Listicles have, unfairly, earned a bad rap.
The format has been criticized by old school journos for being lazy, uninformative and poorly written attention span-killers.
But regardless of what the naysayers say, listicles are insanely popular. They're everywhere, thanks to the success of BuzzFeed and its never-ending stream of lists like "50 Foods You Need to Eat Before You Die" and "17 Extremely Helpful Cats".
Presenting content as a list has proven to be an effective way to capture the attention of readers as they provide information in an extremely digestible manner. Even the New York Times has adopted the format.
Listicles are here to stay. Why?
This was true before the Internet.
"Lists have been around since the 10 Commandments. It's a very natural way for people to organize information," Jack Shepherd, BuzzFeed's editorial director, said.
Your audience has the entire World Wide Web, and it's infinite supply of content, at their disposable 24/7. It can be difficult to keep up with breaking news and social media updates since everything moves so fast all of time.
A listicle, when executed properly, acts as an annotated and informative breakdown of the day's hot topic in one easy-to-read linear progressive package.
A linear progressive package is the ideal format for readers consuming your content via a smartphone or tablet. Lists are easy to scan. Generally, someone reading an article on a phone wants bite-size bits of information - just the headlines essentially.
While listicles have taken the turn for the serious as a result of their rising popularity, they still present brands and publishers with a format that's open to creativity.
Humor and lightheartedness work well in a list format (See BuzzFeed) because they present elements of surprise and unexpectedness.
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