Are you suffering from lackluster listicles? Making lists is one of those content marketing vehicles that tends to work from a click-through standpoint: for whatever reason, people are more likely to click on subject lines that contain numbers. That said, not all listicles are created equal.

 4 Tips for More Robust Listicles

1) Treat Your Listicles with Care

There are times to let the listicles fly free, and times to squash them. I’ve seen too many articles that seem to be in list form for the singular purpose of being in list form. While conventions like lists and H2s can service demand gen KPIs (click-through, SEO), we can’t sacrifice the quality of the content for the sole purpose of those numbers. If we’re writing a how-to or a collection of tips, lists make sense. But if our primary motivation for a list is “Well, people like to click on lists,” perhaps we need to regroup. Unless we’re Buzzfeed, listicles should be balanced with longer-form content that explores a topic in depth.

2) Make Your Listicles Stand Out

Once we’ve identified the reason we’re writing a listicle, it’s a good idea to make sure we’re not borrowing someone else’s listicle. Doing a quick search (e.g., Google or LinkedIn) to make sure that someone hasn’t already written this listicle is a good idea. If we find that there’s already a decent amount of content around the topic, thinking of a unique position or hook for our listicle is how we can differentiate ourselves.

3) Tie Your Listicles to a Larger Body

While listicles should be able to stand on their own, they’re more potent when they’re supported. In addition to balancing the long-form editorial, listicles are a way to augment it. Mapping all of our content back to a defined business purpose and marketing storyline is how we can make sure that our communications stay consistent.

4) Test the Strength of Your Listicles

Click-throughs, traffic, and open rates are great metrics to measure the effectiveness of a subject line. But what about the content itself? Engagement is what we marketers are after, and measuring that engagement is how we can understand what’s resonating with our target readers. Metrics like time on page, bounce rate, and social shares are all indicators of the content’s success. (For more on that, check out this post on vanity metrics vs. actionable metrics.)

Have any other tips on better listicles? Hit us up in the comment field.