The success of marketing relies on a number of factors working together as a cohesive unit – media placement, cost efficiency, branding, and of course, the right messaging presented in the right format. We want messaging that can be consumed by key viewers and absorbed easily.
Enter the “listicle”.
For those of you who haven’t heard the term, a listicle is an article written in the form of a list. “10 Quick Tips for Diet Success”, “8 Fool-proof Ways to DIY Your Kitchen”, “Top 5 Reasons to Write a Top 5 List”, etc.
So, why do we write this way? What makes it effective?
1.) Avoid Information Overload
Messaging is dictated by the way the audience digests information, and particularly in this era of information overload, the only way to cut through the clutter is to make it clear and concise. A listicle forces the writer to choose one specific topic, stick to it, and simplify it into a numbered list.
2.) People are Busy, Lists are Not
Listicles have become incredibly popular over the last few years for this reason. Admit it, you would absolutely read the 10 Quick Tips for Diet Success before you read the Big Book of Diets (ain’t nobody got time for that). It’s not as detailed, but it gets you what you need to know – fast.
3.) Easy to Understand
Before you even start, you know exactly what you’re going to learn. The information is organized and curated to provide a simple introduction to the topic, digestible by a person at any level of familiarity with it.
4.) Applicable Across Multiple Platforms
We can use listicles like this for many applications, from search engine optimization and social media engagement, to videos and collateral pieces. They’re shareable in the digital age, but also easily adapted to print.
5.) Low Commitment
People prefer not to get too invested with their time or their effort until they know what they’re getting into. This applies to big things like a home purchase or college decision, as well as something mundane, like reading an article or watching a video. In this format, it’s a lower commitment. It gives the reader the option to get the gist with as little time and effort as possible.