Your Listicles are Boring: 5 Ways You Can Break Away from the Pack

office banner

It’s 2014 and we are living in the Golden Age of the Listicle. We all know why: on the internet, people tend to ignore long paragraphs and read bulleted and numbered lists.  Listicles at their best are short, informative and easy to read. The problem is that many listicles are generic and boring. They don’t stand out from the crowd. How many listicles have you seen with titles like:

  • Five Ways to Optimize Your Content
  • Five of the Best Social Networks
  • Five Ways To Market Your Marketing Content And Socialize Your Marketing Efforts

And so on, and so on. In a sea of generic listicles, it’s important to create content that doesn’t bore your readers to tears. Here are some tips to help your listicle break away from the pack.

Specificity Kills Ambiguity.

When you write your listicle, use specific terms. Instead of “Five Ways to Optimize Your Content,” say “Five Ways You Can Power Up Your Corporate Blog Content Right Now.” By saying something specific, you conjure a more powerful image in the minds of your readers. Urgency helps too.

Write in a Conversational Tone.

Write to your readers as if you were talking to them. Too many articles on the internet, especially industry articles, read like an excerpt from a technical manual. Imagine you and your reader are at a bar having a conversation. Write the way you’d talk to them in that situation.

Say Something Different.

Do you have an opinion that differs from most people in your industry? Can you back that opinion up with facts and data? Then share it in your listicles. By saying something that differs from what everyone else is saying, you’re guaranteed to stand out from the pack.

Create Listicles that are Genuinely Useful.

Why are you writing listicles? To drive traffic to your site? To build brand awareness? Instead of thinking about what your listicle can do for you, start thinking about what it can do for your readers. Create listicles that are genuinely useful to the people reading them. It’s important that the first thing you think about when you write anything is “How does this make my reader’s life better?” When you make your reader your priority, conversions and brand awareness will come.

Stop Using the Number Five.

When did five become the official number of marketing listicles? When every article starts with the same number, they all start blurring together. Ten is also a little over used. This seems like a small thing but it can make a difference. Try writing an article with six or seven points. Or however many you want.