List posts remind me of dark chocolate. They’re so sweet and tasty it’s hard to believe they can be good for a blog, but when used in moderation, they’re a healthy treat for both readers and bloggers.
Readers love list posts because they’re easy on the eyes yet packed with helpful information. Bloggers love them because they’re quick, easy, and fun to write. Adding to the deliciousness, list posts are also favorites for sharing on social media and bookmarking sites.
Here are some tips for creating totally luscious list posts for your blog:
- Pick a number. There are no rules on this, but more than five and less than 20 seems to be pretty standard for most blog posts.
- Craft a tantalizing headline. Alert readers to the list-post goodness that awaits by using your best headline writing skills. The ideal list post headline has a number, a keyword or two, and the promise of something your target audience craves.
- Write a short intro. There are times when it’s appropriate to launch straight into your list with no intro, but most times, opening the post with a few introductory sentences sets the stage and heightens reader anticipation.
- Brainstorm for list points. Mindmapping, as discussed in this Problogger post, is a favorite brainstorming method for many bloggers.
- Select the winners. Evaluate your points with your readers in mind. What ideas will be most helpful or entertaining? Do all of your ideas fit well together? If you have more good ideas than you can use, save them for a future post.
- Create order. Move your items around as appropriate if they need to be ranked, alphabetized, or put in a step-by-step order. If your items don’t require ordering, place your strongest ideas at the top of the list.
- Be consistent. Be mindful of your tone as you flesh out and revise your list. For example, if you started out using humor, make sure it’s sprinkled throughout your post. Also evaluate your text for general consistency in the number of lines contained in each point.
- Do a final quality check. Does the number of items presented in your list match up with the number in the headline? Do a final read-through to make sure your post delivers on all the sweet stuff you promised your readers.
- Wrap it up. Close out your list post with a few summary sentences, and invite readers to take action by leaving a comment or sharing your post on a social networking site.
Your turn. Do you use list posts on your blog? Have more list post tips or thoughts to share? Leave a comment!
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