The 6-step information to writing checklist content material

Regardless of how you feel about lists, you've probably read some of them. Lists allow you to present a large amount of information in small, easy-to-scan, numbered sections.

List posts can cover all sorts of topics, from the more educational posts on HubSpot like "How to Make a Cinemagraph in 7 Easy Steps" to the Clickbaity buzzfeed lists like "23 people you seriously don't believe exist." ".

In this article, I'm going to walk you through six steps to create an effective list post.

I will also explain why these posts are so popular and why they are critical to a successful content marketing strategy.

What is a listing?

In simple terms, it's an article made up of a list of items or ideas.

Despite what you might think, Buzzfeed didn't make up any list content. It's been around for centuries.

Sei Shonagon, an 11th century Japanese poet and waiting lady, is said to have penned the first list to include gemstones such as her "Rare Things" list such as "Two people living together who continue to be overwhelmed by each" by the Excellency another. "

Even so, Buzzfeed actually popularized listings as online content.

List content How do I write it? The 6-step guide

For content creators and marketers, lists are a convenient way to present information in bite-sized portions. Producing the content becomes a little easier and consuming it is more pleasant.

Why are lists so popular?

Imagine that you came across the following two topics while doing a Google search:

  • 11 Effective Email Marketing Tips
  • How To Do Email Marketing

Which of the two are you more likely to click? The first right? By giving a fixed number of tips, the first topic promises content that is easy to skim through.

With an average human attention span of around eight seconds, it is more difficult to pay attention to something for a very long time. An article that allows readers to skim through is far more engaging.

From the first title above, readers also know what to expect in the article. They know there are only 11 tips while the other has five tips or 50 pages on how to write, start, and optimize their email marketing.

The structure of the list content, on the other hand, is quite simple. Usually there is an introduction, a list of ideas, and a conclusion. This makes list building relatively easy compared to other types of posts.

Lists are also popular because they help our brains categorize information and make us feel satisfied when we predict patterns correctly.

Marketers love lists because they get clicks. According to a recent study, 36% of readers prefer titles with numbers over other types of titles.

How to use lists in your content marketing

Because lists have a bad rap, you may hesitate to use them in your content marketing strategy. The truth is, lists can be just as helpful and informative as prose, provided the content is of high quality.

For example, I made this list about using TikTok in marketing. It is in a list format, but it still provides valuable information that marketers can use to drive traffic and increase brand awareness.

List of TikTok uses in marketing

The aim of content marketing is to attract and retain readers. Lists can help you achieve that goal and develop an effective content marketing strategy.

Here are a few ways you can harness the power of lists to drive clicks, traffic, and increase brand awareness.

Lists can also be used as lead magnets to grow your email list, exchange expert advice, or expand your brand's social media presence.

How to write a list in 6 steps

Now that you understand the power of lists, let's show you how to create an effective list that drives traffic.

1. Choose the correct listing theme

It is crucial. If the selected topic doesn't fit a list format, it won't get as many clicks.

Of course, some topics fit into a list. Instructions can be broken down into different steps, for example:

Blog posts made up of a list of examples are great lists:

What if your content is a narrative? Can you make a list from this?

You have to be quite creative to write a narrative as a list article as it does not lend itself to this writing style. That said, it's not impossible.

Take this article "Read a long time: The most successful alliance in the world – 70 years of freedom." It tells the story of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by listing "… the 9 greatest moments in the history of NATO".

Another way to see if your topic can be a list is to do a simple Google search of your target keyword.

For example, let's say some of the high ranking articles for your keyword are lists. In this case, this is a good indication that searchers expect or prefer a list format to address the topic:

List content How do I write it? The 6-step guide 1

Another good place to look is your own Google Analytics data. If you find that a particular topic has a lot of traffic it might make a good listing article if you can easily simplify the content.

For example, I know that the listing topic receives 6,600 searches per month, according to Ubersuggest. Since it's already a popular topic, making a list might be a good choice.

listicle ubersuggest example

2. Do your keyword research

If the reason you want to make a list is to get your content marketing off the ground, keyword research needs to be on your to-do list.

Keywords are the terms that searchers enter into a search engine to obtain information on a specific topic. These are also the words that Google and other search engines use to identify the focus of your blog post or website.

By optimizing your content for certain keywords, your page is more likely to be rated as an option when people search for those terms.

You can use free keyword research tools, such as: B. Google Keyword Planner or my own Ubersuggest.

