeout site or sending readers to recommended product pages.

2. Recommendation Listicles

Recommendation listicles share a list of recommended products with readers.

For example, check out these best makeup dupes from the writers at Self.

In this listicle, readers will find affiliate links to the expensive brand name-product and the cheaper dupe product.

Each heading is a type of makeup, and the text under each heading comprehensively compares the dupe and name-brand products.

3. How-To Listicles

How-to listicles give step-by-step instructions on how to do something.

For a remarkable example of a how-to listicle, check out this post about how to do a smokey eye by Ipsy.

Readers will quickly spot the headers listing steps for how to apply products to recreate the iconic makeup look.

Under each header are detailed instructions.

What we love about this listicle is that it also includes an educational listicle after the how-to section.

The headers become the names of varying smokey eye looks, and the text underneath discusses the details between the different types, so readers walk away as smokey eye experts.

4. Listicle Content Ideas

If you’re wondering what topics to write about, listicles cover all types.

Writers often feature topics like health, beauty, finance, entertainment, and fun facts as listicles.

Remember, content is king.

When choosing content ideas, ensure that the listicle fits the blog’s niche.

For example, a writing blog is better suited for a listicle about the best WordPress plugins than a listicle with steps for how to catch a fish.

Where to Find Ideas & Inspiration for Listicles

Explore other listicles and articles online to find inspiration for content to include in your listicle.

Pinterest is a great place to find posts with ideas for listicle content.

Another easy way to find inspiration and ideas for listicles is to do keyword research for things people frequently search for on search engines.

How Do I Get Listicles?

Listicles are relatively easy to write compared to long-form blog posts, so bloggers will write listicles themselves or hire a guest writer or ghostwriter to produce listicles for their blog.

How To Write a Listicle

vector graphic showing a listicle as the main focus of the image

Below, we’ll go into more detail about every step of the listicle writing process.

Process of Writing a Listicle

Follow the steps below to write a fabulous listicle.

  • Step 1: Pick a listicle topic
  • Step 2: Do keyword research
  • Step 3: Create a numbered list
  • Step 4: Add text for each item
  • Step 5: Insert images

Step 1: Pick a Listicle Topic

The first step of writing a listicle is choosing a topic.

Keep your listicle themes within the theme of your blog niche to ensure consistency in your content.

Once you decide on the topic, choose which type of listicle style suits the topic best.

Pick from informational, recommendations, how-to, and educational listicles.

Step 2: Do Keyword Research

After you’ve decided on your topic, do keyword research to optimize your content for search engines.

Keyword research also ensures that your listicle touches on subjects that readers are interested in.

Step 3: Create a Numbered List

Now that you have insight into popular searches, you’re ready to create a list of things for your listicle to discuss.

Do a quick Google search to determine how many items to include on your list.

If the number one Google search discusses 21 things, include 23 things on your listicle.

Step 4: Add Text for Each Item

Add text for each item on your numbered list.

The text should be brief but meet the user intent for each item.

Bloggers don’t have to include text for each item in a listicle.

Some listicles only use images.

However, adding text allows the blogger to insert keywords for better on-page SEO.

Step 5: Insert Images

For the final touch, add images to your listicle.

Images help break up the content, so it’s easier to read and help the reader to visualize the products or concepts better.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you’re ready to publish your listicle.

Listicle Best Practices

Now that you know how to write one, check out these tips for listicle best practices.

1. Avoid Clickbait Titles

Clickbait titles are exaggerated claims or attention-grabbing headlines for the sole purpose of generating a click.

While clickbait is catchy and enticing, many readers are put off by them and prefer titles that better represent the article’s content.

2. Remember the Reader

Remember your readers and speak to them like friends.

Listicles should be engaging, so speak to the reader using first-person and second-person pronouns.

Remember that a reader is a person on the other side of the screen, and focus your content on that person.

While recommendation listicles are great places to include affiliate links, don’t bombard your readers with too many options or recommend products you wouldn’t purchase yourself.

3. Go In-Depth

Listicles can be light and fluffy, but sharable listicles offer readers something they didn’t have before they opened your post.

Good listicles go in-depth for each item on the list without going overboard.

The length of a listicle should be between 1500 and 200 words.

Treat each numbered item like a mini-essay.

However, if you find you have more to write about for each item, perhaps your topic is better suited as a long-form blog post than a listicle.

Listicle Tools to Save Time and Money

Maximize your efficiency by using listicle tools to save time and money.

What Is a Listicle Tool?

A listicle tool is something that helps bloggers write listicle posts in less time and with less effort.

Below, we’ll discuss our favorite listicle tools.

Our Favorite Listicle Tools

Bloggers have lots of helpful tools to maximize their time.

Our favorite listicle tools are blog writing services, AI writing tools, and pre-made templates; we’ll discuss each in detail.

1. Blog Writing Services

Blog writing services are services that write blogs for you.

Blog owners with a large platform needing consistent content sometimes hire ghostwriters or have guest writers write their content.

Choose from blog writing services with monthly subscriptions or pay per assignment.

2. AI Writing Software

AI-powered writing software is similar to blog writing services.

However, this software uses artificial intelligence (AI) instead of humans to write blog posts.

AI writing software can create attention-grabbing headlines and generate long-form pieces of content.

So, you can save a lot of time and forego writer’s block with this listicle tool.

3. Listicle Content Template

Templates are excellent if you’re not sure where to start when writing a listicle.

Listicle templates are outlines for listicles that bloggers use to format their posts quickly.

Templates don’t usually include content but instead are a template for formatting and how to organize information.  

Other Related Content Types to Check Out

There are many other ways to present information apart from a listicle.

Below are some related content types worth checking out.

  • Ultimate Guide: An ultimate guide is a detailed article about one topic with some elements of a listicle within the text. Ultimate guides include elements of how-to articles, informational listicles, and expert advice so that readers leave the post feeling more educated on the subject.
  • Curated Content: Curated content is similar to recommendation listicles because curated content recommends products and services to readers.
  • Exclusive Content: Exclusive content posts are typically reviews of products that are not yet available to everyone. Companies launching new products sometimes reach out to influencers and bloggers to advertise the exclusive item or service before it hits the shelves.

Frequently Asked Questions

Find answers to frequently asked questions about writing a listicle below.

Why do people love listicles?

People love listicles because they present a lot of information in an easy-to-read format.

Listicles that recommend products give readers the educational tools they need to decide what to purchase.

Meanwhile, informational listicles often share facts and human experiences that large audiences relate to.

What is the best number for a listicle?

Odd numbers attract more attention than even numbers.

However, there’s no one magic number to use for listicles.

The best practice is to search your listicle topic and see what numbers other high-ranking sites use, then one-up them.

Wrapping Up

Now that you know the ins and outs of listicles, you’re ready to begin writing your own.

Engage your audiences with captivating listicles with recommended products, interesting facts, and adorable images.

Be sure to follow our best practices to maximize the impact of your listicle.

Happy blogging!

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