How to ROCK your Content Marketing! by Heidi Cohen

02/07/2012 10:43


Between social media and other marketing needs, marketers are challenged to continually turn out quality content their target audience finds useful and shareable. One way to ensure your content marketingconsistently resonates with your target audience is to use list articles.

13 Ways to create lists that rock your content marketing

The bottom line is marketers love list articles because they work; they’re reader magnets. Here are thirteen tips for integrating lists into your content marketing toolbox. (Note: This article is a list article although I haven’t titled it as such.)

  1. Signal lists to your readers visually. Design a special look for list posts to enhance the visual quality of your site’s lists through the use of design, color and bullet format. Use an actual list element otherwise search bots won’t read your list as a list.
  2. Provide structure for your content.  Lists offer an easy-to-develop form of content. Take advantage of this by including a regular feature such as a news roundup. For example, List25 and 12Most are two media sites that use lists as the heart of their content structure.
  3. Use the right type of list in the right situation. Does the sequence of points matter to the reader? If not use bullet points (this suggests equal weighting). If the sequence matters, then use numbers to organize content. Note: this point has relevance for search bots as well.
  4. Keep your list items short and on topic. Part of the beauty of lists for readers is that they’re bite-size portions of content.
  5. Craft each point to stand on its own. When separated from the rest of your article, does the point make sense?
  6. Make points stand out through the use of effective formatting. Guide the readers through your content as efficiently as possible. The most common formats are bolding or italics. They should be visually rendered consistent with your brand. Alternatively, include a photographor other graphic with each point to make them visually attractive.
  7. Plan ahead for reuse. Consider how you can extend the value of this content marketing in other contexts. Among the options are socially share each list point on social media, create a presentation using each point as a slide topic or offer a download for your readers’ use.
  8. Act as a checklist. Lists help consumers keep track of what they have to do or allow them to test if they’re on track. If it’s appropriate, add check boxes to allow readers to physically check points off. Checklists can make good PDFs or downloads. Depending on your product offering, integrate links to your product into your content.
  9. Include an odd number of points in the list. Research has shown odd numbers attract more attention than even ones. Among the exceptions are 10, 12 and 100 which are natural milestones.
  10. Use the number of list points in the title. To leverage the power of the list, include the number of points in your article title or a second-level heading. This will help increase your readership.
  11. Enable readers to socially share each point on the list. While readers may not agree with the entire list of information, they might share specific points. Where possible make this easy and remind readers to share the information. This allows you to share your content on social media platforms with different commentary over time. To encourage social sharing, incorporate a contextually relevant call-to-action.
  12. Get a little help from your friends. By their nature, lists posts or articles can be created by a number of people. This allows you to gather input from a variety of resources as well as reducing the workload per person.
  13. Leave your list unfinished. While this sounds counter-intuitive, stop one or two points short of your total number of points to allow readers to complete the list in the comment section. The unfinished nature of this type of post encourages people to contribute to your post.

Content marketers and readers love lists because they’re relatively easy-to-consume and provide value to the reader. Further, they encourage social sharing and contribute to search engine optimization (SEO).


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