5 Ways Listicles Work
June 17, 2016
Listicles have quickly become the next big thing in internet culture and content. You may ask, “What in the world is a listicle?” although I am very sure that you would recognize one if you saw it. You may have even re-posted one to your social media pages.
Listicles are articles on the Internet that are presented in the form of a numbered or bulleted list. Two companies you may recognize that are largely known for their listicles are BuzzFeed and Dose. These are companies that generate millions of views per month just on listicles. So why do listicles work so well?
1. The Shorter the Better
In this day and age, everyone wants information in a timely manner. That’s why social media platforms such as Snapchat have become so popular. Users get information in short bursts. Listicles work the same way, but in the form of an article.
2. Telling the Same Story in a Different Format
You may see a news story posted and re-post several different times from different news sources with only a few words changed. It can get redundant, right? Well listicles tell that story but in a different, more engaging format. Lists engage readers directly by letting them process complicated information in a more spatial manner while connecting the dots. This is doubled if the reader has to click through to proceed.
Clickbait is a large part of internet culture. This is why listicles are so popular. They are alluring and draw readers to almost any sort of content. They make people wonder what the content includes, what they might not know, and what other people are saying.
4. Generate Discussion
Listicles leave a lot open-ended. This is an effective technique for drawing a response from the audience. This is overwhelmingly true when using a ranked listicle covering topics that are based on opinion. For example, this BuzzFeed article covering the Top 10 Worst Comic Book Movie Costumes. Some might complain that the list is in the wrong order or that something that one was omitted that "absolutely has to make the list".
Listicles are all about getting straight to the topic at hand. This makes the content more memorable. Think about it. You wouldn’t bring a 2,000 word essay to the grocery store to remember that you need to buy milk, eggs, and cereal. You write a list, find what you need, and go home. Straight to the point.
So what do you think? Are listicles an effective way of engaging an audience?