This blog post was going to be a listicle… until we realized we didn’t have compelling enough images on this subject to warrant one!
This is the single most important “golden rule” when it comes to creating listicles: A listicle is all about telling a story using compelling photos that grab the reader. Without several arresting photos, you are better advised to share your message via another form of content marketing, such as feature stories/mat releases or infographics.
By the way, if you are looking for a listicle containing advice about listicles, try our earlier blog post entitled “3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Distributing a Listicle.” The images are really nice on this one!
Listicles are easily digestible articles in list form that include paragraphs of text interspersed by photos that illustrate each point. The best ones can be easily scanned by readers and shared with their friends and relatives. They are particularly well suited for ranked lists of the Top 5 or Top 3 things readers need to know about a topic or theme. Each listicle should contain some brief introductory text and supporting text passages for each image.
Here are a few things to consider before diving in to create a listicle featuring your brand or product:
Images Matter Most
With listicles, it’s all about telling a story using compelling photos that grab the reader. Without several arresting photos, don’t do a listicle, It’s that simple. Opt for another form of content marketing instead.
Don’t Talk Too Much
There’s only so much space on a page and so much attention readers will devote to your listicle. If you’ve chosen to make a listicle, don’t over-stuff it with text. This is the trade-off. Compelling images take up space and so the accompanying text for each image needs to be short and sweet. If you want to say so much that each image needs multiple paragraphs or extremely long ones, that’s a sign your story is better suited to becoming a feature story or mat release.
Don’t Hog the Spotlight
As with any other form of content marketing. If you want your listicle to be compelling and to actually get read and shared, don’t make it all about yourself. The majority of your content should be non-promotional. This means two things when it comes to listicles: your brand or product shouldn’t be highlighted in too many of the listicle’s points, and the ones that do feature your brand shouldn’t have accompanying text that’s substantially longer than that accompanying other images. And remember not to make the images look like ads. This doesn’t mean your images can never include your products, just that they should be natural, lifestyle images showing the product being used in its ordinary setting by ordinary humans who look like your target consumer!
It Should Hang Together
All the sections of your listicle should hang together, meaning they should all share a common theme so that it makes sense that all of these points would be in one article together. Put simply: Your listicle shouldn’t appear to be a random list of things that feel to the reader like a game of “guess what I just thought of?”
Be Upbeat or Instructional
When it comes to branded content, nothing works worse than a negative listicle full of doom and gloom. Fun and happy images and accompanying text are much better for a listicle. Listicles are a great opportunity to have fun with headlines, topics, photos and text. Utilitarian and instructional is another good way to go. Think tips, advice and how-tos for instructional pieces that help the reader solve a problem or better understand how to complete a task. They’re great for home & garden products, self-help brands, food & entertaining products, and many others that fit neatly into instructional themed pieces. If you have a ton of sobering statistics to relate, an infographic may be better for you, or an in-depth article about a serious subject.
Don’t Just Speak to Yourself
If you spend the time to craft the perfect listicle, don’t just put it on your own website and social media channels. Get your word out on media websites and even in print newspapers by working with a content creation and distribution service that will guarantee listicle distribution so that your listicle will get picked up by a ton of media outlets. This is where services like StatePoint Media come in, where we guarantee media placements for your listicle.
Above all, if you focus on things that matter to your audience and don’t over-brand it, your listicle should garner media pick-up and be a success with readers.
Image Credit: saquizeta – Fotolia.com