Love them or hate them, listicles are here to stay.
Let’s face the truth — we are rushed readers. We have to be.
Because if we don’t, we end up losing more time to talk with our friends, to enjoy our meal, to watch our favorite TV show, or to work on that task we promised would be done today.
That’s why we’ve grown extremely nit-picky about what we should read, like…
- What we’re going to read.
- How many minutes the article is.
- Whether this article will make a dent in our life.
And nothing could beat listicles when it comes to fulfilling these 3 things.
Based on my 30 day listicle experiment, I’ll tell you exactly which listicles people love reading here on Medium. Hopefully, this’ll help you brainstorm some great ideas for your next listicle.
As long as there are problems, how to’s will always be in high demand.
I mean ask yourself, when was the last time you Googled something you didn’t know?
- How to fix a broken headlight
- How to reinstall my computer without erasing data
- How to cook tender chicken breast
Or the last time you read an article that could enhance your life?
- How to behave on a first date
- How to cut down fat without sweating
- How to make yourself work and get shit done
People like solutions, especially those that are stupid easy to follow. So pick a topic you’re a pro at and give sincere advice that newbies can take action from.
Time is ticking, and sometimes we just jump for the cream of the crop. I mean it’s just human nature to become our best, which is why we’re always so magnetized by topics like:
- The top 10 books every entrepreneur should read
- The best questions to ask your boss to boost your career
- The 5 most visited tourist attractions in the world
Why learn business from a teacher when you can ask a successful CEO?
As long as you promise your readers the fine quality of your choices, you got yourself a winning listicle.
What intrigues people most on Medium are personal stories — ones that touch humanity, stir up emotions, and give you a deeper insight of the writer’s mind.
How this is usually set up is by a well-developed narrative (intriguing too!) followed by organized points. Take these as examples:
- Things I wish guys didn’t take as a mixed signal
- Things my parents won’t invest in but I would
- How dating has always felt like work
These listicles may be more time-consuming to write, because they come from the heart. But I promise you, stories that highlight your experience will spur up a surprising number of responses.
It’s always welcoming to hear real advice from someone who has “been there, done that.” Especially if you’re someone who hates making mistakes and would rather learn from somebody else’s experience.
Here’s what I suggest. Topics that revolve around:
- What you’ve learned
- What you’ve done to sharpen your mind or skills
- What keeps you hustling
Make sure you really step into the shoes of your readers and brainstorm what problems people commonly face. You’ll soon realize how much your words of support means when you get that support back (through your reader’s comments).
It’s what I’ve noticed from my previous advice-based listicles:
One thing I’ve discovered on Medium is how much people value quotes. Writers squeeze it into their story. Readers highlight it and tweet it. Others, like me, save it for the next conversation or post.
That’s why I decided to take my favorite quotes and expand on each one to give readers a better idea of what it means.
- 5 empowering quotes I fall back on to keep my hustle on
- 5 quotes that’ll make you rethink love and relationships
The results are exactly what I expected — a huge number of views, recommends, and a bold highlight on each of my 5 quotes.
Ever had a wave of ideas gush into your head? Write them all down! Because with the help of bullet points, you can create one of the most read listicles.
You see, people don’t care as much about explanations as they did in the past — especially if your topic is super catchy, yet simple, to kick off with.
- Things I wish my parents knew
- How to cut down fat without sweating
- Questions girls want to ask on the first date (but really shouldn’t say)
There’s a reason why Twitter and Facebook started incorporating videos as part of their features. It’s because people find videos more entertaining and easier to digest than text alone.
It’s the same for Medium — showcase awe-inspiring videos that tickle people’s curiosity and enlighten their life. This may give you astounding engagement like what I got from 9 Inspirational TED Talks To Help You Kick Ass in Life, At Work, Anywhere.
It’s a refreshing change for readers (and for you too).
It’s nice to talk about ourselves. Done too much though, and others might start tagging us as a lone wolf who doesn’t give a crap about others, just themselves.
That’s why it’s a good idea to feature other brilliant minds once in awhile. This way, you can show how much you appreciate other’s work and get recognized by a bigger chunk of the community.
Take this for example: Learn from the Pros | 10 of the Best Writing Advice You’ll Ever Read.
Just remember to add @theirname in your post, so the person you’ve tagged will get notified and respond back to you with their appreciation.