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Top 10 tips for marketers when writing listicles

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Lists, also known as “listicles,” are a valuable tool in marketing because they’re easy to digest, and they garner higher engagement and traffic than other types of articles. Living in an age of overstimulation, the presence of lists reduces the noise and allows for the cognizance of information.

Easily digestible informational posts play right into left-brained marketing. Lists work because they adhere to the analytical left brain, which prefers a step-by-step approach.

The bottom line is, marketers love lists because they perform exceptionally well. But, not all lists are created equal. Here are 10 tips and tricks which will help you write a high-performing list:

  1. Titles containing the number 10 perform the best compared to any other number. After a study was conducted with 121k articles, the ones that utilized the number 10 in their lists received the most online traffic and shares on social platforms.
  2. The same research concluded that the following numbers that tended to perform the best after 10 were in condescending order: 5, 3, 4, then 7.
  3. Overall, when lists include odd numbers in the title, they perform the best. Even numbers lists can be viewed as untrustworthy, as it is believed there was ‘padding’ incorporated into the list to make a more balanced number. Odd numbered lists are more memorable, as they stick out in the minds of readers. Even numbered lists are viewed as symmetrical and not notably different, and, therefore, less memorable.
  4. Always put the strongest tips or most interesting points first. List readers are going to skim the article, so you want to grab their attention immediately.
  5. Avoid using teen numbers in lists. All numbers under 10 performed better than any teen number. Lists that are too long come off as an overload of information, and you can lose the reader.
  6. In the rules of writing, you shouldn’t start a sentence with a numeral lower than 10. But, in the case of list writing, it’s best to break the rule. Always use the numeral, not the word!
  7. Make your formatting bold. Give emphasis to your points by giving each subheading its own line and bold, larger font.
  8. It is important to remember that lists are only as effective as the quality of the information that is provided. While it is helpful to use a number that tends to receive a high click rate, readers will not stay on the site if the information is not of any worth to them.
  9. Include an emotional word with your list. Combining a number with a strong word choice pairs well when attempting to draw viewers into reading the list.
  10. Lists stir up curiosity! Ranking the top 10 in a specific category will draw in readers as finding the “number 1” of something is a common instinct of human nature.

Lists are a powerful tool in the field of marketing. Providing a finite number of easily digestible information entices the reader to read the information for themselves, leading to increased engagement. Keep these tips in mind, and we look forward to reading your next top 10!


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