The easiest way to present your product or service is by writing content that gets read.
And hopefully shared...A lot!
You could try and write the article yourself. But you may be like the rest of us shlubs and be horrible at writing.
Or you could spend $100s and pay someone to write for you. That isn't very practical if you are small business or start-up.
But what is easy is to present your information in the form of lists.
The new buzzword for this is "listicle."
Not a big fan of the word myself as I usually catch myself saying in my head "testicles." And I giggle every time. But that's me...
Check this out....
They are "click bait" as the content writers call it.
Meaning they get clicked on often. They attract readers that tend to share the list with their social media following.
And if you can get your article noticed and shared on these outlets they you can make a killing in your business.
Something that my new favorite person Ryan Stewart did.
If you aren't in the SEO world then you may not have heard this guy. But trust me, he's a rockstar.
Ryan has a great readership and following now. But he wasn't even on the radar a year ago or so. Ryan is killing it because he got his content not only published but shared to millions.
His articles are full of content and useful, actionable tidbits which one reason why he's become so popular. But I ascribe his popularity to the how he writes his stuff.
They are written in listicle fashion.
Listicles have been with us in one form or another since the early 1900's. Maybe even before that I just haven't found any good examples.
Most of your popular health and celebrity rags rely on listicles almost exclusively.
Here is the front page of the Cosmopolitan website
And here is the front page of Men's Health website
Another popular website that lives in listicleland is BuzzFeed.
Typically when you see a title like "20 best sniper headshots" it is a listicle.
Most, not all, listicle articles will begin with a number. 5 of this. 23 of that. They are usually odd numbers. Or prime numbers.
Best idea for listicles is what do you want to know about? Which could be perfect for a listicle "7 Things That I Wished I Knew More About."
You list out the those seven things and write a paragraph or two on it.
Badda bing, badda boom.
You have a listicle that will may get read.
The news is another great source for listicles.
Today as I write this we just had two black men get killed by police officers. That spurred protests in Dallas, TX where a black man opened fired on police officers there.
This maybe a controversial conversation. But a listicle could be written that would be shared around the world.
For example, you could write a listicle like "10 Things That White People Need To Know About Being Black."
Another place where you could get ideas from is your business if you have one. And I hope you do, because I am writing this on my blog which is directed to business people.
It would be awkward otherwise.
I have another business other than SEO consulting. I own and run a moving business. I wrote an article which is very popular entitled, "20 Questions To Ask Any Mover That Guarantees Moving Day Success"
I don't know what your business is but lets say you are like my friend Anna.
Anna sells Essential Oils. She seems to be quite good at it. She could write a listicle like this "5 Essential Oils That Relieves Anxiety."
Or you could even to look to other listicles to see what could be written.
That's exactly what Sarah Miller did on her blog with the article "10 Listicles I Wish Someone Would Write."
Inspiration is all around you. Ya just have to look my friend.
There are limitless topics to write about and to turn into listicle.
Honestly it is a bit of a rehash that I just wrote about above.
But let me give 12 topics that you could write your business content around.
I think you get the idea.
(Hey did you notice that I put a listicle inside a listicle? Clever aren't I?)
Like I said before I own a moving business. By using the list above I could get an idea (which I really did get just now looking at this.)
The idea that popped into my head is this: "7 Movies That Moving Companies have Been Featured In."
I can name a couple right off the top of my head right now.
I feel you are getting the point so I won't belabor the point any longer.
Writing a good or even a great listicle isn't hard once you have your idea.
It is only a matter of putting that material together and then filling in the outline.
Let's do an example of how I would write a list post that will get read and ultimately shared by millions of people.
For this example I am going to use that movie idea for the listicle.
Now I am not going to actually write one out, but my movie magic I am going create a listicle of how I would actually go about doing jus that.
(Amazing how listicles work when you actually think about it...)
1) Come up with the idea.
We did that already. We looked at the above topic list (which is very incomplete FYI) and came up with a cool idea and twist.
We are going to do a list about the number of times moving companies have been featured in movies.
2) Research your idea.
You could just say "7 Times That a Moving Company...." without first researching the actual amount of times that a moving company has been in a movie.
And if you are wrong you simply change the title a little.
Or you could research and find out before you determined a number.
2A) Collect the data during your research.
That step seems so obvious but I speak from first hand knowledge that it isn't common sense.
Of course many of you are smarter than me. That goes without saying. But there are those that are not quite up to my speed either, so I write that for them.
You'll need to collect the actual citations, pictures and the like.
For my example it would be useful knowledge of what the movie title is, who starred in it, when it was released, and so on.
3) Outline your list.
Now I am curating a simple list. This is easy.
But for this article in my research I went through Google search and collected all the keywords that people are looking for and made a list.
(Hello...I justed dropped a huge secret on you. I hope you got it.)
4) From your outline starting writing each point.
Lets say from our research one of the movies that had a moving company in it was Apollo 13 (great movie BTW).
I would then write out a paragraph of a couple of sentences and no more than 3 about the movie.
That is my personal preference but the shorter you keep it the better. The reason that listicles work so well as the soundbites. They are quick bits of information that we can absorb quickly.
I wouldn't write more than 300 words under each point. And if your bullet point requires you to write more then create another bullet point.
You saw me do this above with 2A.
In my research I found an article by some guy named Thomas A.C. Murrell and he wrote a tutorial about writing a great listicle.
How good is it? Well you be judge.
But here is his advice in a nutshell:
The advice isn't too horrible. I kinda like it.
Here is a quick list of articles that may help you in writing your listicles if this article wasn't enough info for you.
(Don't worry I'm not offended...)
How to Write a Listicle by Wikihow
14 Steps To Write A Great Listicle by Vegibit.com
Besides the websites that I mentioned above Men's Health, Cosmo and Buzzfeed here is a list of some other good places that you can find listicles on:
There are some many others that we could mention. And if you know any others please share them with us in the comments section below.
Writing a good listcle isn't hard or mindboggling. It is very easy in fact.
And you don't have to be a great writer to write out one. You just need to be concise and informative...and being a little funny helps.
I hope you take this advice and go out and create some great content and gets shared with the world.
Hell, I'd love to see your stuff.
Jst leave a comment below with your listicle and I'll be sure to read it. And if I really like it I will share it my social followers so that they can get a chance to experience it too.
How's that for a deal.
Go forth and prosper my young padawans.
I started using SEO tactics back in 2008 to get my then fledgling moving business off the ground because I was broke and I needed to stand out. I still use it today, but now I am in a position to be sharing my knowledge with others ...for a fee of course.