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Tips & Tricks: Listicles

Tips & Tricks: Listicles

Listicles are all the rage these days. Even outlets like The New York Times and MSN are using lists to compare products, provide tips for performing a task, and showcasing “best-of” content. To help you perfect your listicle-making abilities, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to get you started. Some of these tips may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget best practices when in action. And now, in listicle form, a few quick tips on how to create successful listicles.

  1. Maintain a consistent set of criteria for judgment. Don’t focus on the design of a product if you only talk about UX with the other products. Allow readers to get comfortable with your content so they can quickly digest it. It’s hard to keep up when your standards bounce around.
  2. Don’t force readers to click to the next page for each item on your list. Canny subscribers can see through this as a ploy to drive up page views. If you would like to do a slideshow, consider a carousel instead. Carousels allow readers to click to the next image and text without loading an entirely new page. Check out this example from Martha Stewart. Additionally, if you would like to increase page views, consider a link to a previous article on your site/blog that goes into further detail about the product or service you’re recommending or rating. This way, you increase page views without irritating the user.
  3. Bottom to top. If you’re recommending products or services from worst to best, be sure to say so. For the ones at the bottom of the list (the not-so-great), state why they’re not up to par. For the number one spot, explain why the product outperforms the others. Bottom-to-top keeps the user engaged so they don’t bounce after only viewing the top-rated product. Also, consider creating product links (as seen here on Pocket Lint) that open in a new tab for easy toggling back to the original article.
  4. Make suggestions for all economic backgrounds. It’s easy to recommend the Apple Watch because it’s super popular and well-known. But not all of your readers can afford a several hundred dollar accessory. So keep that in mind when collecting a list of products to promote. Consider using the VigLink product search API that allows you to quickly find similar items that provide you with links, pricing information, and photos that you can easily turn into a “similar items” carousel.
  5. Diversify your media. People respond differently to different types of stimuli. What works for some won’t work for others. Consider including links to tutorial videos for products you’re recommending, but also include images that are engaging and highlight key points you’re trying to make.
  6. This is obvious and table stakes, but make sure you care about the content you’re creating. Content for content’s sake is disrespectful to your readers and highlights inauthenticity. Have a strong opinion (as in this listicle on PureWow) and create your list with care and objectivity. Your readers will see your dedication and your brand will become more valuable because of it.

Now go forth and listicle!

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