A listicle is an informal term for an article created from a series of points organized around a particular theme in a list format. It is a combination of two words: list and article.
Listicles allow content creators and marketers to present information in bite-sized chunks.
Producing short content becomes easier, and consuming it becomes more enjoyable.
Listicles prominently feature a cardinal number in their title, with subsequent subheadings within the text itself. Odd numbers in the headline of a listicle article are more captivating because they create visual interest.
Listicles became the new face of content marketing when marketers discovered that our brain loves points, and with a short attention span, readers can quickly absorb nuggets of good information.
A listicle intends to either educate or entertain readers.
Take note of the following listicle examples and observe if the headings evoke curiosity in your brain:
● 5 Tips To Excel As A Copywriter
● 7 Fastest Ways to Drive More Website Traffic
● Write A Click Worthy Headline in 3 Simple Steps
The headlines above are specific, actionable, and engaging. Such listicle articles allow content creators and marketers to present information in bite-sized chunks. You get enthralled with the productive outcome of these articles so much that you click on them. Clickbait listicles have a poor reputation for being false, but those articles that provide good value are highly appreciated.
Northeastern University’s Viral Texts project is researching popular nineteenth-century texts. They have analyzed 2.7 million pages from 500 newspapers to determine what kinds of things might be considered viral by 1800s standards. As a result, they discovered that the list was one of the most popular formats.
Because we consume so much information all day, we are pretty distracted. We like the idea of a carefully curated list. This appeal stems partly from our ability to quickly scan a listicle and partly because of how easily we can process all of its content. The headlines help by informing us exactly what we will receive:
‘The 25 Most Incredible Illustrations’
This ease of processing information has some interesting influences. Cognitive fluency is at the heart of this; it expresses how simple it is to think about something. We prefer to think about things that are less difficult to think about over things that are more difficult to think about. It is not a surprising fact because our brain seeks comfort by default.
The more easily you can process material, the more positively you would react to it. Let’s take a closer look at this. In one study, researchers showed participants a statement in colors that made it easy or difficult to read, such as ‘Osorno is in Chile’. ‘Moderately-visible statements’ were judged ‘True’, whereas ‘Highly-visible statements’ were deemed ‘True’ significantly, more than what people would choose at random.
The researchers concluded that the ease with which we perceive things influences our truth judgments.
Another study discovered that when participants looked at easier to process images, their muscles twitched into a small subconscious smile. We can’t say that reading listicles makes us happy but consuming information that is easier to process might. And easy to comprehend information is not new to the internet age; it has played a crucial role throughout history. It still does even today.
We cannot talk about the popularity of listicles without a list. Let us understand why listicles drive more traffic:
A typical listicle format is an organized piece of information. Topics are presented in small chunks, facilitating cognitive ease in the readers. Listicles show potential readers what the content is all about and give them an idea of what to expect right away.
Readers get what they want (if you focus on providing high value to your reader) in less than 2 minutes of reading. They are sort of like the graphic novel of the internet. Most readers prefer to read in bullet points and scan the subheads.
If they find it interesting, they read the paragraph beneath each list. Moreover, listicles can effectively satiate your desire to learn, explore, and know more about topics of your interest.
Listicles are appealing, you can start and finish them in two minutes, and you will be somewhat satisfied. In a matter of ten minutes, you can read about ten listicles. We all have become information consumption machines. Your brain’s reward system gets activated when you read ten short articles within ten minutes, further pushing you to want more.
It feels like you have achieved a milestone successfully. Soon, you feel great about yourself that you have gathered some beneficial information. However, consuming information is good unless shared, discussed, deliberated upon, or acted upon.
Suppose you have to write a whitepaper note, and you do not know how? You come across a listicle titled ‘7 Steps To Master A White Paper Article’.
Suppose it is a well-written listicle that solves your problem – Bingo! You will not only apply good advice later, but you will also experience immediate gratification from finding what you were looking for.
Long paragraphs, detailed, and lengthy articles demand time and cognitive effort. Most people do not have time for long walls of text. Listicles are excellent for providing value to your reader.
Most listicles talk about trending and intriguing topics. Some can be expert advice, and others are either opinions or experiences. Information is at your fingertips, and this abundance of knowledge spurs FOMO.
We subconsciously fear that we will miss out on important information or a life-changing nugget of brilliance, and this thought terrifies us, causing us to click. Thus, a listicle ebbs FOMO by providing the information you seek.
Listicles are the most effective clickbait formats because they compel readers to read more and more. Catchy headlines entice you to click through. They have low bounce rates as the reader can glance at the article in no time. If you successfully deliver high-quality listicles, they attract website traffic. The internet rewards good content that fulfills its promise, provides value, and requires little effort to read.
Nonetheless, you must avoid using false clickbait headlines to drive more traffic or sales. Otherwise, you will have a high bounce rate, and search engines will penalize your content with low SERP ratings. It will hurt your blog or business in the long run.
Viewers are pressed for time and have access to a plethora of content. They prefer articles that are engaging, concise, and well-organized. It lowers the reader’s expectations. It guides us to follow a straight path.
The human brain appreciates patterns, and the numbered pattern of a listicle is predictable and subconsciously soothing to readers. Listicles are easy to read and enjoyable. Thanks to numbers and bolded entries, you can read a listicle from any point, beginning, middle, or end.
Listicles make sense from the standpoint of content creation—they’re enjoyable to write and don’t take long to create. Great listicle articles that deliver on their promises can effectively captivate the readers.
A listicle is a short article organized as a list.
Yes, if listicle articles include essential keywords in the headline and contain good content, they get a high readership. Such listicles get shared over the internet, which positively contributes to their SEO.
A typical listicle contains a good headline with a cardinal number of facts it will discuss in brief. Each fact is written in bold subheadings and elaborated further in a paragraph. It can also be a list of exciting pictures associated with a topic. For example, A listicle entitled “Check Out 15 Amazing Digital Illustrations” will mostly have pictures and credits.
Add a catchy headline that pulls people to find the answer to the curiosity that the headline has posed.
Listicles that are a total waste of time and written by unskilled people just to drive traffic fall flat. They can cause irreparable harm to your blog in the long term.