Many smart writers can't stand list posts. A list post is what it is. A numbered list post is a post with a headline that features a number of things.

A list post is what this one is.

There are many bad ones out there. These 17 celebrities used to be hot and the tabloid sites use them a lot. They are used liberally by all of the CRaP Blogs.

It is normal for a quality focused content writer to try to avoid bad writing. That wouldn't be right.

Here is why.

Smart marketers have always focused on underlying human psychological drivers. And those drivers change very little, if at all.

We get a little bit enamored by numbers.

How to write a killer list post

A part of our brain gets activated when we see a number in a headline, and we are more likely to click on the whole piece.

There are a lot of numbers in the Popular Posts category.

Is it possible that those posts became popular because of the headline?

It is not possible to say yes. It is not a substitute for strong writing habits, solid content marketing strategy, or effective promotion.

That is the problem with how most people look at lists.

The number in the headline is not the right place to begin. I have a first tip.

#1: Don’t start with a numbered list

You might have been given an assignment to write a listicle on 10 ways to do our thing.

Your first thought might be to complain that the word listicle is in your life. I want to apologize. We will do everything in our power to burn this out of the English language.

Let's go forward.

The worst way to make a list post is to open your writing tool, put the numbers one through 10 in there, and then look for ways to fill them in.

It is likely the fastest way. It's not the right way to write better content.

You must begin with the itch that needs scratching. There needs to be a seed of a problem, an unanswered question, a fascination to know more.

You can only get those seeds from your crowd.

An audience of Hello Kitty cosplayers won't be interested in a post about electrical engineers. There might be some overlap.

Pro tip

Some of your best-performing list posts can come from strong, interesting, problem-solving content that you realize after it's mostly written.

#2: Understand what problem you’re solving

Good content begins with the same impulse to solve a reader problem.

The case for pure entertainment sites is the same as the case for bored readers.

It is your job as a content creator to understand what is going on with your audience.

You have to know what’s worrying them, what excites them. You have to understand what they’re afraid of, and what they cherish, and what they are unwilling to lose.

There are a lot of problems to be solved. It takes a lifetime to untangle some of them. Humans have their own set of problems.

Pro tip

If you want a list post about what kind of content to create, build a list of your audience's problems. When there are problems in your content, use numbered lists to answer them.

Listen for problems and research ways to solve them. Your authority in a topic is created by that.

Digital Commerce Partners works to deliver targeted organic traffic for growing digital businesses.


#3: What makes a list post fascinating?

Good content needs to be useful. Useful without interest is encyclopedia.

It doesn't succeed if it's boring even if it's useful. It isn't shared and it isn't read. Or was watched or listened to.

You don't do anything if you write great headlines for mediocre or boring content.

Problems that are relevant are always interesting. If you put a recipe for cupcakes in front of people with Celiac disease, they will find you.

A good content creator goes on to create more. We look for things that look different. There are elements ofination

A strong writing voice will elevate a list post to a must read.

A compelling metaphor will make the content simpler to comprehend. Your content is unforgettable as a result of story selling.

The combination of killer and poet is what makes the most successful writers.

The killer knows what kind of content should be created. The poet is the one who creates something worth watching.

Pro tip

Write for pleasure. You can play with words in a variety of ways. Writers who play with descriptive language can also be interested in it.

#4: What’s the strategic goal?

If you want to make a living online, you need to get away from it as quickly as possible.

The game of content marketing is not the same as other games. To support a business, it needs to attract new prospects and educate them until they are ready to buy.

There are different types of content.

Some content exists to find people who don’t know you yet. Others, to strengthen your relationship with your audience. And some content addresses objections and educates prospects on why you’re the best choice to solve their problem.

Good writers tend to throw a lot of content against the wall. That is not a good use of your time. Understand the content marketing strategy and why you are writing or recording it.

Pro tip

You can take advantage of the free resources that are available. Ours is pretty proud of us. You can get a free book about it.

#5: Make your list post scannable

You will want to wrap it up in a way that is enjoyable to consume once you have something worth reading.

Long walls of gray are not good to eat. Videos and audio are not good.

Nothing can be done to save mediocre content. It's not even a great headline. Good content will be more enjoyable because of them.

Pro tip

It is possible to present text content in a way that is more appealing to your audience without dumbing it down.

It is time to promote something once it is worth your time.

I encourage you to take content promotion seriously in the brief space we have here.

Developing a network of publishers in your topic, cultivating a reputation as someone who creates epic material, and remembering that nothing sells itself are some of the things you can do after your initial post. Great content gets a boost from a push.

Pro tip

Check out my article Why great content alone isn't enough to build an audience.

#7: What’s the next step for the reader?

You only have as good a post as your last one.

If you do the first six steps perfectly, you need to think about what you want your readers to do next.

Sending them to even more smart, worthwhile content is usually the right answer.

It's possible that your call to action is different.

You might want to subscribe to a page, register to vote, get out and take a walk, or just click through to another great list post.

The next step for the audience should be decided before you publish and promote.

Pro tip

It is important that you have clear, straightforward calls to action when you are learning how to be a writer. You should get very good at them.

A list post that’s worth writing (and reading)

Let me take care of any doubts you may have about what to do next.

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