How to write a great listicle

Sovrn Publisher Advocate // April 8, 2020

Publishers are looking for new sources of revenue right now, and thankfully, eCommerce is booming. Social distancing means more time is spent at home, and that means more time is being spent online. In the coming weeks, we’ll be sharing tips and strategies for new Commerce users as well as tech-savvy publishers. 

Now, more than ever, it’s important that creators diversify quickly. Whether you have product questions, implementation needs, or general business concerns, remember: we’re here to help.

Why listicles work

Listicles have stuck around for one very important reason: readers love them. And with eCommerce staying strong, a great listicle is a reliable source of Commerce revenue. Listicles make for a digestible reading experience, and they’re often much easier to write than a long-form article. More importantly, they’re an undeniably effective way to drive commerce. If you’re brand new to writing product-driven content, they can be a safe place to start—as long as you keep your audience, your voice, and a smart strategy in mind.

To help you perfect your listicle-making abilities, we’ve compiled a few tips and tricks to get you started. Some may seem obvious, but it’s easy to forget best practices when in action. And now, in listicle form, here are a few quick tips on how to create successful listicles:

  1. Maintain a consistent set of criteria for judgment

    Don’t focus on the design of a product if you only talk about price with the other products. Allow readers to get comfortable with your content so they can quickly digest it. It’s hard to keep up when your standards bounce around.

  2. Don’t force readers to click to the next page for each item on your list

    Canny subscribers can see through this as a ploy to drive up page views. If you would like to do a slideshow, consider a carousel instead. Carousels allow readers to click to the next image and text without loading an entirely new page. Check out this example from Martha Stewart. 

    Additionally, if you would like to increase page views, consider a link to a previous article on your site that goes into further detail about the product or service you’re recommending or rating. This way, you increase page views without irritating the user, and you’re directing them to more content they’ll find useful.

  3. Bottom to top

    If you’re recommending products or services from worst to best, be sure to say so. For the ones at the bottom of the list (the not-so-great), state why they’re not up to par. For the number one spot, explain why the product outperforms the others. Bottom-to-top keeps the user engaged so they don’t bounce after only viewing the top-rated product. Also, consider creating product links that open in a new tab for easy toggling back to the original article.

  4. Make suggestions for all economic backgrounds

    It’s easy to recommend the Apple Watch because it’s super popular and well-known. But not all of your readers can afford a several hundred dollar accessory. So keep that in mind when collecting a list of products to promote. Consider using the free Commerce Chrome Extension that allows you to quickly find similar items that provide you with links, pricing information, and photos, directly from your browser.

  5. Diversify your media

    People respond differently to different types of stimuli. What works for some won’t work for others. Consider including links to tutorial videos for products you’re recommending, but also include images that are engaging and highlight key points you’re trying to make.

  6. This may seem obvious, but make sure you care about the content you’re creating. Content for content’s sake is disrespectful to your readers and highlights inauthenticity.  Writing a great listicle means having a strong opinion and speaking to your audience with care and objectivity. Your readers will see your dedication and your brand will become more valuable because of it.

Commission rates across all networks are fluctuating due to COVID-19. We have put together a list that tracks the Sovrn Commerce merchants offering the highest Earnings Per Click (EPC). We have also listed merchants that have dropped their rates temporarily. This list will be updated on a regular basis, so check back frequently.

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