How to Optimise Content for Human Consumption
Like it or not, more and more of us are becoming used to digesting and absorbing our facts, data and even news via the sometimes-controversial ‘listicle’. Listicle is the informal term for an article made up of a series of facts, tips, quotations, or examples – often numbered and organised around a specific theme – rather than the more complex structure traditionally associated with a blog or news article.
Why are listicles taking over?
- The title tells you exactly what to expect
- They’re easy to skim for important data
- You always know how much you have left to read
- It’s easy to put down and come back to
- They break down complex topics into easily digestible chunks
It’s bitesize learning for everyone that breaks down information to fit in with our faster pace of life. Plus, humans love lists! The Guardian goes into more depth in their article: Nine things you need to know about ‘listicles’
As viewers of online content, we are part of a group of 409 million. Between us we take in 20-billion facts and stats every month, but for many that isn’t enough, we expect to be entertained too, regardless of the content matter! Short sharp shocks are proving optimal for getting any point across. For example, we will click on The Top 10 Deadliest Diseases not necessary for the macabre content, but because it’s an easily digestible list of 10 short points. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds too are peppered with posts like 10 Ways to Lose 10 Pounds, 3 Most Affordable Cities to Live in and 5 Phrases You’ve Been Using Incorrectly. Why? Because they achieve their goal of attracting readers to your content.
How to use listicles to attract your audience
There has though been extensive research into how to write a great listicle, with pointers from using prime numbers in the title to mentioning famous people. But how do you make them work for you, for the content you want to deliver and the readers you want to attract? The premise remains, whether you’re writing about famous people or washing machines, ensure your content is something your average human wants to keep reading. So, love them or hate them here are 6 points to writing a good one:
- Choose your topic well
- Select a keyword (if necessary)
- Search your competition
- Choose a unique angle
- Write the list points
- Decide on accompanying material
Alongside listicles, let’s look at some other key Blogging Facts which can help you use your content to attract the readers you want:
- Articles with images get 94% more views than those without
- Titles with 6-13 words attract the highest and most consistent traffic
- 43% of people admit to skimming longer blogs, therefore not taking in the content
- 36% prefer list-based headlines
Opinions on whether listicles are here to stay, or whether they are useful continue to differ across the web, from why I won’t read any more listicles to 5 reasons why millennials love listicles. Either way, they work, proving that sometimes contents is just as important as content.