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Listicles: 5 Roles They Play In Your Content Strategy

Are you rolling your eyes at the title of this piece? Fantastic! You are my people. But real talk, we’ve all been around the internet long enough to develop some sort of relationship with the listicle. You’ve seen them - it’s always “X Numbers of Reasons” in the title, the numbered statements are snappy, the associated explanations add very little value of all, and yet we find ourselves (when faced with - in my opinion - the worst listicle offenders of all) clicking from slide to slide to get to the end of the list.

Image of a computer on a wooden table

While I can’t in good conscience recommend you require one click per listicle entry, I can vouch for the value they add to a well-rounded content marketing plan. And because I now feel like I have to give a payoff for that dorky title I committed us to for the sake of a pun, here are five reasons to consider listicles for your content plan.

1. The average attention span is actual garbage right now. The world is burning, we’re all overwhelmed, and most of us spend too many hours looking at screens. Our dopamine-driven brains are starving for that next payoff and will do just about anything to avoid another screen-based task that feels like work. Listicles strike the right chord for accessible, easy, and consumable.

2. They fill a niche timeslot. Short-, medium-, and long-form content are classified according to the depth of the final deliverable. Most content strategies over-index on medium- and long-form pieces while cramming the short-form list full of social media posts. The listicle fills a unique need for folks who like to have something meatier than a tweet with their morning coffee but aren’t mentally alert enough for your latest whitepaper.

3. They’re fun. When written well, the listicle should bring a breath of fresh air to your subject matter. Perhaps it takes a more lighthearted-than-usual tone, offers a playful perspective, or gives the reader a surprising twist. The point is - the listicle is a chance to endear yourself to your reader and invite them into a deeper connection with you from a place of ease and enjoyment.

4. They’re satisfying to read. As you may have observed, the human brain absolutely craves certainty, finite stories, and completion. For that reason, making it to the end of a listicle - even a poorly written one - offers a unique sense of accomplishment a reader just doesn’t get with an email, a blog, or an article.

5. They’re sharable. An underrated element of the listicle is the uniquely viral nature of the content, especially if you enable your page correctly. Whether they can share individual entries or simply the whole listicle, the behavior usually comes as a result of connecting with the material and then wanting to use that material to connect with others. Each share, of course, is a fresh set of eyeballs on your brand and your perspective.

Is your next listicle going to be a pinnacle of subject matter expertise, packed full of nuanced and advanced perspectives? Probably not. But if we are intentional with our goals and expectations, a listicle can be a powerful part of the team. They’re a great way to capture attention, endear yourself to your audience, and create a particularly accessible and lucrative entry point for your meatier, more sophisticated pieces of content like ebooks, white papers, or more.

Looking for help creating your listicle approach or your overall content plan? Reach out to Wheels Up. We’d love to lend our expertise.


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