Ahhh – the time-honored tradition of turning to BuzzFeed and reading some listicles. Is there anything like it? In all sincerity, yes. Other publishers have seen the success of these short, list-style articles, and now you see them everywhere from BBC to The Guardian. But what is it that makes them so popular?
Ascontent creators, we strive to create targeted, snackable content for our audiences because of the human attention span, which is shorter than a goldfish’s. Listicles break up long forms of communication and tell readers exactly what the author is trying to get across in that bullet point. You get bonus points if you use images, GIFs or videos between your points.
2. They’re Relatable
How many times have you read a listicle and thought, “Oh my, No. 10 is so me!” It happens to me all the time. Now, think back to the last time you read a full-length article and said something similar. Can you only hear crickets? That’s because listicles are specifically targeted to you, and the digestible content makes it easy to pick out parts that fit your personality/job/lifestyle best.
3. They’re Easy to Reference
With our short attention spans, humans have grown into a culture of skimmers. Breaking the long-form content into short, numbered paragraphs allow us to do just that. So when we’re sharing the content, we can easily say, “Oh my, No. 10 is so me!” instead of “Oh my – I’m definitely the friend that calls you until you answer your phone.”
4. There’s No Mo’ FOMO
Fear of missing out (or FOMO) is a condition 98 percent of Americans live with. While that may not be a real statistic, it is a real reason why we click on listicle headlines. For example, if I’m in the market for some new software and I see a headline that says, “The 5 Best Applications of XYZ Software for Your Home Computer,” I’m going to be more than tempted to click on it because I don’t want to miss out on the information.
5. There’s an End in Sight
Unlike triple overtimes, long-form articles and truly terrible movies, listicles provide readers with a light at the end of the tunnel. They also remind you how far along you are in your reading and provides motivation to keep reading through the end.
Congratulations – you made it to the conclusion! While the listicle may be forever paired with BuzzFeed, there are practical applications in business for it, like the software example I provided in No. 4, or my Five LinkedIn Tips for B2B Brands. The trick is to send your article to a highly targeted audience. Your listicle should answer the top questions your audience has about your product or service. If you need help discovering these questions and the corresponding answers, reach out to M/C/C. We’d be happy to help!