Blogger? Journalist with a degree that longs for a time when being a journalist didn’t involve list articles? Then you’ve probably considered writing a piece that you can knock out in a day that is interesting, clever and doesn’t require tonnes of research. There’s no shame in writing a list; they’re just part of an evolving media landscape. Here are a few tips on writing one:
Pick a unique topic (well, as unique as possible)
“There’s no such thing as a new idea” -I'm not sure who said it, it may have been me. Unless you’re writing a list about something extremely specific, it’s unlikely that it doesn’t already exist; but don’t be put off if it is. Take it as a challenge to find a new way of breaking it down or a new angle. If it's something you already have an interest in, even better.
Do a bit of research, be accurate
If you know the topic well, that’s a good start but always do research. Best practice is to have two or three independent scores for your information. If you’re making a point you’re not 100% sure about and you’re intending to state a fact, don’t.
Maybe come up with a narrative
If it's a more playful topic, you can have fun and tell a story or make a joke. A list is a good way to do this as it forces the reader's eye to follow a specific path but be sure to set your tone early on.
Make good use of images
Simple but effective: if it looks good, then people will enjoy it more.
Use a link in every point on the list
There’s proof that the more outward links you use, the better SEO you have. Don’t overload with them, but a healthy smattering of links to sources and examples is always advisable.
Don’t force it to a round number
If you can only come up with 13, then only write 13. Don’t string it out until 15 because people will be able to tell when you have padded it out. You’ll find in writing the initial list that you’ll lose steam; that is the natural point to round it off. Also don’t be afraid to rearrange your points if you’re not happy.
Come up with a clever /engaging title
Less click bate, more wit. We’ve got the most social media savvy generation ever and that’s only going to increase. Most have a low tolerance for bad click bate and a taste for better content. People know the value of their click more than ever, don’t shortchange them.
Don’t over share
You want people to read what you’ve done but you don’t want to annoy them. Post it on your own social channels once, maybe twice for Twitter. If you spam people, they’ll actively go out of their way to not read/ share what you do.
Link to a successful example
People wanna see how it’s done. If you can show examples of what you mean, that's good. If you can show an example of your own work, even better.