Publishing and sharing list articles – known as listicles – on your blog and social media are great ways to generate traffic, interest, and leads. If you’re looking for ways to take your listicles to the next level, you’ve come to the right place. Below, we share tips that can help you grab your readers’ attention and keep them engaged from start to finish.
Write a Compelling Title
The title is the first thing a reader sees, so it’s important to make sure your titles are descriptive, engaging, and compelling. Here are some different ways to do that:
Use Keywords In the Title
If you want your list article to rank in search engine page results (SERPs), you need to use keywords in the title. For example, if you’re writing a listicle about the top 10 editing apps, you might use keywords like “editing apps,” “for writers,” or “best editing software.”
Not only do these keywords help with search engine optimization (SEO), but they also let readers know what your article is about before they even click through. A readable title that contains multiple high-value keywords is likely to be more relevant to readers than a title that doesn’t mention those topics at all.
Catch the Reader’s Attention
Your title should also be designed to catch readers’ attention and make them want to click through. Using strong verbs is one way to do this. For example, powerful verbs like “crush the competition,” or “discover the answer” are more likely to interest readers.
Make a Bold Claim
You can also make a controversial claim in your title. For example, if your article promises to reveal something surprising, that’s likely to pique readers’ curiosity and convince them to click through. For example, a listicle titled “The 10 Most Annoying Dog Breeds (According to Science)” is likely to get more clicks than one titled “The 10 Best Dog Breeds for Families.”
Use Numbers or Symbols
Articles with numbers or symbols in the title (like “#5” or “%”) tend to perform well because they convey a sense of urgency and allow readers to quickly understand what they can expect from the article. You can use this strategy to make your titles even more compelling.
Use Anecdotes or Relatable Stories
Another way to engage your reader is to open with an anecdote or story. This will help to personalize your article and make it more relatable for the reader. For example, if you’re writing a listicle about tips for saving money, you could open with a story about how you once overspent on a vacation and had to tighten your budget when you got home.
Use Statistics or Interesting Facts
Including statistics or facts that aren’t well known can not only catch your readers’ attention, but it can also help to provide context for your article and make it more informative. If you’re writing a list about the benefits of exercise, you could open with a statistic about how much regular exercise can reduce the risk of certain types of diseases.
Pose a Question
Asking a question in your introduction can also be an effective way to get the click. A well-written question will encourage them to think about the topic of your article and consider their own opinions on the matter. This tactic is great for blogs that will be shared on social media or that have comment sections where users can reply or post a note.
Create a Scan & Skim-Friendly Outline
The next step is to create an outline that users can scan or skim easily and still make sense of the point you intend to make. Ideally, your readers should be able to look only at your subheadings and be able to come away with essentially the same gist as they would have if they’d read the entire blog. Here are some tips to create a great outline:
Be Descriptive But Concise
It can be tempting to make your listicle introduction and subheadings as brief as possible. After all, we just discussed the importance of readers being able to quickly scan and get the gist of what you’re saying. However, if you’re too concise, you run the risk of being confusing or vague.
Instead, aim for a happy medium: be descriptive enough that readers understand what you’re talking about, but don’t go into too much detail.
Use Semantic Keywords
Make your content even more valuable by using semantic keywords in your subheadings and throughout your content. Semantic keywords are words and phrases that search engines understand to be related to a primary keyword that help explain the meaning of a piece of content.
For example, if you’re writing a listicle about ways to save money on groceries, some semantic keywords might be “budget,” “cost-effective,” or “discount.” Using these kinds of keywords will help search engines better match your content to user intent.
Get Help From An Expert Content Marketing Team
Creating a compelling title, using valuable keywords, and using a scan and skim-friendly outline are great ways to get started, but in today’s fiercely competitive content market, you might need a little extra help. A team of professionals can guide you through the steps of learning how to create engaging content that ranks. Contact McDougall Interactive today for more information by calling (978) 750-8000.