5 Reasons Why Listicles Really Work

Mark Pedersen

Enter listicles (list-style articles). Readable, snackable, and shareable, listicles can be the perfect medium for sharing your words of wisdom.

Don’t believe us? Here are 5 reasons to love listicles.

By the way, here’s an interesting fact: odd numbered lists perform better than even numbered ones, and the best number for a list post is 25 (Source: HubSpot). So, don’t get even—get odd!

1. They stand out.

By nature, there is something uniquely appealing about a numbered headline such as “5 Reasons Why X” or “15 Things You Need to Y.” The reader knows exactly what to expect—and readers like that. In fact, people prefer numbered list headlines over any other type of headline (Source: Conductor).

2. They aren’t a commitment.

Listicles are popular because they require minimal effort. Everyone is busy and no one has time to read. Content that is too long will immediately turn off readers. Listicles are short and sweet—exactly what works well online.

3. Our brains love ‘em.

Listicles curate—they present complicated information in a format that is easy for the brain to digest. Reading large blocks of text is also taxing on the brain, requiring more energy and focus. Listicles provide a mental reprieve, as the brain has to work less hard to process them.

4. They challenge our insecurities.

Listicles convey authority, and appeal to our desire for improvement and organization. By reading them, we’re tricked into believing we will receive some kind of benefit—we will learn to do X better, improve Y, or learn not to make certain mistakes. Listicles also elicit feelings of FOMO (fear of missing out). Subconsciously, we fear that we may miss out on some vital knowledge or fail to gather some life-changing nugget of brilliance—and that thought terrifies us, causing us to click.

5. They’re easy.

Listicles are one of the most convenient content formats out there. They’re simple and entertaining to read. Numbers and bolded entries make scrolling through easy—and you can start reading a listicle at any point, beginning, middle or end. From a content creation perspective, listicles make sense—they’re fun to write and don’t take long to make.

Yes& is the Washington, DC-based marketing agency that brings commercial, association, and government clients the unlimited power of “&” – using a full suite of branding, digital, event, marketing, public relations, and creative capabilities to deliver meaningful and measurable results.

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Mark Pedersen
Mark Pedersen
VP, Marketing Strategy