Imagine you are getting ready to go to the supermarket to buy groceries. Most of us usually set out with a list. Ever wondered why we do not use long paragraphs explaining the kind of products we intend to buy, instead simply use lists? Why do we have long to-do lists instead of to-do articles or plans that we make for ourselves? Planning a trip? You are very likely to start out by making a checklist of all the things you wish to carry with you on the said trip.As you have figured out by now, different occasions call for different lists, but some kinds of lists are preferred nonetheless!
These lists help us not only remember the important things but also point out to us, in a highly highlighted style, what is important and is short and precise. There exist different types of lists which help in different aspects of our day-to-day life, barely having any downsides to them. Want to save time and jot down pointers? Make a list! Want to remember today’s goals? Make a list! Want to manage your anxiety levels by planning all the places you could visit on a vacation? Yes, you have guessed it right, go ahead and make a list!
With the established importance of lists, one wonders how else one could use lists to their benefit. Among many professionals who have tweaked and played with the basic idea of lists to their advantage, content writers and content creators are found to have been one of the most creative ones out there!
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Content writers have started using listicles (the name being an amalgamation of the words ‘lists’ and ‘articles’, kind of meaning ‘list-style- articles’) to enhance their content. However, it is important to mention that listicles are not a part of some online fad or ever-fluctuating trend on social media. They have been majorly used even before the advent of the digital age and social media- yes, the article that you read on the Sunday magazine describing ‘10 psychological hacks to get your crush to like you back’ was a listicle! But really, what is a listicle?
WHAT IS A LISTICLE?
A listicle is a brief piece of writing used in journalism and blogging that employs a list as its thematic structure but is sufficiently fleshed out with material to be published as an article. It follows a structure, unlike an ordinary article where the points are not numbered and are more elaborate than what a typical listicle might be. However, there are certain types of listicles that are just as detailed as any other article, even more so in some cases.
Listicles use points to convey their message, in a format that appears to be a list. So here is an example, if you are looking for some blog pieces on how to go about starting your own start up, you might come across articles which will give you step-by-step information with numbered points and bold or highlighted sub-topics, or you might come across certain articles which will give you long paragraphs of informations explaining pretty much the same things as the one with the points, maybe less or more. Yes, you guessed it right! The former would be a listicle while the latter would simply be an article.
IMPORTANCE OF LISTICLES:
There has been quite a lot of research by scientists and psychologists who have proved the advantages of listicles and have found that listicles have worked way better than articles in many cases. A study found that the human brain can more quickly and easily chunk lists of numbers that end in zero, such as 10, 20, or 30. Humans, for instance, divide a list of 20 items into the first 10 and the second 10. In other words, lists of 10 or 20 items often appeal to audiences more than lists of 7, 11, or any other number in between. They are more inclined to read, share, and link to the content if they feel more at ease. But really, how do listicles work their charm? And why are they so widely preferred by marketers and content creators?
One of the major reasons why listicles are so appealing is because of how well they stand out. Between the headlines ‘importance of social media content creation and ‘10 reasons why content creation on social media is gaining traction, the latter is more likely to be attention-grabbing and catchy. Not only that, but the viewer will get a sense that the listicle is more likely to be precise, clear-cut and time-saving yet informative than an article. The reason listicles are so well-liked is that they take little work. To the viewer, it seems less like hard work and hence they do not find it too difficult to go through listicles. Since listicles contain numbers in their headlines, they remind readers of the shortness and finitude of the article and prevents them from being intimidated by it. One of the other reasons why listicles are so important is because of its ability to work its way through the brain. Listicles curate; they give complex information in a way that the brain can easily process it. Reading lengthy passages of text strains the brain and takes more effort and concentration. Listicles offer a mental break because they need less effort from the brain to process.
Studies have also found listicles to elicit FOMO i.e., Fear of Missing Out, in a sense that the readers will immediately harbor a feeling of having missed out on something important if they just go through the headline and not the entire listicle. Just like bullet points help students remember the keywords minutes before their exams, listicles have an extremely lasting impression on the readers who are in a hurry or do not wish to gain in-depth information and just intend to skim through the keywords. Listicles are extremely flexible, in a way that one can write short and concise listicles or detailed and elaborate ones, each being just as catchy and reader-friendly as the other.
One of the major reasons why listicles are so important is because of their insurmountable abilities to generate engagement with the brand and start conversations surrounding the topic since it often concludes with open ended questions to the readers. Through listicles on websites and social media pages, marketers can highlight critical brand messaging while promoting reader interaction. This has immensely helped content creators and marketers.
Here’s a free Listicle Template for your reference!
Listicles also help attract the attention of the younger population and that of the senior citizens too! Listicles provide in-depth as well as concise information. They are pretty flexible and catchy which is why more and more content creators and marketers are leaning towards it and listicles have become so popular!