During this time, watch out for long-tail keywords, as lists are perfect for targeting these valuable terms.

3. Outline your Listicle Content Points

So far, you've chosen your topic and target keyword. Now we come to the contents of the list.

First, look at your competition. You will most likely notice some common topics. Look for weaknesses or gaps in the content of your competitors.

For example, when creating this list, I looked at what had already been written about lists:

List contents outline your list items

There are tons of articles out there on how to write a list, but only one in the search results above is a list itself, and we already know lists get more clicks. That means I have the opportunity to create better content than anyone else has already published.

Next, brainstorm and write down any items that you think are relevant to your list. Then go through all the points you wrote down. When they are best presented in a particular order, organize them accordingly and bring all redundant points together. Split up any items that are too heavy for just one point and try to make them into multiple points.

Take a look at the "People ask" questions on Google. These are questions that are often asked on the same subject. They are an easy way to make sure you get the subject thorough.

List contents People also ask

Complement each post by adding examples that show why each item was on your numbered list, or how to do so when creating step-by-step instructions. For example, this list on HelloBar about lead magnets includes an example of different lead magnets and explains why they work.

Listicle on HelloBar example

As you write your content, link to more detailed information if necessary. Make sure, however, that you don't link to posts that try to rank for the same keywords. This creates more informative content without making your article too long.

4. Number the list items

You don't have to use lists to make a list, but it makes for a better user experience. As readers go through the article, there is a sense of progression as they move down the numbered list. There is also a sense of accomplishment that motivates readers to keep reading. It also makes sense to number the items when using a number in the post title.

For long list posts, numbers can make it easier for readers to keep track of their progress. You can even stop reading and pick up where you left off later.

Numbering is also helpful when someone wants to share or reference certain points. It is easier to refer to a specific number than it is to describe a section in the article.

However, how many points should you use? A round number like 10 is easy to remember, but odd numbers are more noticeable and grab the reader's attention.

The reality is that there is no right or wrong number to include on your list. it depends on the topic and your competition.

If all of the other posts are 10 points long, it might be good to have even more, like 25 or even 30. If most of the other lists in your niche are really long, a short, snappy post can do well.

Whichever route you take, try to grab readers' attention by getting noticed.

5. Add interesting pictures

It's difficult to keep readers' attention with just a wall of numbered or unnumbered text. Images make your content more visually stimulating and make it an essential part of successful lists. They improve the readability of the posts and help increase data traffic.

Images or gifs grab readers' attention in ways that plain text cannot. For example, people follow instructions that contain pictures that are 323% better than just written words. Articles with relevant images receive 94% more views than articles without images.

Buzzfeed makes excellent use of this tactic. Most of their posts contain numerous images. You just can't help but keep scrolling to view one at a time.

Make sure the images you choose are relevant to the post. Filling your posts with unnecessary images brings no value and can result in a higher bounce rate.

When choosing images to add to your list, custom photos are ideal. For example, if your article includes review of products, you can add images of those products. This article on digital trends for the best desktop computers features custom images of the computers, which creates confidence in the content by showing that you have actually tried the computers.

Add images to lists

If custom photos aren't possible, you can find free images online at Pixabay, Unsplash, and Flickr, among others.

6. Avoid clickbait titles with list content that is not delivered

I know this may seem contradictory as I wrote another post on creating clickbait headlines. Before you dive into my controversial statement, let's make this clear: Clickbait isn't inherently bad.

Shitty titles that promise but don't deliver will drive users away. Fascinating titles that arouse curiosity and trigger clicks are powerful.

Does the title of your list promise something that you don't provide in the body of the article? Are the claims in the headline unrealistic or untrue?

If the honest answer to any of these questions is yes, then most likely your title is the proclaimed clickbait headline and you may want to avoid it. Lists get a bad rap as clickbait.

Sensational titles can mislead readers, damage your blog's reputation, and long-term damage to your content marketing. Good headlines that deliver what they promise can effectively attract readers.

On average, eight out of ten people will read your title, but only two will read the rest of your copy. This statistic shows the importance of headings in converting page browsers to readers.


New content marketing strategies pop up every day. The only constant is high quality content. Smart digital marketers know the importance of quality content that is search engine optimized and valuable to readers.

Regardless of the format, great content can help generate searches and leads. List posts offer the best of both worlds: easy to write structure and high quality content that turns browsers into readers.

Have you recently written lists? Are you taking any more steps to create list posts?