5 Simple Tips For Writing Awesome Listicles For Medium

They’re A Great Way For You To Show What You Know

Michael Shook
Apr 3, 2018 · 3 min read

Yes, Listicles Still Get Read. A Lot.

Back in 2008, listicles were the article equivalent of summer blockbusters. Wisdom dictated that everyone who had a blog should write at least one top ten tips type article each week.

Common sense at that time held that the bigger the list of tips you could provide, the better a writer you were. So we wound up with titles like The Top 500 Tips For Bloggers.

The first tip being that the first article you should write was a listicle.

Fast forward 10 years and we find lots of these articles still available; but unlike aged wine that improves, aged bad writing advice does not get any better.

The thing is, though, listicles can really help your reader and when done well are definitely worth reading.

Here are 5 simple tips you can use to create great listicles.

1. Write list articles that authentically help people.

Part of the reason for writing is to make your name known; no worries there. Listicles are a great way to show you know what you are talking about. The goal of a listicle is to condense a large amount of information into small tidbits.

Here’s the kicker. If you don’t have expertise in what you are writing about, wait to write a listicle until you have expertise.

2. Make sure each tip you present in your article is unique.

This means your tips cannot be eerily similar. Each tip needs to be an idea unto itself.

Ideally, each list item could be an article all on its own. By their very nature, tips only present an overview of an idea. An interested reader will already be thinking about how your presentation of the ideas will affect their life.

And they are looking forward to learning more about how the points in your article can help them.

3. Use a number of tips that readers can act on without stressing.

Most people chunk data into small bites. 3, 4, or 5 items is about all we can handle. But that doesn’t mean you can’t have ten great tips that can help.

It means if you write 2 articles each featuring 5 great tips, both of them will have a better opportunity to be acted upon.

3, 4, 5 and 7 are good numbers to use for numbers of tips in a single article. If you have 10, most readers are going to forget the first five. Or worse, they are going to stop reading after the first 5 tips.

4. Explain each of your tips so that you readers get a great benefit.

Each of the tips you are presenting in your article is just that, the tip of a wave of detailed information you can share.

There’s only so much information you can present at any one time. When your reader finds the tip that resonates with them, they will also be looking for some additional information.

You’re writing this type of article to find people who are interested in what you have to offer. You are the expert, it’s logical to think you can help your reader when they want to know more.

5. Make sure your article is written as an informational piece of writing; with an introduction, the article meat, and a conclusion.

A CTA (call to action) is optional. I’ve included one just below the conclusion. Please take me up on it.

Listicles are often vilified in the writing community, and poorly written ones don’t deserve much attention. But when you are an expert in your field, listicles can be a great way of gaining publicity while helping others at the same time.

If you write a listicle on Medium, tag me, Michael Shook and I will come over to read, clap for and respond to your article.

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Michael Shook

Written by

Plain-spoken writer with strong opinions. Sees the world differently and writes about it that way.


Discover the best up and coming writers. You'll say you knew them when.